Final Project - TerpConnect

Report
Creating Community:
Technology Solutions
By: Katie Cole, Lauren Perelli , Susan Schmidt and Julie
Shenk
Problem
Who do we represent?
Graduate students enrolled in the MLS/MIM programs at the Shady Grove Campus
of the University of Maryland
What is the problem?
A minimal sense of community among students.
 Students don’t know all others students in the program (other than those with whom
they share classes)
 Students don’t know which other students share their program interests (which other
students might be interested in the same concentration, share work
interests/experience, etc.)
 No means of meaningful communication between students exists – there is no
obvious forum for directly sharing information and experiences and exchanging
ideas
 Limited sense of engagement with program -- students are not clear on the mission
of the Shady Grove programs and their role in enhancing that mission
Problem, Cont.
What is the motivation?
 Community in this situation can be defined as a group
sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or
perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger
society within which it exists
 Having a strong sense of community can improve the quality
of life of students and fosters social interaction, networking,
and support
 Encouraging a sense of community among students can
support the iSchool commitment to “creating a diverse and
inclusive community of students.”
Who is asking us to solve the
problem?
Ourselves, as members of the student population
Constraints
 No budget for project
 Proposed solution must be acceptable to school administration
 Proposed solution must be accessible and usable by all students
 Students must be aware of proposed solution so that it is utilized
 Solution should, if possible, incorporate existing communication platforms
 Solution should be easy to maintain and kept timely
 Solution should be designed to foster interest and engagement
 There are limited opportunities for community-building at the physical
campus site, as most MLS/MIM students are full-time professionals who
are only on campus one or two times per week at most for classes (or they
may be taking classes online or at College Park)
Evaluation Criteria
 Can the proposal enhance the sense of community among
students?
 Does it allow the exchange of ideas and experiences
between students?
 Does it allow students to know who comprises the
community, i.e., who their fellow students are?
 Does it promote community engagement through
promotion of the program’s mission and encouragement of
student participation in that mission?
 Is the proposal accessible to and usable by all students?
 Is the proposal acceptable to the program administration?
Evaluation Criteria, Cont.
 Does the proposal expand on current communication platforms?
 Is the proposed solution easy to maintain and kept timely?
 Is the proposed solution designed to foster interest and
engagement?
 Does the solution promote information sharing in a comfortable
and discreet environment?
 Is significant work involved in terms of responsibility for content
and standards?
 Can the proposed solution be easily and successfully promoted so
that students and administrators are aware of its existence?
 Is there a monetary cost to the solution?
Proposed Solutions
 LISTSERV
 Discussion Board
 Facebook
 Blog
Proposed Solution #1
LISTSERV
 Email list management software.
 Developed by Eric Thomas in 1986 who later founded L-soft in
1994.
 L-soft is an internationally known company.
 3,700 Companies and organizations use it!




NASA
ABC News
About.com
Microsoft
Julie
Features
 List Owner
 Web Archives which are searchable
 All list types.
 Administrator
 Multiple License Size
 Virus Protection
 Spam Control
 Users
 Subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.
 Commands
 Unsubscribe-SIGNOFF ISCHOOLDISCUSSION
 List of archives- INDEX ISCHOOLDISCUSSION
 List in digest form- SET ISCHOOLDISCUSSION DIGEST
Julie
iSchool LISTSERV
 Individual Program Lists: MLS-Students LISTSERV and School Library Media
LISTSERV.
 Ischooldiscussion:
 Open to anyone
 Messages can be sent to [email protected]
 Is moderated so any messages sent need to be approved.
 Students have to subscribe themselves.
 Ischoolannouncements:
 Used for official announcements or news from the iSchool such as “News from
the Deans Office.”
 Only some faculty and staff have permission to post to it. If students wish to
post to it, messages need to be sent to Mary Carroll-Mason for approval.
 Students are added automatically
Julie
Evaluation
 Does allow for community engagement through informing of
various activities such as iClub meetings or the Internship/Job Fair
held April 19th.
 A great tool for mass communication among students, faculty, staff
and anyone associated with the school.
 Accessible to students, faculty and staff who often use it.
 Accepted by the administration.
 It is maintained and kept up-to-date with current iSchool
happenings.
 Easy to promote and expands on current platforms.
Julie
Limitations
 Not an active discussion limiting student to student contact
 Not visually attractive.
 Workload for moderators could be heavy
 Cost
 There is a licensing agreement costs. Ranging from least expensive $450 to the most
expensive $11,900.
Julie Shenk
L-Soft International, Inc. (n.d.). CataList . Retrieved April 24, 2012, from
http://www.lsoft.com/scripts/wl.exe?qL=ISchool+&F=L&F=T
L-Soft, International, Inc. (n.d.). LISTSERV Email List Management Software . Retrieved April 24, 2012, from
http://www.lsoft.com/products/listserv.asp
M. Carroll-Mason (personal communication, April 20, 2012).
.
Trend Micro, & MAPS. (n.d.). Application Note: Guidelines for proper mailing list management. Retrieved
April 24, 2012, from http://www.mail-abuse.com/pdf/AN_ListMgmtGuidelines_052604.pdf
University of Maryland LISTSERV Server (14.5) (Fwd. personal communication, April 10, 2012).
Julie
Proposed solution #2
Discussion Board
An online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted
messages
 A single conversation is called a thread, and each posting can be replied to by
an unlimited number of people
 Becomes hierarchical (branching) as new threads are begun and postings are
made in response to existing posts
 Messages are archived, at least temporarily
 Message board may need a technical administrator, and postings may need
approval of a moderator
 Accessible via web-based interface; depending on the design, a user may
subscribe to a conversation and have new posts sent to them via email
Susan
Value to Community
Message Boards can be valuable communications and community-building
tools:
 They allow users to talk to each other and administrators as equals on
topics related to an organization’s mission
 They can enhance face-to-face networking
 They provide a “location” where members gather and chat in nearly real
time and are easy to follow
Susan
Creating and sustaining a successful discussion board requires planning,
commitment, and marketing:

