Beta Launch – Phase 1 Instructions Email

As described in our recent newsletter , we are launching our first structured collaboration problem today.  This email describes:

  • Getting Started
  • What Phase 1 entails
  • Extra Support
  • How to provide feedback and help in the beta test
  • What else is going to happen

Getting Started

Login to and you will find an additional button on the top row, called “Our problems”.  Click to open  a list of our problems — presently the singular  “School Decision Making” appears. Click on the name to open and respond to the problem.

We really hope every member of Collaborating Minds will participate in this phase. We have set a deadline of October 13 for this phase, and we will move to the next phase on October 14.  We anticipate that it will take less than an hour for a member to understand the problem and make their contribution on this phase, and you can do it any time that works for you.


What Phase 1 entails

This first phase of the work focuses on understanding the problem and clarifying your understanding of it. We want to be sure that we are all working on the same thing. This phase helps us avoid mis-communicating and  thinking we are all talking about the same thing when we aren’t. That’s why we have provided a variety of descriptions to help you start your work in this phase. You can:

  • Watch a video by the problem owner, Matthew Joseph, describing the problem,
  • Read more details of Matthew’s experience with the problem, and
  • Review some background articles that some team members thought might be useful to put Matthew’s situation in context.

 We also ask you to respond to a few questions, in light of what you have come to understand.

The right technology for the job

People have all kinds of devices making it impossible for us to design and format the site to be easily viewed on all devices. The site works best on devices with a reasonable screen sizes and which do not rely on touchscreens. The Cminds site architecture doesn’t work well with touchscreens, or with very small screens. You’ll have a much easier time on a laptop or a desktop.

Similarly, the best browsers for our site are Chrome and Firefox. If you use these browsers everything important should work easily. These browsers are available free online and are used by over 1 billion people;  they can be installed on PC-style machines and also on Macs. If you prefer other browsers (e.g. Safari, Opera,Internet Explorer, etc.) you are free to try it, but we are not making any promises!

Extra Support

Some members prefer learning by doing, and that’s fine. Our onsite instructions may be enough for you. For others, we created a step by step detailed Phase 1 Guide, that includes instructions paired with screen shots to assure you that you are on the right path.  

In addition, our regular schedule of virtual office hours will continue via Zoom on Mondays and Tuesdays. You can connect using this information. 

To join us online for regular office hours using ZOOM:
Mondays:  8-9 pm Central Daylight Time (GMT -5)
Tuesdays: 12-1pm Central Daylight Time (GMT -5)

(To connect to Office Hours, go to   
Alternatively use this link and enter meeting ID: 664 219 9931 or call +1 (415) 762-9988 and enter the meeting ID). 

You can also contact if you have a question and I’ll try to answer it. 

How to provide feedback

This is a Beta Test and we know there are things we didn’t fully anticipate and hope you will help guide us with your feedback.  We created several options to make it easy for you to contribute feedback of various kinds.  

Kind of feedback How to do it
When something you doesn’t work right technically, is confusing, or seems to be missing. Click the  yellow feedback button located on the lower right of  every page. A popup window opens and you can enter and send us your message. It will automatically tell us where in the site you are when you send the message and the browser you are using.
Reflective thoughts about the process.   We know that many things can be improved in future versions. We’d like to hear about them.
We are particularly interested in thoughts about your problem-solving experience and the community member experience. Imagine if everything we have designed  worked smoothly and easily (we know that right now it won’t),

  • What are your thoughts about the problem-solving process we are using? How should we change it?
  • What are your thoughts about your experiences as a member of the Cminds community?
There’s a community group called Beta Testers. You can start a discussion thread there, and respond to other discussions too. 
You can also send us your thoughts individually. Generally though, we prefer you post comments on the site, which allows other members to respond too and builds on our experience working together. However, if you’d like to send your thoughts privately, we welcome them.
Anything else You can contact us, or start a discussion on the site. Anyone can create a new community group, if that’s what seems appropriate


What else is going to happen

The problem solving will continue with its next phases. We hope you took a look at the overview of the seven phase process we diagrammed in recent newsletters and you can find here. Phase two will begin in two weeks, on Tuesday, October 14.  

We will respond to all your feedback as quickly as we can. Issues that can be resolved with fixes that are not too complicated will be addressed quickly. Other good ideas might be harder to implement, and that may mean we can only take them under advisement for now.

We are open to your suggestions related to adjusting how the community,  the problem-solving, and software works.  We appreciate all of your thoughts and ideas. 
Thanks for participating and we look forward to your ongoing comments, reactions  and insights.

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