GROUP DISCUSSION *Assignment Sheet* be sure to read in its entirety           

                                       PROBLEM SOLVING PRES.

  {subtitle: "What should we do to fix this situation??"}{aka: That's  messed up!}





Be sure to read this assignment carefully & thoroughly-- especially the "tips" at the end. It contains all the details you need to know in order to complete this presentation. If you have any additional questions, be sure to email your Professor.


planning procedure & presentation format

additional considerations: (including timing / talking / grading / concluding / visual aids)

tips for the leader-moderator

There has been a great deal of research into the Problem Solving process--as it occurs in groups as well as into individual problem solving. Overwhelmingly, the evidence indicates that "systematic" problem solving procedures lead to higher quality decisions than random or loosely structured procedures. This is especially true for group problem solving.

As you will read in your text, a "problem" is actually a situation which is perceived as being undesirable and consists of:

___(1) the potentially ideal situation ( i.e. desirable state of things) 

___(2) the actual, current state of things

__ (3) the obstacles which are preventing the current situation from being ideal.

A major part of this discussion presentation will consist of EXPLICITLY identifying each obstacle inherent within the situation. The solutions which are proposed in the course of your discussion/ presentation need to be those actions which can accomplish the elimination of those obstacles.  [ Note some Decision Making is used at the end of the discussion/ presentation in order to select the most suitable solution-- according to the group's agreed-upon criteria.]

For this presentation, choose a topic which is within the group's "Area of Freedom" and phrase your Discussion Question as either POLICY or FACT. Be sure to review the appropriate chapters in your text--esp. the chapter on problem-solving procedure. (relevant chapters  vary accd'g to edition / 5ed = 10 / 4ed = 9)



<1> The group should choose an appropriate topic (a.k.a. a problem situation)

<2>  Phrase an appropriate disc. question (ex: "What can be done to increase the amount of recycling being done at Seton Hall?"  /or/  "How can the rights of both the nonsmoker & the smoker be preserved?"   /or/    "How can the citizen of the new millennium adjust to the increasing need for international awareness?" /or/ " What's the best way to ensure that U.S. Arts institutions get sufficient financial support from governmental funding agencies?" )

<3> As usual the group will complete the necessary research according to the needs outlined in the preliminary agenda/worksheet- prob-sol version.  Although the group-as-a-whole will need to plan certain aspects of the presentation, be careful not to rehearse and/or over-discuss all of your answers and issues in advance.

<4> This time, the Final version of the Agenda/Outline will be prepared ONLY by the leader/moderator and the advance signatures will not be required. (Create it using  guidelines & examples from the text). HOWEVER, copies of this Final Agenda will be distributed to the fellow group members (and to the instructor-- as usual) on the Day-Of-Presentation.

 < scroll down or click for  "Additional guidelines for the Leader Moderator"

<5> The end result: [with the class configured as a 360 "Fishbowl" audience]the group will systematically, but spontaneously, explore the problem situation by citing from their research. The solution which is ultimately proposed  in the conclusion must have clearly emerged out of the discussion itself. Technically, this is also a "panel" discussion, so even though you are only looking & addressing each other, be sure your volume is loud enough for all of us to hear you.  < scroll down or click for add'l guidelines >


a. There should be no "Pre-Fab" discussion and no "Pre-fab" conclusions in these presentations! You'll be expected to think on your feet! Use argumentation techniques as outlined in your text ( probably Chapter 10)  & prepared to use & cite from concrete evidence in order to support your position. Also, be prepared to use explicit Source Citations for  any evidence and/or quotations you use.

b.  Overall presentation time is  20-25 minutes--->> PANEL FORMAT via  "fishbowl setup"

c.  Consider using visual aids (ex. the chalkboard or Powerpoint are very useful for clarifying & listing obstacles & proposed solutions as the group develops them.

d. Grading for these presentations will particularly consider: clarity of the step-by-step problem solving procedure, thoroughness in the exploration of the situation/obstacles, & variety of possible solutions.

e. Also refer to  the "Additional Considerations" listed on the Decision Making assignment sheet.  As usual, this presentation will be record (probably only audio this time).   See your course calendar for the specification about which recording format. Be sure the tape recorder is positioned where it can to pick up all your voices & don't forget to push the button!

f.  Tips for participating  in a PANEL discussion =     Whenever doing a panel presentation, there is the awareness of an audience. If any of you are someday involved in discussing a topic in front of an audience, remember you are not talking TO them but you are talking FOR them. Be sure to keep that energy & volume up & projected �out� & keep them motivated to listen  � even though you are not making eye contact with them.




"Additional guidelines for the Leader Moderator"


    < This particular presentation requires a Leader/Moderator with strong organization,  listening, flexibility  and "directive" moderating skills.>

            [[If you don’t get to be leader/moderator this time, don’t worry.  You automatically will be expected to lead/moderate the final presentation.]]

For this presentation think of yourself as a project leader asked to convene a  meeting of knowledgeable problem solvers to discuss & devise a solution to this undesirable situation. This problem solving "think tank" will discuss the situation as a closed group-- not for an audience but for yourselves [as if you are inside of a fishbowl] while the rest of the class sits around you & quietly observes how you operate.

As usual, your group will work together on creating the PRELIMINARY Agenda/Outline-PSver. HOWEVER, as leader,  it will be your responsibility to prepare the  final discussion agenda on your own, by yourself.  You will  distribute  copies of this final version of the A/O to me AND to your group members on the day of the discussion/presentation before you begin your discussion. For most topics. this agenda should reference the same procedural "Standard Agenda" structure as the one in your text p.210 (3rd ed ) / p. 243 (4th ed) / p. 250 (5th ed) / TBD [6th ed]  . You should fill in appropriate details for the first 4 or so steps on the agenda. The final steps of: determination of the group's criteria, the proposing & analysis of solutions & the selection of the final solution and any plans for implementation all occur during the discussion itself so although you will list those steps on the agenda you probably won't be able to insert many details for them in advance.  

Predominant communication skills:  As moderator of the actual discussion, you can expect to do a lot of critical & comprehensive listening & to do a lot of Gatekeeping. You will also need to use "signposts" in order to continually make it clear when the discussion agenda moves from step to step --realizing that in actual discussions, things jump around in a non-orderly fashion & it is your job to insert clarifying summaries & paraphrases as necessary. You probably should NOT let the participants indulge in "spinning their wheels" ( i.e. non-productive repetition/redundancy). At the same time you will want to encourage creative & synergistic problem solving and argumentation (also discussed in the same chapter + ch 10 [ 6th ed]  / ch11 [ 5th ed] )

 Be sure to email  your professor if you have any other questions.

  updated 10/12