Need an organizer, moderator, and possibly technical administrator

Should make direct contact with potential members and encourage participation – wide
participation encourages a sense of ownership

Should provide access to member lists and user profiles – members can’t engage if they don’t
know who is in community

Need to clearly identify community purpose and target audience; theme/subject matter must
be interesting so that members are not likely to tire of content and broad enough to support
multitude of interactions and conversations

May want to include special features from “experts in the fields” (instructors or
administrators in this case
References:
Resource: Using Message Boards to Build Community: Bring people to your online community.
Retrieved from:
http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/webbuilding/archives/page9405.cfm
Hosting: Online Moderator Guidelines and Community Building Tips. Retrieved from:
http://www.well.com/confteam/hosting.html
vBulleting Community Forum FAQ. Retrieved from:
https://www.vbulletin.com/forum/faq.php?faq=vb3_board_usage
Susan
Feasibility of Discussion Board
 Allows student-to-student communication through discussion
 Can be a forum for exchange of ideas and experiences
 Student profiles could be posted as a discussion thread
 Can promote a sense of inclusiveness and community
 A discussion board already exists on the ELMS
Susan
Feasibility of Discussion Board, Cont.
 Students use ELMS discussion boards already in their MLS/MIMs class
pages (so therefore accessible and usable), and site is restricted to
students
 Proposal would expand on existing discussion board platform
 There is no cost involved
 Can be promoted by faculty/staff/students
Discussion Board Limitations
 A student-to-student message board is technically feasible but would
involve policy decision by Dr. Diker to allow for it
 Would have to be moderated since as it would be a component of the
UMD site (might be possible for the iSchool graduate assistant to be
moderator)
 Can’t be a real-time discussion (because of moderator review)
 It is technically possible to post student profiles and pictures on the
ELMS space, but it would involve policy decisions about how
specifically to do that and what would be allowed
 Not visually appealing or engaging

References:
V Diker and Melissa McDonald (personal communication)
Susan
SS
Proposed Solution #3:
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking web site
 Personal Profile – are created by individuals to share information with the online
community (Techsoup)
 Pages – are created by organizations to communicate with large audiences that
like them (Facebook)
 Groups – are a closed space for a limited group of people to communicate about
shared interests (Facebook)
Some positive features:
 Free to join and maintain (except for staff administrator’s time)
 Anyone can view a page, only individuals with accounts can post on
pages
 Visually attractive
Katie
Anatomy of a Facebook Page
Number of people
who “like” the
iSchool
You could post
something on the
iSchool’s wall
Posts by other
people/pages about
the iSchool
Things the iSchool
likes
Current Page for the entire iSchool: http://www.facebook.com/iSchoolUMD
This whole
area is called
a “wall”
Features of Facebook
Mass communication from the iSchool on Facebook:
 People who have “liked” the iSchool page receive updates
 Administrator of the iSchool page can make posts, monitor posts, and remove
inappropriate posts or discussions
How the iSchool can communicate with students:
 Status updates
 Share text, photo, video, or hyperlinks
 Comment or respond to status updates




