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Fundamental Questions

Fundamental Questions Usage Guidelines


The purpose of the Fundamental Questions activity is to increase mutual understanding of convergences and divergences among the fundamental goals and values of a working group's participants. Doing so early in the life of the group can enable participants to recognize, appreciate, and deal with the surprises of both convergence and dissonance that are almost always revealed.
The Fundamental Questions activity was first developed and used with TLT Roundtables.   11/11/11 was the 17th anniversary of the beginning of the TLT Roundtable!

We're eager to collect, compile, and publish more individual answers to our Fundamental Questions to serve as sample and prompts to those who use and adapt the Fundamental Questions activity today.

The Original Fundamental Questions

1. What do you most want to gain?
2. What do you most cherish and want not to lose? 

We look forward to your responses in any media that you find comfortable and that we can easily make accessible to others - audio, video, or text.
Please keep your recording under five minutes.  Usually 2 or 3 minutes is adequate.  

More about origins, usage, variations...

Video intro to Fundamental Questions by Steve Gilbert, President, TLT Group  

Content Guidelines

Pause and reflect, introduce yourself, briefly describe the focus or context you have selected, then answer the two Fundamental Questions, and, if you wish, add some comments about any obstacles or deal-breakers you foresee.

[Useful Alternative to Answering the Fundamental Questions:  Describe issues or conditions that prevent you from answering the Fundamental Questions at this time.]  

Pause and Reflect

Before you begin to answer the Fundamental Questions for publication, take at least 60 seconds to think.  We find that some people are more comfortable speaking their answers extemporaneously, while others prefer to deliberate longer, and still others prefer to speak from a script or provide their comments in writing.  We are pleased to accept any of these for publication.

Introduce Yourself

Please begin by stating your name, your title, your institution, and - if you like - your contact info (preferably an email address that you wouldn't mind people knowing and using).  Please include any information about yourself that will help others to understand your answers to the Fundamental Questions.  If you wish, explain that you are speaking extemporaneously after only a minute or two of preparation - or that you decided to read from a script.  We are pleased to have your answers either way.

Identify Focus or Context

Identify a theme or context of current importance to you that will frame your answers.  Describe this issue, decision, or concern briefly, but include enough so that others will be better able to understand your answers to the Fundamental Questions.

Sample Context - Used often 1994-2009
Information technology can be the excuse and the means to make almost any kinds of change in education and elsewhere. As you think about the kinds of change that might happen, keep some of your students, your colleagues, your institution, or your family in mind.   But try to answer each of these two Fundamental Questions, especially, for yourself.  What really matters to you?

Sample Context - "Presenting Problem" - 2011
Think about your own recent relevant experience, expectations, and reactions to the increasing pressure for the approaching transition from courses based mostly on face-to-face class meetings toward courses that include more online activities (i.e., toward hybrid, blended, or fully online courses).

Answer Fundamental Questions

1.  What do you most want to gain? 

2.  What do you most cherish and want not to lose?

Optional:  Describe Obstacles or Deal-Breakers

Identify any obstacles or "deal breakers" that should be addressed in discussions that include your answers to these fundamental questions.

"Obstacles" get in the way and slow down our progress, but with enough persistence and resources we can proceed anyway.

"Deal-Breakers" are "obstacles that, if encountered, entirely prevent or terminate the activity."  Issues or events that would lead us to give up, stop, oppose, resist....
Subpages (1): FQRecord
Steven Gilbert,
May 4, 2012, 9:11 AM
Steven Gilbert,
Jan 13, 2012, 2:12 PM
Steven Gilbert,
Jan 13, 2012, 2:12 PM
Steven Gilbert,
Feb 1, 2012, 1:41 PM
Steven Gilbert,
Nov 13, 2011, 7:02 AM
Steven Gilbert,
Feb 1, 2012, 10:51 AM
Steven Gilbert,
Jan 13, 2012, 7:18 AM
Steven Gilbert,
Apr 23, 2012, 11:40 AM
Steven Gilbert,
Jan 13, 2012, 2:12 PM