This post contributed by kele fleming and Leva Lee on behalf of SCETUG.
Every November, the day before Fall workshop, the Steering Committee for ETUG (SCETUG) meets to review and plan activities for the coming year. This year we met at the downtown campus of SFU at Harbour Centre.
These meetings are a great opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get down to work with the volunteers on our committee who hail from post-secondary institutions from all over BC. We met with Meg Goodine, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Sylvia Currie, BCcampus; Michelle Harrison, TRU; Gina Bennett, College of the Rockies; Janine Hirtz, UBC-Okanagan; and Naz Maghsoudi, JIBC. Sarah Bowers Langara and Emily Schudel, University of Victoria, attended via Skype. Others who were unable to attend participated through contributions to our wiki planning space. The co-op students from the SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Hilda Anggraeni and Heather Kincaid, also participated in the day. (You can read more about these talented students and the amazing work they’ve been doing for ETUG and BCcampus in these articles on team-work online and co-op placement.)
Our planning day boasted a packed agenda but we started the day with some all-important team building time. As a volunteer group SCETUG is continually changing and this meeting is an opportune time to get to know each other better. We discussed special interests in our group and how we might support ways to identify and share our areas of interest, expertise and learning with one another and with the broader ETUG community. Borrowing from our Fall workshop theme of “Learning spaces” for a warm-up activity, we asked the group to choose a learning technology they identify with or think provides the best learning space and why.
Next, we discussed the qualities of a great community. Some of these qualities included being open and welcoming. Also a strong community is supportive ways that members can connect with each other to network as well as, tap into the community’s collective knowledge and expertise. We looked at whether ETUG has these qualities and how we might strengthen them or address any weaknesses. We reviewed two documents that were created by Hilda and Heather. The first one, The ETUG Report (2012), is a summary of information from 2009 – 2012 from the SCETUG planning wiki and other historical documents. The second one, The Spidergam Paper, is a compilation of the data collected from participants at the Spring workshop session Playing with Spidergrams, Action Notebooks, and Crayons: Exploring ETUG Community Orientations Together facilitated by Sylvia Currie. Once the group reviewed these documents, we gained some insight into what’s working, what’s not working and where the gaps in our community efforts might be, based on ranking by ETUG members on the spidergram (if you follow the link about to the Spidergram Paper – 1 is low and 5 is high ranking).
After some discussion, and for some, a “gut feeling” (your SCETUG-ers know many members in the community, have many adhoc conversations, and hear lots of informal feedback), we agreed we were doing well in some areas , but there were a few areas where we could definitely do better. We agreed we had a good start in building a better sense of the people in the ETUG community through the Member Profiles. ETUG member profiles were launched last year and we are keen to continue these as they allows us to get to know more about the great people that make ETUG special. The T.e.l.l. sessions started last year are also very popular. The sessions work well as they are easy to attend (free,no registration required, come as you are!) and easy to organize and facilitate (we encourage re-using something developed already). An added bonus is the sessions are recorded and shared with facilitators share excellent resources and take-aways. We will definitely continue with these popular learning and sharing opportunities!
One major area for us to improve was communication. We need to work harder to get the word out on ETUG more actively and broadly. Pulling people to ETUG website was only partially working. Also, the ETUG Twitter account, while active, was only reaching a small target audience of followers. We need additional ways to push relevant information and news out to the ETUG membership. So, a decision was made and a practical plan was hatched to re-launch the ETUG e-News. And, finally, we also saw in the spidergram results that we need to develop some materials and methods to better welcome and orientate new community members. We had some intense thinking, brainstorming and discussion on these topics facilitated by copious quantities of dark chocolate and finished our day with a clear commitment to a variety of projects and an ambitious but very do-able action plan. Our plan for the 2012-2013 academic year is as follows:
Community building & communication
- Continue with the Member profiles
- Finalize start of our membership list
- Re-launch our ETUG e-Newsletter
Professional Learning opportunities
- Continue with monthly T.e.l.l. sessions
- Link activities to SCoPE community when we can
- Continue with our Fall/Spring workshops
Other new projects
- Share & Think/Ask SCETUG – engage SCETUG committee as resources for community, especially newer members
- Develop a new Member Welcome Package
- Organize new Member Orientation session @ Spring workshops
- Offer Lightening rounds to showcase innovation @ Spring workshop
- Organize audio streaming/recording of workshops sessions; recruit and train new people to help; document “how to” and best practices & share
If you would like to send us your input on this year’s plans or would like to help with these projects we’d love to hear from you. Email SCETUG at Contactus@etug.ca