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Kick-off workshop

The kick-off workshop sets the stage for your subsequent project work. It’s an opportunity for people to meet, generate ideas, and then create a concrete plan of how they plan to proceed.

The goals of the workshop are to:

  • Introduce people to one another, or get to know one another outside the classroom and their typical roles
  • Set expectations by discussing partnership, including some of the challenges
  • Identify specific issues to work on in the projects
  • Establish team roles and communication preferences
  • Formulate a concrete plan for the first steps

Watch the video below for some advice from previous participants on starting projects:


How much time is required?

You may want to set aside an afternoon, or plan to meet over a couple of sessions. There are a lot of things to cover at the beginning, and allocating a meaningful amount of time helps to establish a foundation and create momentum that will carry people into their projects.

Your first meetings are critical for setting up the projects. The project aims and tasks need to be articulated early and clearly, with individuals allocated to different tasks. This might take more than one or two meetings to establish.

Workshop resources

  • Kick-off workshop plan example (Word) – This is an example of workshop plan for a group to generate project ideas, select which ones to work on, and then form project teams.
  • Kick-off workshop presentation template (Powerpoint) – A basic presentation to accompany the workshop plan, which you can amend.
  • Kick-off workshop Speed Meeting questions (Powerpoint) – It is important to try to break down any barriers that may exist for people who are accustomed to interacting in specific roles, as teacher and student. While this may not happen in a single workshop, the first step can be to provide a chance for people to get to know one another as people, to learn something personal (which people feel comfortable sharing).
  • Team planning template (Word) – Using a few questions, this template guides people through the very beginning of their project planning.
  • Partnership agreement template (Word) – Unlike the type of agreements developed at the institutional level, this template is intended to be an agreement between the individual participants in the project, to help them discuss key aspects of the partnership before the project work begins. This resources is not used in the workshop plan above, but could be integrated into the workshop, or adapted to work with the Team planning template. Additional examples are available below.


Other approaches and resources

Project logistics card sorting activity

Project logistics card sorting activity

We used a card sorting activity in an early, exploratory workshop to ask students specifically about how they would like to work, and what communication tools and approaches they felt would be most effective.

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Banner photo by Emma Yench