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Final Update and Action Items: Activities of the SIOP Electronic Communications Committee through March 2010

 
Submitted by Theodore L. Hayes on behalf of the Electronic Communications Committee
March 2010
 
This document provides a final update on activities relative to goals for the SIOP Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) as of mid-March 2010. These are the three major activities of the ECC in this past year:
 
  1. Blog
  2. Wiki/Content management platform
  3. Coordination with practice-oriented committees
 
Blog
The SIOP Exchange has been active since the beginning of the 2009 SIOP Annual Convention. In this year it has served as a forum for Executive Board announcements (name change discussion, dues increases) as well as periodic postings concerning issues germane to I/O. Several graduate programs -- the exact number is unknown -- have linked to the blog. SIOP pays a vendor, Typepad, $15/month for this service.
 
Action item: maintain the blog and raise its visibility among SIOP memberships by pushing more announcements onto it. This could be accomplished by abandoning the monthly SIOP electronic newsletter.
 
Wiki/Content management Platform
SIOP currently has a wiki platform used by the Education and Training Committee (E&T). A trial wiki, using the same software used by E&T, for Executive Board (EB) discussions was launched in mid-2009; activity on the trial site has been steady though variable. Both of these wikis are “freeware.”
 
A long-standing goal of the ECC has been to develop a wiki/content management platform to support expressed needs for user-generated web content tools (content repositories, communities of interest, etc.) to be deployed within the SIOP.org website. The following needs were identified based on discussions with EB members and other committee leaders:
 
·         a practice-oriented wiki and content repository to guide applied work;
·         a science-oriented wiki that could be used to facilitate research collaboration;
·         a set of interactive sites to support a mentoring program, allowing interaction between mentors and protégés and a separate site that allows mentors to collaborate with each other;
·         multiple sites to support communities of interest (including SIOP committees, the EB, and topic/issue forums); and
·         administrative rights and security levels should allow only registered/certified users (presumably, current SIOP members) to interact with the platform.
 
Preliminary investigations identified wiki/content management platforms at several levels of sophistication, scope, and cost. ECC sought permission in January 2010 from the EB to review platform options at different levels of. Given the range of needs, the breadth and complexity of the technical specifications, and the wide variance in cost and effort associated with the potential solutions, many options were reviewed. After consultation with programmers within the SIOP Administrative Office (AO), ECC came to the conclusion that the key administrative features desired in a wiki/content management platform included low or no cost and platforms consistent with SIOP AO’s server software (SQL 2000). This combination of administrative needs led us to pursue “hosted” wiki options, that is, platforms that are maintained by a vendor and that do not reside on SIOP’s server.
 
A small number of platforms met both user and administrative feature requirements. One option, the platform used by the E&T Committee, was deemed too “open” to use by non-SIOP members. The alternative platform would be priced at either $39/month or $79/month depending on the amount of hosted space needed.
 
Action items: 
 
  1. Determine how much space SIOP’s wiki/content management platform would realistically use in the next two years. This value would need to be estimated in coordination with programmers and other SIOP committees. Storage space drives price, thus budgeting requires IT support input.
  2. Anticipate an initial line item cost of $39/month ($468 per annum) in the SIOP budget to pay for at least a moderate amount of wiki/content management platform space. This amount might be jointly contributed by multiple committees (ECC, Professional Practice, E&T).
 
Coordination with practice-oriented committees
Consistent with SIOP President Kurt Kraiger’s vision, ECC is seeking sources of content and communities of interest primarily among SIOP practitioners. While this does not preclude academic participation, the function of a wiki/content management platform is more suited to practitioner work at least as envisioned at this time. Also, practitioners have shown more interest thus far in this type of platform. 
 
Action item: coordinate with Rich Cober, incoming leader of the Professional Practice Committee, about his goals and anticipated usage needs for a wiki/content management platform.