Post on another individual or organization’s page,
Send direct message out to followers
Ask people vote on an answer in response to a question
Create and invite users to an event
Katie
Evaluation
Ways Facebook can encourage community engagement:
 Asking direct questions and encouraging members to provide feedback
 Interact and join conversation on other organization’s pages (Techsoup)
Student-to-student interaction:
 Facebook members can post on the iSchool’s page
 View other members Facebook pages to see common interests
Deterrents to developing a Shady Grove iSchool Facebook page:
 Need for a unified media strategy to communicate with the iSchool – breaking off a
separate group may fragment the audience
 Need for additional administrator from the iSchool staff (Mary Carroll-Mason,
personal communication, April 20, 2012)
Katie
Final Thoughts on Facebook
 Would students feel comfortable interacting with faculty on
Facebook?
 Building a community assumes all or most students and faculty at the
iSchool use Facebook and feel comfortable interacting with others on an
academic level
 Other concerns about Facebook as a community building
environment:
 Lower scores in areas of student motivation, affective learning, and
student views of teacher credibility were seen in one study when teachers
disclosed high levels of personal information on Facebook (Heacock,
2011)
References
Facebook. How are Pages different from groups? Which one should I create? Retrieved from:
http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=155275634539412.
Facebook. Maryland's iSchool. Retrieved from: http://www.facebook.com/iSchoolUMD.
Heacock, C.R.A. (2011). Too Much Information? How Teacher Self-Disclosure on Facebook Influences
Students’ Opinions. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. UMI Number: 3439053.
Techsoup. Facebook. Retrieved from: http://npsocialmedia101.wikispaces.com/Facebook
V Diker, Melissa McDonald, and Mary E. Carroll-Mason (personal communication)
Katie
Proposed Solution #4
Blog
 The blog must be interactive and informative
 It must allow users to post comments, images, links
 The posts must share information on a subjects relevant to theme of the
blog
 Each allows blog creators to build social networks and relations with
other users
 Features necessary to the success of any blog
 Blogroll: where many blogs list links to similar blogs directly on their site
 Pleasing appearance and layout
 Comments
 Easily navigable/easily accessible posts
 Links, videos, images, podcasts, Twitter/RSS feed
 Subscription enabled (Email, RSS, Twitter, Facebook)
Lauren
Implementation
 Possible Blog Platforms:
 Blogger (Google)
 LiveJournal
 Movable Type







(http://www.nationalgeographic
.com/)
Typepad (compatible with
Movable Type)
WordPress
ExpressionEngine
TextPattern
Tumblr
Weebly
Jux*
http://www.readwriteweb.com/
archives/jux_reinvents_the_blo
g_as_a_fullscreen_experience.php
 Methods for evaluating and
choosing a blog platform:
 Affordability
 Flexibility
 Usability
 Technical Help and Support
 Free storage space
 Deterrents, when compared to
other forms of social media:
 time-consuming
 must remain current to maintain
and grow viewership
 Niche v. non-niche blog
Lauren
The Shady Grove iSchool Blog
Current Blog Site for the Shady Grove iSchool
http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=42348
The Shady Grove iSchool Blog
 Topics
 in order to appeal to the diverse range of Shady Grove iSchool
students, the blog should feature varied topics that also provide
updates on new happenings at the Shady Grove campus and within the
iSchool in general
 Field trips
 Speakers
 Student recognition
 Networking
 the blog will be advertised through listservs, the iSchool website, and
possibly the dean will include it in her regular announcements
 Technorati
Lauren
References
 Seven Blogging Tools Reviewed: A detailed look at the top blogging
tools and key considerations for nonprofits. Retrieved from:
http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/webbuilding/page5516.cfm
 Be A More Productive Blogger. Retrieved from: http://www.todone.com/2005/05/be-a-more-productive-blogger/
 10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs. Retrieved from:
http://www.netsquared.org/blog/britt-bravo/10-ways-nonprofits-canuse-blogs
 Better Blogging, Part One. Retrieved from:
http://www.imjustsharing.com/tag/pros-negatives-blogging/
 V Diker, Melissa McDonald, and Mary E. Carroll-Mason (personal
communication)
 Lauren
Evaluation
Criteria
LISTSERV
Discussion Board
Facebook
Blog
Allows student to
student communication
2
5
5
5
Helps students to know
one another
1
3
5
4
Accessible and usable
by students
5
5
3
5
Acceptable to
administration
5
3
3
5
Expands on current
platforms
4
5
5
4
Easy to maintain up-todate content
2
4
4
3
Visually attractive and
engaging
1
2
5
5
Comfortable
information sharing
5
5
2
4
Workload for
administering
3
3
3
2
Easy to promote
5
5
5
5
Cost
2
5
5
3
35
45
43
45
Totals
Key: 1 Poor - 5 Excellent
Summary
 Each of our proposed solutions has equal strengths
 Discussion Board
 Feasible and clearly navigable
 Fosters a sense of inclusiveness
 Facebook
 Highly interactive—users can participate in conversations and directly
response to users’ comments
 Provides regular updates
 LISTSERV
 Closely moderated
 Reaches a large audience
 Blog
 Very informative
 Allows for focused topics
Our Final Pick
 We considered the positives and negatives of all four and
decided that a blog ultimately offers the best overall potential
 Our Criteria






Level of Engagement
Flexibility
Acceptable content
Easily maintained
Visually appealing
Low cost
Monday, April 30, 2012
MLS at Shady Grove Student Profiles
Use this site to tell others in the program about your area of interest, background, and goals. Find
others in the program who share your interests.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Student Profile: Jane Austin
Program area of interest: Archives, records, and information management
Current program status: I’m in my second semester in the Shady Grove
Program, currently taking Information Access Services
Experience: Before enrolling in the Shady Grove MLS program, I was
primarily educated at home. I have dabbled in writing – primarily works of
romantic fiction. I enjoy documenting the social
Interactions and moral hypocrisy of my cohorts.
Goals: Hope to complete the program by the Spring of 2014. Seeking
a position as an archivist in a quiet country setting.
Our Final Pick: Takeaways
 Blog:
 Versatile—supports various multi-media types (links, videos,




images, podcasts)
Appearance can be altered to fit the blog’s mission
Accessible and educational
Encourages user feedback
Affords administrator a greater degree of control

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