Create a ThinkTank Session

A ThinkTank Session is a virtual collaboration space of ThinkTank that is accessed through a web browser. A ThinkTank Session is a Structured Collaborative environment designed to promote successful group dynamics and facilitate the achievement of team goals and desired outcomes. This topic provides basic (not exhaustive) guidelines for Leaders who plan, design, create, and configure ThinkTank Sessions.

If you are creating a Session, you must be an Account Holder and you must be designated as a Leader. Account Holders are Leaders or Thinkers who have an established account in a ThinkTank Workspace. Guests are Thinkers who are invited to participate in a Session, but do not have an established ThinkTank account. Session Passes must be allocated for Guests to access a Session.

Note: The Login topic provides details on how to log in as an Account Holder or Guest.

The following types of Session Passes can be allocated to Guests:

1 Pass Per Session Per Day Per Guest

This is the default Session Pass type. Each time a Guest logs in to a Session, a pass is used, and the Guest is provided access for 24 hours.

2 Passes Per 30 Days Per Session, Unlimited Access Per Guest

When this pass type is selected, a Guest who logs in uses two Session Passes and is provided 30 days of unlimited access to a Session. With this Session Pass type, ThinkTank can be used for recurring meetings such as staff meetings, weekly status calls, etc. This licensing model can be used in asynchronous Sessions where Thinkers contribute to a Session over time, not just in one meeting at a given time.

No Passes – 4 Hour Access

When Guests log in, they will not use any Session Passes. However, the Session will only be available for four hours after the first Guest login. The Session is locked after four hours and cannot be accessed after that time. In addition, all activity titles display with “Demonstration Use Only” in the title bar.

 

HOW DO I CREATE A SESSION?

The following steps provide basic guidelines for creating a ThinkTank Session:

  1. Create a ThinkTank account
  2. Pre-Session planning
  3. Create a new Session from the Home screen
  4. Add activities to the Session from the Designer tab
  5. Invite Thinkers to Session

Note: Before leading a ThinkTank Session, it is required that you complete ThinkTank's Session Leader training. For more information, visit http://thinktank.net/thinktank-services/#training.

Create a ThinkTank Account

Before you can create a Session, you must be designated as a Leader by your Workspace Administrator and then create your ThinkTank account. An Account Holder is a user with a ThinkTank username and password and (if designated as a Leader by the Workspace Administrator) has access to create and join ThinkTank Sessions. A Guest is a user who does not have a ThinkTank Account Holder username and password. Guests join ThinkTank Sessions as Thinkers, or participants.

  1. Navigate to your organization’s ThinkTank URL address provided by the Workspace Administrator. The login screen opens. Click "Create Account" under "Account Holder" button in the upper right corner:

accountholder1.png

 

  1. The Create Account section displays:

createaccount1.png

  1. In the Create Account section, fill in the following required fields:
    • E-mail (domain name must be registered by your ThinkTank Workspace Administrator in the ThinkTank Workspace)
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Username
    • Password (see the Login topic that describes password complexity requirements)
    • Confirm New Password
  1. Click on Create Account.
  2. ThinkTank generates an automated email with your account confirmation details. Confirm and activate your account by clicking the link in the email within three days of receipt.

 

Pre-Session Planning

Before you create a Session, you must engage in some basic planning. A well-defined purpose and objective is crucial to the success of a ThinkTank Session. In addition, you must ensure some basic technical requirements are met prior to leading a Session.

Understand the purpose and objective of the Session:

  • Define why you are having the Session.
  • Define the key results you would like to achieve (deliverables).
  • Compile a list of Session participants, including email addresses, for sending out the Session invites.
  • Read the planning documentation found in the "Using This Section" page when you first create a new Session.

Ensure the following technical requirements are met:

  • Reliable Internet access is available for all Session participants.
  • Verify all participants are able to log in to the Session via desktops, laptops, or other devices prior to the Session start date.

Note: It is highly recommended that Leaders thoroughly read the Session preparation material that comes with each new Session. The material is found when you click on the "Using This Section" tile under each Session component (Plan, Background, Agenda, Outcomes).

Create a New Session from the Home Screen

You can create a new Session from the ThinkTank Home screen. New Sessions have built-in planning assistance documentation that can help you plan your Session.

To create a new Session:

  1. Log on to ThinkTank with your Account Holder credentials. The Home screen opens by default.

  1. Click on the upper right green plus sign  to open a drop-down menu of session operations, and select Create New Session. The Create Session dialog box opens.

  1. Fill in the following required fields:
      • Name: Session name
      • Description: Session description
      • Passkey: Assign a number, alphanumeric, or a combination thereof for the Passkey. Thinkers are required to enter a Passkey to join a Session. If you see a notification about the session passkey complexity, then your Workspace Administrator enabled the "Complex Session Passkey" setting for your workspace. Your session passkey is then required to meeting the following criteria:
        • Passkeys must be at least 8 characters in length.
        • Passkeys must contain at least one digit.
        • Passkeys must contain at least one lower case character.
        • Passkeys must contain at least one upper case character.

