Web 2.0 Tools, Ning and Online Virtual Communities


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Weston Miller and Chris LaBelle describe how a virtual community of practice was introduced within a large Portland Metro area Master Gardener group.

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Web 2.0 Tools, Ning and Online Virtual Communities

  1. 1. Web 2.0: Creating and Facilitating Online Communities of Practice Weston Miller, Chris LaBelle
  2. 2. I. Introduction and Overview – 10 minutes (1:00-1:10) II. What is an online community of practice (CoP)? – 15 minutes (1:10-1:25) III. Metro Master Gardener CoP Overview - 25 minutes (1:25-1:50) 10-minute Break (1:50-2:00) IV. Impact and Evaluation Data – 30 minutes (2:00 – 2:30) V. Questions / Discussion (2:30-2:45) Session Outline
  3. 3. What is Social Media? Anthony Bradley from Gardner Blog Group <ul><li>Social Media “ At its foundation, social media is a set of technologies and channels targeted at forming and enabling a potentially massive community of participants to productively collaborate…social-media technologies, such as social networking, wikis and blogs, enable collaboration on a much grander scale and support tapping the power of the collective in ways previously unachievable.” </li></ul><ul><li>Six Principles of Social Media Collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participatory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergent </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Participatory… </li></ul><ul><li>The only way to achieve substantial benefits from social media is by mobilizing the community to contribute, i.e. primarily a grass-roots effort with minimal facilitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Collective… People collect around the content to contribute rather than individually create the content and distribute it. </li></ul><ul><li>Transparent… </li></ul><ul><li>With social media, it is not enough to collect participant contributions. A social-media solution also provides transparency in that participants are privy to each other’s participation. They get to see, use, reuse, augment, validate, critique and rate each other’s contributions. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Independent… </li></ul><ul><li>Participants can collaborate no matter where they are or whoever else may be posting content at that time. </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent… </li></ul><ul><li>The fruits of participant contributions are captured in a persistent state for others to view, share and augment. </li></ul><ul><li>Emergent… </li></ul><ul><li>The recognition that you can’t predict, model, design and control all human collaborative interactions and optimize them as you would a fixed business process. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ Groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” This learning that takes place is not necessarily intentional. Three components are required in order to be a CoP: (1) the domain (2) the community, and (3) the practice. </li></ul>What is an online Community of Practice Etienne Wenger
  7. 7. Examples…. Facebook, Linkedin, Ning Communities develop their practice through a variety of methods, including: problem solving, requests for information, seeking the experiences of others, reusing assets, coordination and synergy, discussing developments, visiting other members, mapping knowledge and identifying gaps.
  8. 8. OSU Permaculture Event Calendar, Ask the Expert, Blogs, Photos <ul><ul><li>Social Media Principles… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participatory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideally… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ semi” vetted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passionate users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multimedia compliant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. OSU Permaculture User blogging Stories, photos, links
  10. 10. OSU BeaverTurf – Start up 1. Polled audience (golf course superintendents) 2. Set up separate Web site for program. 3. Designed site, added logos, Links, some photos/videos, content disclaimer 4. Seek out several group facilitators/champions 5. Invite participants to the group
  11. 11. Sea Grant Climate Network <ul><ul><li>Member Characteristics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>284 members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From around the U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relatively high participation </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. “ The creation of virtual communities through the use of Internet technology holds much promise for Cooperative Extension workers. For instance, home study groups of youth or adults can be formed as a virtual community around a topic of interest. The educational materials can then be provided electronically, with participants entering into ‘virtual discussions.’ This would allow Extension staff and clientele to interact across space, time, and cultural bounds!” “ Likewise, agricultural producers with specific interests can be formed by Cooperative Extension into virtual communities around their business focus. Then, an array of Extension and research faculty would be able to convey various pieces of information and respond to questions with and between participants via the Internet. In this way, the producers would gain valuable insights without travelling great distances sometimes through poor weather.” Bruce DeYoung, Peggy Harris, Lori Larson Journal of Extension, February 1995 http://www.joe.org/joe/1995february/a5.php Not a New Idea…
