Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Toolkit - How to set up an online network

This is a very informative document written by Leone Wheeler from RMIT. It is quite large - 70 pages but a complete step by step guide to setting up an online Network in VET. It was written in 1997 but the information is still very relevant. If anyone has an updated version please post the information here.

The url is

I particularly like the step by step instructions and the checklists.

I have also found the section on page 29 - Recruiting Participants relevant to CoPos. Here Leone answers the question
'how do you contact these people and get them interested'. Some of her ideas include:
- personal contact and word of mouth
- hands-on demonstrations
- liason with key stakeholder organisations
- network contacts
- conferences
- publications
- mailings
- professional assocation and union newsletters

Leone also discusses the importance of building trust on page 33. Some examples include:
- creating a light and welcoming environment
- praise newcomers for leaving messages
- let user know how often to check the network messages
- encourage people to supply a photograph of themselves
- let participants know about the etiquette of joining your network

Leone also highlights the importance of training by stating 'for a few of our participants, getting connected proved to be a significant hurdle'. On page 39 Leone lists some training ideas.

On page 41 Leone stresses the importance of the use of a moderator/facilitator in the networks.
'The moderator combines the role of teacher, chairman, host facilitator and community organisor'.

Leone addresses the important question of 'How to make the network sustainable on page 46. Ideas include
- invite an expert guest to participate
- arrange for a network member to moderate discussions
- threading discussion according to appropriate headings
- introducing different software

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