A4L/SDPC Community Members,
As you probably are aware, the Association was in need of a new web presence and set of community tools as our previous ones slowly began to outlive their existence – and staff patience! We took about a year reviewing various options in the marketplace and we rolled out the new Community experience tools at the North American Annual Meetings.
The good news is that these tools have functionality that will provide members a real-value add, allow for ongoing work of the groups to be better managed, allows us to reduce our previous multiple applications we used and provide a more secure environment for all of our institutional knowledge. The bad news is it is new, and all of us over the age of 10 generally push back against change!
Just so you are aware, we have had more than a 100% increase in members using the new collaboration site. The staff knows that the first experience you and your organization has with the site is the registration/password generation and that seems to have gone well so far. We know that the second experience generally is registration for events – and we know that we need some tool and operational changes but these will come more slowly. Registration for events is different for us as a Community, and we are trying to streamline multiple registrations, but it gives us:
- An idea who will be attending a call, if a quorum will be reached or the need to reschedule – which we did not get with Outlook
- The RIGHT people being able to access the right calls
- Updated and much more accurate identified organizational contact points
- The ability to tie the attendees to the group and to their organizational information allowing us to depict usage and value add to maintain membership
- Protect email lists which was being used by some to access other members not asking of follow-up
So the belief is that registration, while a bit onerous, is a good thing to do for the Community. Now we just need to streamline the process of registering and as I indicated we are working on solutions to get the notice to register, click on a link to register and confirmation and calendar update come directly next to you. We are still open to thoughts and suggestions and many of you have provided them. The work will be ongoing as we streamline authentication and the inclusion of the Student Data Privacy Consortium into the Community. We also have numerous web site changes coming in the form of Open Source tools access, a vendor/service provider marketplace and other “goodies”.
So thanks for the patience and all feedback is welcomed but as I tell our Community Director, Penny, the site usage is up so much it is a good thing – even if we have some frustration in the registration for events!
Larry Fruth II, PhD
CEO/Exec Director, A4L Community