Facilitating a charrette means introducing participants to the charrette concept and guiding them through the feedback process. Depending on the size and nature of the event, the introduction might be a formal presentation about assignment design or it might be a very brief overview of the charrette timeline.
If the group is small or if time is tight, organizers/facilitators can ask participants to watch “Unfacilitated Assignment Design on Your Campus” ahead of time. This 36-minute video from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) explains why assignment design matters and also explains the charrette process. (The video also may be helpful to facilitators who want to do their own formal introduction. NILOA’s slides are available in the Assignment Charrette Toolkit for facilitators to modify and use as needed.) If participants have seen the video in advance, facilitators can move very quickly into the feedback portion of the charrette.
The feedback portion consists of a series of 25- or 30-minute rounds. Each round is designed as follows:
- Reading (5 minutes) – group members read the assignment to be reviewed. (If assignments were shared in advance, this section can be eliminated.)
- Introduction (5 minutes) – the assignment author introduces the assignment (e.g., its purpose, how it has worked in the past, concerns the author has about it)
- Verbal feedback (15 minutes) – group members offer feedback on the assignment to the author. Although the author can answer clarifying questions, the author’s primary role during this section should be listening and taking notes.
- Written feedback (5 minutes) – group members write down feedback for the author to take away.
The facilitator’s main job during the feedback portion is to manage the time. If there are several tables of participants, the facilitator generally observes the room and announces when it is time to move from one section to the next. If the group is very small and everyone is seated at one table, the facilitator can also manage the group dynamics (e.g., ensuring that everyone has a chance to speak). Facilitators can also offer feedback on the assignments, but they should be careful not to dominate the conversation or lose track of the time.
After all of the assignments have been reviewed, facilitators can invite participants to reflect briefly on the experience. Did participants notice any common issues coming up in the feedback? Did they learn something that they could apply to other assignments?