Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Monday, August 30, 2004

Quotes from Leone Wheeler (FLL 2000) and Katrina Beard

RMIT University - Melbourne

Quotes from a discussion with Leone and Katrina
- information must be useful, new and current, important to update regularly
- it is important to have a good facilitator particularly one with the ability to stop 'flaming'
- it is very time consuming for the facilitator particularly in the early stages
- limit the discussion forum to one major discussion then break out into smaller ones
- when promoting the network it is important to 'hook' them early on. One good idea is to send out a choclate frog after the participant has made their first posting
- have ongoing marketing strategies. Idea include special topics, newsletter available only online, invite an industry expert, include games.
- training must be a priority. This will take time and money. You must guide the participants closely in the begining. They must have a 'how to' including instructions on ettiquette, technology and how to get help. A help desk is ideal.
- the site must be targeted, exciting and WI4me
- example of CoPo to look at is PASCAL who are using newsletters, forums, blog and RSS feeds
www. obs-pascal.com

On the topic of logins both Leone and Katrina had differing opionions.
Katrina
- must have a password. Builds level of trust. Safety online is very important
Leone
- participants should have ease of access. Using logins can be a deterrant.

Katrina uses a very useful analogy of 'Inviting participants to join a CoP is like inviting friends over for dinner'.

1/ they must have a reason for coming over
2/you would make sure they had the correct address and knew how to find the house
3/you would clean up your house to make it look inviting ie. nice tablecloth, maybe candles, plump up the cushions. You would have an easy pathway from the front door to the loungeroom.
4/you would not just sit and look at each other but rather engage in topical conversation perhaps about the results of the last Olympics or common interests for example your children or work.

If we use the above analogy in a Community of Practice/Network Online then :
1/ participants must have a reason for accessing the site (Wi4me)
2/ participants must know how to access and have the correct address and technology
3/ the site must be easy to follow and navigate and look appealing and inviting
4/ the facilitator needs to monitor the conversation in the discussion forums and encourage lively dialogue.

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