         

        Notes on Changing Session Passkeys

        If you change a session passkey after Thinkers and Leaders have previously entered sessions using another passkey, they must use the newly-assigned passkey to enter the session; the old passkey will no longer be valid. Participants will no longer be able to enter the session (from the Home screen or external link) unless you notify them of the new passkey.

         

      • Session Pass Type: If required, select the Session Pass Type. This indicates how session passes are used when guests join a Session. If you are unsure what to select, please contact your ThinkTank Workspace Administrator.

    Note: This field is not visible if the "Session Passes by Session" license key has been configured by your Workspace Administrator, which is used by a select few clients.

    • Include default activities for planning, background and outcomes: This setting is visible to Leaders who have created five or more Sessions in the workspace. When this setting is enabled, specific activities automatically display in the Navigation tab to provide guidance in the planning and creation of the Session. This setting does not display for new Leaders with fewer than five Sessions, as default activities are automatically included in Sessions to provide guidance. If desired (and after you have created five or more Sessions), you can remove the check mark once you are comfortable with creating Sessions.
    • Enforce Calendar: When enabled, this makes the session available to Thinkers only during the time specified by the start and end time.
    • Start: When you enable the Enforce Calendar setting, you must select a start time for the Session.
    • End: When you enable the Enforce Calendar setting, you must select an end time for the Session.

    Note: Your organization may require you to fill out additional information specific to your ThinkTank Installation. As a result, some fields shown in this example, such as Organization and Internal/External, may not be available, or you may be required to fill in custom fields not shown in this example.

  2. Click on Create. A Session ID is automatically assigned to the new Session.
  3. Click on Start. The "Using This Section" page inside the Plan section of the ThinkTank Session opens by default and provides detailed guidelines to help you prepare and design your Session.

Tip: It is highly recommended to read the documentation on each of the "Using This Section" pages inside the Plan, Background, Agenda, and Outcomes. These pages contain valuable tips and techniques to help you prepare and design your Session.

Session Components

The Session consists of the following components:

  • The Plan, which helps you define your Session parameters, objectives and outcomes.
  • The Background, which helps you prepare for your Session, provide Thinkers with pre-read documents, and initiate communication to your Thinkers.
  • The Agenda, which is where you design your ThinkTank Session by dragging and dropping activities from the Designer tab.
  • The Outcomes, where you evaluate the Session once it is complete, and, based on the outcomes/results, plan the required action moving forward.

To refer back to these detailed tips and techniques, click on the Using This Section tile for the associated Plan, Background, Agenda or Outcomes activity:

 

Add Activities to the Session from the Designer Tab

When you are ready to add activities to the Session, click on the Designer tab, where a list of ThinkTank activities is located.

In the Designer tab, activities are categorized by the following types:

  • Crowdsource Activities: For gathering open-ended or qualitative information from your Thinkers
  • Assessment Activities: For gathering quantitative information from Thinkers
  • Visual Activities: For presenting and gathering feedback on graphical information from Thinkers
  • Matrix Activities: For gathering multi-dimensional information from Thinkers
  • Session Tools Activities: Tools to help you lead better Sessions
  • From Another Session: For copying activities from other Sessions you created

 

From the list, drag the activity tile and drop it into the desired location in the left Navigation tab. You can drop the activity in any location under the Plan, Background, Agenda, or Outcomes.

  • A green line appears in your desired location.
  • To move the activity to another location, drag the activity tile up or down the list until you reach the correct location.

Note: Currently, no Undo operation is available in ThinkTank. Before you delete activities, contributions, documents, presentations, etc,. ensure these items are not required in the Session.

 


Invite Thinkers to Session

After compiling a list of Thinkers' emails, you can email invitations and iCalendar .ics files from the Session Settings, found by clicking on your profile initials at the upper right:

To invite Thinkers from the Session Settings:

  1. Select Session Settings from the drop-down menu. The Session Settings dialog opens to the Details section:

  1. Fill in additional details required for the Session, including any notes or dial-in information. For more details on individual settings, see Session Settings.

Note: Your organization may require you to fill out additional information specific to your ThinkTank Installation. As a result, some fields shown in this example may not be available, such as Note/Reference and Internal/External, or you may be required to fill in custom fields not shown in this example.

  1. To add an .ics i-Calendar file that you can attach to the email, click on the Calendar Invite  icon.
    • Download the .ics file, and save it locally.
    • You can then attach this file to the email generated in the next step.
  2. To send the invitation, click on the Email  icon at the top.

 

Invite Thinkers from the Session Title Bar

Alternatively, you can invite Thinkers from any Session's title bar as you design the Session. Ensure that you have the list of email addresses you collected when you planned your Session. To invite Thinkers to the Session, open the Session, and then click on the Invite using Email icon located at the upper left in the session title bar:

Invite Thinkers to the Session

Once your default email application opens, the Session details, including the Session URL, ID, and Passkey, populate the email text field.

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