How does Thoughtexchange Work? – Frequently Asked Questions 

When will the Thoughtexchange survey be open? 
The Rural Education Task Force’s Thoughtexchange survey will be open from Monday November 30 to Monday December 14.   

Why should I participate? 
Your ideas, thoughts and experiences will help the Task Force better understand the needs of students and families in rural communities.  

Why does the survey have two parts/types of questions? 
The Task Force is seeking your feedback and thoughts about your experiences with rural schools and, secondly, why these topics and experiences are important to you.  This allows the Task Force to learn about what is important to the community while providing an opportunity for participants to learn from each other. 

Who participates? 
Parents, guardians, students, staff and community members who have experiences with schools in rural communities.  

What information or thoughts should I be providing? 
We are interested in hearing your thoughts on the unique challenges and opportunities of our TVDSB rural schools, and how you think we can enhance the rural school experience. Some areas of interest that we are seeking feedback:    

  • Student engagement    

  • Delivery of education and learning     

  • Access to technology   

  • Use of schools in rural communities      

Are my answers about the school or the district? 
All feedback will be considered at the county (i.e., Oxford, Elgin, Middlesex) and district levels. As well, you will be asked to answer a few survey questions that will help to report results.  For example, are you a parent, student, TVDSB staff member, or a community member?   

Does my opinion really matter?                                     
Absolutely! We believe that by understanding what is important to studentsparents and guardians, the Task Force will be able to generate useful recommendations for governments and school boards. 

When will I be able to see the results? 
|Once you have shared your thoughts, and assigned stars to the thoughts of others, you will have a chance to DISCOVER the results. This will let you see which thoughts and ideas were the most important to survey participants. A summary of the results including survey responses should be available by the beginning of the new year.  

I received multiple invitations.  Do I complete the survey more than once? 
If you received more than one invitation, please respond for the household and share your perspective and experiences about rural schools.   

Can my partner and I both submit a response? 
We ask that you limit your responses to one parent and/or guardian response per child.  

How do I participate if I didn’t receive an invitation? 
If you did not receive an invitation, you can still participate by following this link: 

How do I participate if I don’t have access to the Internet or a computer? 

Thoughtexchange is easily accessible using any web browser and is available for download for iPhone on the App StoreInternet access is available outside all TVDSB schools and many municipal buildings, such as libraries where computers are also available to the public. Alsoyou can contact your child’s school and make arrangement to use a computer at the school.   

What is Thoughtexchange? 
Thoughtexchange is an online platform that allows groups to come together and have important conversations. A video with step-by-step instructions can be found at this link: Participating in an Exchange 

How does it work? 
There are three steps: 

●          SHARE – where everyone shares their thoughts. 

●          STAR – where everyone sees each other’s thoughts and assigns stars to them. 

●          DISCOVER – where everyone’s thoughts and stars are shared publicly. 

We recommend that you share your thoughts, then rate about 20-30 thoughts in the Star step. You do not need to rate all thoughts, but you are welcome to rate as many as you like. You will then have an opportunity to Discover the top thoughts that are important to everyone in your rural community. 

What happens in the STAR step? 
In this step you will read the thoughts of others and assign stars to the thoughts you agree with. This will help us get a sense of shared values and priorities. Thoughts are completely unedited; the thoughts you see in the STAR step are presented exactly as they were submitted - typos and all. 

How do I assign stars? 
Use the stars to identify the thoughts you agree with the most. One star is very low agreement and five stars is very high agreement.  Click the stars at the bottom of the thought to assign them‎. 

How do I skip a thought? 
To skip a thought that does not apply to you, please look to the right of the entry. You will see a grapes icon (three purple dots). Click on the icon, then "skip". Follow the instructions in the menu box that appears. 

