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The Dustless Training Manual: Using Wikis to Get Everyone on the Same Page

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Presented at NASPA Tech Conference …

Presented at NASPA Tech Conference
Newport, RI
October 28, 2011

PJ Dickson, Laurie Nelson, Brian Koslowski, Katie McFaddin

Brandeis University

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • Who has used a wiki?Who has edited a wiki?Built a wiki?
  • Our Team: We are a team of 5 academic advisors and 1 support staff Academic advisors’ primary responsibility = advising students Secondary responsibilitiesOur Department: We work within a larger Academic Services departmentOur Needs: training for new advisors, reference for current advisorsOur Situation: In 2010-11, four out of the five advisors were new hiresEnd with poll of audience:What do you currently use to train staff members and/or manage individual and group projects?Who manages the creation/updating of the materials?How often are the materials referenced? Are training materials useful to personnel beyond their training period?How often is it updated?How is it working?
  • A training manual for new advisors: Personnel changes revealed need for training documents - Evidence that after turnover, team memory relied on a single person Ineffective re: secondary responsibilities Challenging when new advisors were trying to understand context/an overview of how things work Constantly interrupting one another to learn (and re-learn) how to do basic tasks (poor PJ) Exceptions to the rules- No written record of policies- Materials stored on server—how, when, and where depended on each individual—hard to find for new staff- Cryptic notes- Paperless = consistent, easier to update, environmentally friendly
  • Reference for current advisorsOffice had many internal policies that were not written down Past precedent for exceptional cases lives in the memory of our Director and DeanDepth of information beyond just training: Above and beyond the day-to-day aspects of the jobResources (links, forms, articles, anecdotes re: past precedent, etc.) for specific cases or things outside the normOverviews of secondary responsibilities Responsibilities that may happen only once or twice a year—need a refresher Time Savers - Email templates: copy and paste for common responses--saves 5 minutes of writing multiplied by however many times you use it—creates more time for non-administrative things - OTHER EXAMPLES?Staff looked for innovative ways to collect and present the information
  • Discuss similarities and differences between a wiki and a blogWhy did we choose wikispaces?Could go through our institution’s IT department to ensure security, but haven’t done so yet. Thus, we keep student info off the wiki. Are able to track down student information using clues from the wiki, and other documents.
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • Take attendees on a mini-tour of our wiki:COAS instructions and precedents (including discussion forum) PJOperations Calendar PJE-mail templates LNSecondary Assignment example – BUGS LNDemonstrate something search-able KMEdit a page KMAdd a page KMLink to a document (pdf) BKDemonstrate how to manipulate menu (time permitting?) BKControlling access to the wiki BK
  • ProsCollaborative-every from the Department Coordinator to the Director has information to shareCentralized—everything is in one placeEnvironmentally friendly—can scan in paper documents (e.g. department worksheets) and have them electronically available to advisors; less paper floating around; faster to find thingsUpdating—fast, easy, can be done during team meetings/dailyHolistic—allows everyone to see where their roles/responsibilities fit into the bigger pictureNot on a server; can be accessed anywhere via internet
  • ConsSome people prefer paperLimited formatting: No subpages, text, paragraphs, charts, etc not as much as WordEveryone has to be involvedNeeds to be updated constantly—who takes the lead?What if the internet goes down?How does it look on a smartphone? (Can we try this ahead of time? Maybe it’s not actually a “Con”)
  • Where we plan to go from hereUpdate, sometimes daily, to keep things currentElaborate on existing sectionsAdd new sections/featuresShow Roosevelt Fellow’s google calendar wikiAdd screencasts—”how to” videos (EXAMPLES???)Expand to the rest of the department—maybe… Would it be helpful to them? Is there such a thing as “too many cooks?”Integrate into a training calendar—hopefully we are done with hiring for now, but if turnover in the future occurs, it will be more helpful to have a guide for how a new hire can use the wiki to get up to speed than to have him/her poke around aimlessly.Now, let’s talk about your next steps! You may have noticed that we do not have handouts or hard copies of our presentation available. In the spirit of our focus on wiki’s as being accessible, environmentally friendly, and so on, we’ve created a public wiki for you instead!
  • Publicly available wikiOur contact infoTips on “Getting Started” page/helpful linkspdf version of presentationQ&A sessionWe’ll do a Q&A period live today, but if you have questions in the future you can submit them to us through the wiki Show howWe ask that after today’s session, if you’d like to communicate via wiki you create your own wiki accountExplain “notify me”—don’t have to keep going back and checking; can be notified via email when your question is answered/updatedEvaluation page—let us know what you think about our session!Can complete the evaluation without signing in to the wikiIf you’re sharing a computer or other device with a neighbor, you can each complete an evaluationPage for application at home campus???Live Q & AApplications for home campus?
