Updates, Virtual LS

Learning Liberating Structures Online

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Hello Everyone,

Fisher Qua and Anna Jackson who we know from the LS Global Community are running some sessions on Liberating Structures online. Here’s some info and more below when you go to the event link.

Also, stay tuned for our own plans for LS Online play and practice.

Cheers, Leva and Barish


In this weekly series, we will focus on a single Liberating Structure at a time and explore its purposes & uses in different contexts.

About this Event

Building on other efforts to help people creatively adapt to the new situations, scenarios, and conditions they find themselves in, we will begin offering something called Liberating Structures S/Lowdown.

In these 2-hour sessions, we will dig into individual Liberating Structures, together.

S l o w l y .

In each session, will explore the purposes and design considerations, imaginative invitations, contextual uses, and creative variations of one structure.

For more info: https://bit.ly/3bDlv2T

Events, Virtual LS

Vancouver and Victoria Liberating Structures Meetup – Let’s Try it Online!

We are partnering with the Victoria Liberating Structures User Group to try some LS Online!  This is happening tomorrow April 9th from 12 noon – 1:30 pm Pacific DST.  Come with an open mind and readiness to play as we are in full experimentation mode. All are welcome.

The space we will be meeting in is a Collaborate Ultra Room provided by Royal Roads University. Thank you to them for the support.  Here’s the Link: https://ca.bbcollab.com/guest/851b4f6d4e144970bc6d35cf9ea8d2e5.

For more information on the online meetup check out the Victoria User Group Facebook page.

See you tomorrow!

Virtual LS

Virtual LS – Using BB Collaborate Ultra for 1-2-4-All

Over the past few months we’ve been hosting virtual LS meetups to explore ways of using Liberating Structures in an online environment (Virtual LS or V-LS). We’ve done a few sessions on Zoom which offers some breakout room capabilities that we’ll explore later. This time around we had a look at Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, online webinar tool mostly used in Higher Ed (often bundled with the Blackboard Learn LMS) but can allso be used as a separate application.

BB Ultra offers some nice breakout room functionality that I think offers ways to run a 1-2-4-All activity. Watch this screenrecorded video with annotations to get a general overview:

Here are the steps I’d used to do 1-2-4-All

  1. Randomly assign 1 member per group (make sure you have added enough groups to make 1 group per attendee).
  2. Make sure you select “Allow attendees to switch groups”
  3. Manually time 1 minute and then pull everyone back to main room
  4. Reduce groups to half the amount and randomly assign 2 people per group
  5. Instruct members of groups of 2 to add themselves to a group of 4 members (possible since you’ve enabled allowing attendees to switch groups). These instructions need to be pre-loaded at the beginning of the webinar (using a shared Powerpoint or similar).
  6. Once 4 minutes are over, pull everyone back to main room for an “All” discussion.

Pros of using BB Collaborate Ultra for V-LS:

  •  Breakout room controls for “Randomly Assign”, “Custom Assignment” and “Allow attendees to switch groups” gives you more flexibility than what Zoom allows
  • Breakout rooms are fully equipped with sharable whiteboards. As the main moderator you can also make anyone in the rooms a moderator to control shared screens
  • You as moderator can easily see who is in which group and jump into any you like to listen in on

Cons of BB Collaborate Ultra

  • If you don’t have an institutional license for BB Ultra it would be pricey to get. You can get a 30 day trial here
  • Breakout rooms don’t seem to allow you to send messages across the breakout rooms as Zoom allows you to
  • You can’t share a single screen across breakout rooms.
  • It would be really to have, in addition to random and custom assignments, an option for “Groups of 2” and “Groups of 4” etc. I’ve asked a BB Ultra rep, Billy Gould, about whether BB Ultra is open to 3rd party extensions that would give it added functionality.

If you’d like to try out BB Ultra on my Virtual Office, click here: Barish’s BB Ultra Virtual Office. Send me an email or direct message on twitter if you’d like to try it out as moderator.