Why can’t I see all of the thoughts I shared? 
Generally, most of the thoughts you shared will appear in your selection of thoughts in the Star step. Although if you added a lot of thoughts, you might not see all of them. Also, Thoughtexchange reviews every thought that is added to the conversation and at times a thought must be removed. A thought is removed when it is rude or hurtful to a person or a group of people, containing identifying information, or it does not answer the question. 

Can I add more thoughts? 
Yes. We are always interested in your ideas, and you can return to the exchange to add more thoughts and/or stars as many times as you like, until the end of the day on Monday, December 14. 

I came back at a later date to add some more thoughts.  Why can’t see my previous thoughts? 
If you are using a different device or have cleared your browser cashe, you will be prompted to completwhole new set of survey questions and thoughts.  Your old ones are still captured and will continue to be rated by other participants.  To go back to previous thoughts, ensure you are using the same device and that the browser cashe on your device has not been cleared.    

Why are thoughts shared verbatim? 
This exchange is a community discussion hosted by the Rural Education Task Force. It gives everyone a chance to share ideas and to identify their priorities. It is important that people have the ability to express themselves freely without editing or modification on our part. 

Whose thoughts am I seeing? 
When you join the conversation, you join the conversation based on your community.  In this case the county in which you live and where your child(ren) go to school. This will put you into a conversation with others who identify with the same group, and you will see a random selection of their thoughts (along with some of your own) in the star phase.      

How do I save or submit my responses? 

In the exchange, you won’t see an ‘End’ or ‘Finish’ button. Within an exchange, the conversation flows, and it allows the dialogue to continue. Unlike a traditional survey, participants can keep coming back to read and rate what others think and share additional thoughts of their own. 

How do I use the ‘Flag’ feature? 

Click on the 3 dots to the right of the thought that you would like to flag. Click “report” and  identify your reason for flagging the thought (note: You will only be able to select “rude/hurtful” or “other” from the drop box; use either reason for flagging). A description for the flagged thought is required to report it. Taking a moment to accurately describe the reason for reporting the thought will help the leader determine whether or not the thought should be removed from the exchange. Your identity will not be shared with the sharer or the leader. Please do not flag a thought because you disagree with it; if you disagree with a thought you should assign it a small number of stars. 

What happens to thoughts that are flagged? 
If thoughts are flagged, they will be removed from the public star process until they can be reviewed by a moderator.  

Am I able to remove my own thoughts from the exchange? 
If you no longer wish to share your thoughts, you can flag them using the ‘Flag’ feature and explain you are self-moderating, and the thought(s) will be removed from the process. 

Why does the exchange appear different on mobile and desktop computers? 
The Thoughtexchange software detects and selects the layout that best suits your device and size of your browser window. 

Will people know what responses were mine? 

No, your name/email will not be associated with any of your responses, in either the survey or the Thoughtexchange conversation. Do not include your name or other personal information with your thoughts in the Thoughtexchange 

Why are there thoughts that include personal information? 
Thoughts are reviewed in the context of Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Thoughts that contravene the Act are flagged. For example, participants were told that thoughts would be shared. If a parent/guardian shares a thought that includes personal information about a child, he or she has the ability to do that. On the other hand, if a teacher shares a thought with personal information about a student, it is flagged because parent/guardian consent is required. 

How did you get my name for this survey? 
The list of survey participants was generated by identifying the students who attend TVDSB schools in rural communities, which the Task Force has defined as schools which receive additional funding from the provincial Rural and Northern Education Fund.  

How do I know my privacy is protected?          
The school district is committed to protecting your privacy in accordance with our legislated duty under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Personal information on this form is collected under the legal authority of the Education Act (sections 170, 190, 264, 265) in compliance with Sections 14 and 32 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [MFIPPA].   

How do I consent to participating in this survey? 
Before you access the Thoughtexchange, we ask you for your permission to collect information.  You give us this consent by clicking on a button or other feature saying something to the effect of “I accept,” “I consent” or “I agree” to these Terms of Use. 

To read more about consent and privacy issues, please check out the Terms of Use on the Thoughtexchange website. 


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