  • Publicly available wikiOur contact infoTips on “Getting Started” page/helpful linkspdf version of presentationQ&A sessionWe’ll do a Q&A period live today, but if you have questions in the future you can submit them to us through the wiki Show howWe ask that after today’s session, if you’d like to communicate via wiki you create your own wiki accountExplain “notify me”—don’t have to keep going back and checking; can be notified via email when your question is answered/updatedEvaluation page—let us know what you think about our session!Can complete the evaluation without signing in to the wikiIf you’re sharing a computer or other device with a neighbor, you can each complete an evaluationPage for application at home campus???Live Q & AApplications for home campus?
  • Publicly available wikiOur contact infoTips on “Getting Started” page/helpful linkspdf version of presentationQ&A sessionWe’ll do a Q&A period live today, but if you have questions in the future you can submit them to us through the wiki Show howWe ask that after today’s session, if you’d like to communicate via wiki you create your own wiki accountExplain “notify me”—don’t have to keep going back and checking; can be notified via email when your question is answered/updatedEvaluation page—let us know what you think about our session!Can complete the evaluation without signing in to the wikiIf you’re sharing a computer or other device with a neighbor, you can each complete an evaluationPage for application at home campus???Live Q & AApplications for home campus?
  • Finish powerpointbeef up context slides (LN)Input research stuff (BK)Make 9-12 pretty (KM)Write script/talking points for the wiki tourPractice it a tonTry out a multi-person editing party
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Dustless Training ManualUsing Wikis to Get Everyone on the Same Page PJ Dickson Brian Koslowski Katie McFaddin Laurie Nelson Brandeis University © druclimb, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 2. Today we will cover… - the advantages anddisadvantages of utilizing a wiki for paperless training- what resources/skills are required to get started- how to launch, build, and control access to a wiki © druclimb, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 3. Our Challenge• Our Team: 5 academic advisors and 1 support staff• Our Situation: Fast and significant turnover• Our Problem: • Weak program and materials for training new advisors • Little formal recording of institutional memory • Information sharing cumbersome, time consuming © phillacombe, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 4. “Will I Get a Training Manual?”• Past Efforts were largely ineffective: • Frequent changes in policy/procedure & in many exceptions • “Omega”: shared server not searchable, organized • Mystery notes, from job holder to job holder, e.g “Schedule meeting with committee members”• Our approach - Build manual as you learn • Documentation of procedures, policies, and “standard” exceptions • Develop training calendar for advisors to come © phillacombe, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 5. What Happens After Training?• Even as established Advisors we found ongoing challenges: • Complex Internal policies/procedures • Depth of Information • Things outside the norm • Responsibilities unique to one team member • Efficiency and Quality Control • Email templates • Easy Access to Information © phillacombe, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 6. Why Did We Choose a Wiki? X Paper X Google Site Wiki-Immediately dated -Available online -Available online-Not eco-friendly -Google Campus -Free-Not easy to link to -Can control access -Can control accessresources -Difficult to organize -Content is searchable-Typically one person’s -Not able to hyperlink -Designed for groupproject files without disrupting input-Hard to find info text -Dynamic
    • 7. Edit Write  Save
    • 8. Starting our wiki required…- $0- Minimal computer skills- 1 hour delegation meeting- 5-10 hours of individual work building and populating the pages
    • 9. Instructions for each type of committee petition, with links to helpful documents & forms
    • 10. Operations calendar,organized by month. Repeated projects and tasks for the office are listed by week.
    • 11. Email templates for oft-used emails to students and instructors
    • 12. Detailed instructions for secondary assignments (peer tutoring)
    • 13. Wiki is fully search-able. Can search content of some pdfs.
    • 14. To edit a page, click “Edit” in the uppercorner. The page will open for editing.
    • 15. To create a new page, click “New Page”
    • 16. 1. To link to a file, click “File” 2. Click “Upload Files”, select file, and choose “Link to File”
    • 17. Benefits Collaborative Centralized Environmentally friendly Easy to update Holistic Independent of a server Communal constructivism (Virtual) Community of practice© Orin, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 18. Limitations Some people prefer paper Limited formatting Requires universal involvement Requires frequent updating Internet-dependent Security--we don’t post student data© karmark, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 19. Next Steps Systematize updating Expand user pool? Integrate into a training calendar Consider multimedia© isdky, Flickr Creative Commons
    • 20. Public WikiNASPAtech2011.wikispaces.com Username: NASPA1 Password: naspa1
    • 21. Complete ourPresentation Evaluation
    • 22. Questions?© isdky, Flickr Creative Commons