Events, Virtual LS

V-LS Meetup Tonight – 7pm, November 27th

This is our very first post on our new Website and we’ll use it to announce tonight’s meetup:

We’ll meet online via BB Collaborate Ultra to try out some familiar and more unfamiliary Liberating Structures via an online platform. Here’s the info to attend:

Date: November 27th, 2017

Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm.

Login Instructions:
Name: VLSUG – V-LS on BB Collaborate
Starts: November 27, 2017 7:00:00 PM PST
Ends: November 27, 2017 8:30:00 PM PST

To join the session, please click on the link below within 15 minutes of the specified time.

Join the Blackboard Collaborate session

The agenda will be devoted to discussing ideas for our user group meetings and next steps and practice using Liberating Structures online

Any questions or comments? Contact Leva Lee, BCcampus llee@bccampus.ca or Barish Golland. Sauder School of Business barish.golland@sauder.ubc.ca

Events, Virtual LS

Playing with the Possibilities: Liberating Structures Online

This post was originally published September 5, 2017 on the proflearn.bccampus.ca by Leva Lee.

On Monday August 28th, a few of us gathered, somewhat spontaneously, for a “play date” to experiment with using Liberating Structures (LS) online.

We got the word out late, and like most of our face-to-face Vancouver meet ups, we didn’t know who was going to show up until things started. We just had to be ready to roll with it. It being a gorgeously warm summer evening, we were rather “chill” and planned for something informal, low-key, social.  Great conditions for discovery learning, or simply said, mucking about learning what we can, hands-on, and in the moment.

Five of us enthusiastically joined in the session from Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby and Seattle —from our swinging lounge chairs, sunny backyard decks, cosy kitchens, and kid- filled /“joy-filled” living rooms.

As usual, Barish, ever the teacher, had a lesson plan in place. But embracing the LS philosophy, we prepared thoughtfully with some detail, and then winged it! Such is the beauty and flexibility of LS.

We played  for an hour and did a few rounds of Impromptu Networking and modified version of 1, 2, 4 – ALL   Here’s what we learned:

  • The Zoom computer conferencing environment works well for LS and moving in and out of breakout rooms is easy. Key functions needed for LS are available in Zoom such as chat, breakout rooms, and access to a whiteboard (though we didn’t figure out that the whiteboard was available to us until near the end of our session.)
  • The free service is limited to 40 minutes which wasn’t a huge constraint though we would have welcomed the option for a slightly longer session. The limit did force us to be time efficient!
  • Slides continue to be important for setting up a Liberating Structure for articulating the invitation, outlining any step –by-step instructions, or highlighting additional prompts.
  • The practice of moving in and out of breakouts is very helpful in order to better understand how timing or sequencing for a LS may need to be modified in the online environment. Allocating time to prepare participants to move from one task to next and for thinking and finishing a task is important to minimize any participant stress or confusion that could happen in the online context. It would be helpful if the facilitator could give a 2 minute warning before we entered back into the main room.
  • For newbies to online conferencing, a practice run at start of each session is recommended for moving from the main room to the breakout rooms and back.
  • Roles: There seems to be no timer function with Zoom: someone in each of the breakouts needs to take on the timekeeper role. Rotating the facilitator role meet ups is important as it allows different individuals to practice leading and allows all to engage as participants.

In all, we thought the LS online “play date” and experimentation was very helpful. We agreed to do the following:

  • Try out LS with different online tools and document our learning.
  • Consider which LS work best online.
  • Consider and document some guidelines on doing LS successfully online.
  • Schedule regular LS online meet ups.

As we think about our meet up schedule for the coming year, we are considering that Vancouver Liberating Structures User group might meet online every 3rd meeting.  We will discuss with our user group members and if most are agreeable, we will  do so, and extend an invitation to our respective user groups in Victoria, Seattle and beyond to join us in playing with the possibilities of Liberating Structures online.

To find out the latest happenings of the Vancouver Liberating Structures User group and future meet ups, please join our LinkedIn group.

Also, be sure to check out news on Liberating Structures at their website and find out about the exciting Liberating Structures app.