Sticky-Note Extravaganza


I have talked about the amount of sticky-notes used in our classes, and the field of Human Computer Interaction in general before, but the class that I am going to talk about in this post reached a new level. I had said that the process was more important than the actual outcome, but only had pictures of the final product. This time, I thought ahead and took pictures of the entire process!

So, enjoy the crazyness, and embrace the messy. 

It all started like a lot of the classes we have. We self-organised into small groups and talked about the papers we had read the previous week. A slight change from previous weeks was that we didn’t have this set up:

Person A: talks about the papers
Person B: listens
Person C: takes notes

This week, we had the following set up:
15 min. to spend on talking about the 9 papers we read between each other in groups of three. We were to take notes on sticky-notes as the first pictures shows:



at the end of the 15 mins, we were to simply stick them on a large piece of paper, not clustering or really checking anything. For us, that turned into this:

IMG_0040We then switched papers with another group. We didn’t really know what the articles from the other group were about, and thus were asked to write notes on their poster as is show in the next picture. As you can see there are three open markers, that’s not because we’re horrible people that let markers dry out, but because we had to colour code our notes (yay!)

Red: something our previous discussion disagreed with
Green: something our previous discussion agreed with
Blue: something we wanted more information/clarification about


The next part allowed us to actually talk to the people whose poster we defaced. We tried to find a consensus between what we wrote on their sticky-notes and what they wrote on our sticky-notes. Ultimately, the goal was to create themes, categories, or clusters of both papers on a large piece of poster board. We didn’t get very far…we got quite caught up in deep discussions about social constructivism, thus not having too much to show on our big piece of card…to the dismay of the rest of the class.

IMG_0044 IMG_0045

While we were working on our poster, the other half of the class had gone through the same process on yet another bunch of articles. They were more efficient than us, although I have to say quite a bit more superficial. They did actually get the task done though…which we didn’t really.


It was now our turn to deface this poster! We had to make sense of what this poster said and then again use the red, green and blue marker to annotate the poster. Seeing as it was by now 4pm on a Friday afternoon, this did get a little strange…

IMG_0053 IMG_0054

Do you see what I meant with the PROCESS being more important than the OUTCOME?!

This is where the ultimate mess really only started though. It was now time to make sense of what our group, and the other group had written on each others posters. Instead of doing this in a presentation format as we had done previously, our teacher had us sort out the sticky-notes in complete silence. We were to come up with a maximum of 6 themes that would encompass ALL sticky-notes. We didn’t have to name the theme just yet, but we had to group all the sticky notes together. IN SILENCE.


But that’s not where it ended either! we now had to decide which of the 6 themes we thought was least important. Seeing as there were 10 of us, all from extremely different backgrounds, we obviously couldn’t decide. So, we were to stand next to the poster that we felt was most important. Easily enough, these were the new groups that we were to work in. This time, we had to name the theme and write down the most important points of it.


Finally, we quickly shared our thoughts through 1 min. presentations. Here are the final posters:

IMG_0067 IMG_0068

IMG_0066 IMG_0064

IMG_0065They’re still incredibly messy, but if anyone were to come into the room and see them, all they would probably take away was the text written on these five posters, thinking that that is exactly what Social Computing consists of. I think we did a pretty good job at catching the main themes of all the different readings we had to do, and that whoever read these short statements would at least get a basic understanding what it is.

So I guess the method worked…

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2 Replies to “Sticky-Note Extravaganza

  1. This was a great class, indeed! From what I have noticed the two pair of groups of us had very different experience. I am not aware of anything superficial we or our counter-group did but we took it quite personally and really enjoyed each step of the task. I loved how the hard work and fights we had both on and out of the paper were always turned completely meaningless in the next step!

    1. I’m glad to hear you also enjoyed the activity! My favourite parts were also when we were contradicting ourselves as we went from one step to the next. I think it really shows that we went through a learning process not only individually, but also as a class 🙂

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