  13. 13. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Over 700 invited in January 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>433 Current Members </li></ul>
  14. 14. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Main Uses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Photos- 358 posts (very few by me) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Events- 46 posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forum – 13 posts, 26 replies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs- 13 posts, few replies </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Other Features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MG Training Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Invitation only site for new and veteran MGs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Calendar Block </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Updated partially by volunteers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to key resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feeds to: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OSU YouTube; eXtension </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Other Features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Broadcast email alerts!!!!! </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Let’s take a tour… </li></ul>
  18. 18. Metro Master Gardener CoP <ul><li>Some Management Tips: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust that CoP can self-regulate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scan regularly to ensure nothing offensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post own content…but not too much </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enough, but not too many features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage community to particpate </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. What Has Changed? <ul><li>On some level…nothing </li></ul><ul><li>We have a new communication tool </li></ul><ul><li>Some participant-driven content </li></ul><ul><li>For me, increased techie confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Good start in 3+ months </li></ul>
  20. 20. Some Participant Feedback <ul><li>Poll sent via Ning broadcast feature 4/8 </li></ul><ul><li>Via Survey Monkey </li></ul><ul><li>89 Responses </li></ul><ul><li>No IRB approval </li></ul>
  21. 23. Other Resources/Features? <ul><li>I think it will just take time to grow. It will only be as strong as the users. </li></ul><ul><li>more people using it </li></ul><ul><li>What is there works really well - if anything, I'd remove a feature so it's less busy </li></ul>
  22. 24. Other Resources/Features? <ul><li>one master calendar for all MG volunteer opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>don't find this site useful .. another facebook </li></ul><ul><li>A reminder that it exists! Any fault with Ning is mine.... </li></ul>
  23. 28. Is there anything else? <ul><li>I would like to see more pictures of master gardeners to help put faces with names </li></ul><ul><li>offer a brief class in using the network. I would like to correspond with members but not necessarily for all to read. Not sure of how that works </li></ul>
  24. 29. Is there anything else? <ul><li>I don't need any more &quot;communities&quot; that require me to log on and search for info that might or might not be useful and relevant. I have more than enough. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a step in the right direction for the extension service, but there are still too many members who aren't aware of this as a resource, don't know how to use the resource, or just feel that is duplicates their already thriving online resources. I personally like it, but it is only as good a resource as people add to it. </li></ul>
  25. 30. Is there anything else? <ul><li>As a new 2010 intern, I loved this, and used it to access the quizzes and answers, plus read about upcoming events, and I loved looking at people's pictures. Being new to the MG world was overwhelming at first, and the Ning website was a great place to refer to at my convenience to reinforce things I learned or I heard about in class. As it catches on and more people us it, I think it will be an incredible resource--I hope it continues to grow. I love it and appreciate all the time Westin spent to set it up. Thanks! </li></ul>
  26. 31. Is there anything else? <ul><li>It's nice to have one central place to go for information, but I just don't care for these social network things. E-mail works for me! Thanks </li></ul><ul><li>Was unaware of this network. </li></ul><ul><li>Just don’t know how to get people to use it! </li></ul>
  27. 32. Is there anything else? <ul><li>Once you realize that the site has 433 &quot;members&quot; and an extremely limited number of posts, one wonders what social value exists. Essentially no one is using the site. I have checked it now & then, only to see nothing new. (That said, during annual training I did download the speakers' presentations.) In my opinion, the &quot;helpfulness factor&quot; is very low due to limited use by other MGs. How do I know the MGs even read any updates and/or announcements I post when I don't receive some sort of feedback? I'd rather participate elsewhere, places where I believe I have some sort of impact. (signed: J. Natter) </li></ul>