Manage Sessions

Set up

You can add a new Session using the New Session option. You simply need to give your new session a Name. When you have done this, the Session will appear under the 'New Sessions' list.

Session States

Sessions can exist in Three different states; New, Active and Complete.

  • New : When first created a Session will be in a status of New. If a participant tries to join a Session that is in a New status they will be told that the session has not yet started. They will not be able to view any content.

  • Active : When you select to Start a session it becomes 'active'. At this point participants can join the session and depending on the Session settings they may be able to view the topic headings.
    If there are any votes open, they will be able to access and respond to votes.
    If any content has been added, depending on the Session settings they may be able to view the content.
    • When a Session is first made active, it will be 'Unlocked', you can lock and unlock it by clicking on the padlock .

    • Unlocked : When a Session is 'Unlocked' participants will be able to post new content to your Wall.
    • Locked : When a Session is 'Locked' participants will not be able to post new content to your Wall, if they try they will be given a warning message to wait for the facilitator.

    In the context of a traditional brainstorming workshop the Session states act in the following way; the Active state is like inviting people into the room where they can see what you have on the wall. When the Session is Unlocked this is like inviting participants get up from their seats and add more content to the wall, when the Session is Locked it is like asking them to sit down again. Setting the session to Complete is like asking them to leave the room so they can no longer see the content.

    You can Reset a Session that is Active, this will set it back to being in Status New and clear out any content and remove any joined Participants.

  • Complete : When you Stop a Session it becomes complete. This will stop any participants from viewing the content. You can Re-Open a Complete Session to set it back to Active again, so you can hide the content and then reshare it again if you are running a Session over several sittings.

You can remove a Session by clicking on the option.

Configure your session

You can click on a Session to be taken into the Session details. From here you can change the name by clicking on the title to Edit it. You can also change the Session logo by clicking on it here (by default the Session will have the logo assigned to the Project). Once here there are several options to configure your Session:

Topics

Your Session must have a minimum of one Topic. When you add a new Session a default Topic is added for you with the text 'Click here to edit Topic 1'. To set this to a Topic for discussion you should (as the text suggests) click on it and edit the wording.

Topics work well when they are open questions that stimulate your audience to create multiple answers or suggestions. The Topic text will display at the top of your Wall. You can add more topics by clicking the + Topic button.

Once you have more than one Topic you can Delete them using the delete button , or change their order by clicking and dragging them up or down.

Votes

Votes can either be created 'on-the-fly' within a Session, which is covered here ; or at any time within this Tab of the Session details, which is covered here.

Invites

Invites are covered in their own section below.

Settings

Here there are a number of options that allow you to configure your Session. There is a brief description of what each setting does.

It is possible to change most of these at any time even when the Session is Active. The exception is 'Allow only identified participants' which will only take effect when a Participant first joins, or if they refresh their browser page. You can find out more about anonymity below.

When the option to 'Allow participants to see each other's Posts' is switched off, then participants will see a message when they view the wall on their device informing them that they will only see their own posts.

If you change any option you will have the option to Store as my defaults. If you select this, then future Sessions that you create will default to the Settings that you have saved.

Style

The Style tab currently offers one option, which is for the background style on your wall, either Whiteboard or Brown Paper. The default is for Whiteboard, but if you prefer Brown Paper you can switch to this and then save it as your default by using the Store as my defaults option.

Reports

Reports are available when you have some content in your Session to report on, see more here Reporting.

Anonymity

By default participants join a vWall Session anonymously (there is a lot of research evidence showing that you get more and better quality ideas when you allow a brainstorm to happen anonymously). However it is possible to issue invites that identify the individual participants rather than allowing them to be anonymous, these are personalised Invites.

To issue a personalised Invite, you must send an invite from vWall, which means that you need to add the individual's details as Attendees. When you select Create Invite you can choose for the invite to issue an 'Individual Link', click on the switch option:

This link will be unique to the individual email to which it is sent, and when it is used to join a session the participant will be asked to confirm that they are that individual. Note that there it is still possible for someone to forward this link on to someone else who may use it instead as though they were the original invitee.

If you like you can have some participants join your session anonymously, and some join as identified participants either by sending separate invites or by publishing the public link via some other means.

Finally, if you want to ensure that only identified links can be used to join a Session, then select that option in the Session Settings tab. If you select this then the public link will no longer work (and will not now be shown on the Session card), be aware that if you have already sent out public links, or published the link in some other way, anyone trying to use that link will be barred from joining the Session if this setting is active.

Invites

Invites can be used as a convienient way of getting participants to join your session. They allow you to send an email to your participants from vWall which will include a button for them to click to join your Session.

Bear in mind that each Anonymous Session has a common link which you can copy from the Session card and use in your own email, or on a website etc. If you want a participant to join several Sessions then it may be best to combine all the links into one email.

Attendees

To issue invites via vWall you need to enter Attendee details. If you have already added Attendees in another Session within the same Project then you will have the option to copy attendees Copy from... the other Session. When selecting this option you will next be asked to select the Session you wish to copy attendees from, the number of Attendees present in the Session will be shown in brackets.

Alternatively you can Add the individual details (if you have already entered a participant previously then their name may appear, you can select this to speed up adding participants).

Finally you can Import a list of attendees from an Excel spreadsheet. Column A should contain the Forename, column B the Surname and column C the email address.

Once you have at least one Attendee you will have the option to Create Invite. You can edit the Subject text or the main body text, but there is some default text created to help you.

If you don't want to send the Invite to all the Attendees that you have loaded then you can use the 'Attendees' tab in the pop-up window to de-select the attendees that you want to exclude.

Selecting Create will create an Invite but not send it, so you can still go back in to edit things. The invite will be shown under the 'Invites' tab.

Invites

When you are happy with your invite you can send it via the Send button which will issue an individual email to each Attendee included on the Invite. The email will be sent from a no-reply@vwall.org address, but will contain your email address for any replies.

Note that some email systems can filter out what they percieve to be 'automated' emails, so if unsure it is best to check this. You may need the person in charge of the email to which you are sending to add a 'whitelist' entry for vwall.org in order to stop email ending up in a Spam folder.

Copying a Session

It may be that you want to run the same Session with multiple groups of people. In this case you do not want to re-create the Topics and Votes each time. Instead you can use the Copy option on the Session card.

This will create a Copy of the Session at a status of New. The Session will have the same Settings, Topics and Votes as the Session from which it was copied. You can select the Session to edit its name.