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Electronic Communications Committee Goals and Progress Report Form

Committee Chair: Ted Hayes

 
Update: 28 December 2009
 
Committee Membership and Membership Changes:
There are two functional groups within the SIOP ECC. One group focuses on the Exchange (microsite blog plus RSS feed) and the other group focuses on the incipient wiki site development. This structure has developed organically based on personal interest and on the different goals of wikis & blogs.
 
Team members who focus on the wiki site:
David DuBois
Jenna Filipkowski
 
Team members who focus on the Exchange:
Charles Handler
Zack Horn
 
Other members:
Stephany Schings (SIOP AO liaison, serves on both teams); Dave Nershi has also helped us on many occasions
Ted Hayes (ECC leader)
 
This report has three sections. First is a review of ECC Objectives and Goals for 2009. Next is an extended consideration of one objective, identification of a wiki/content platform. This section includes an addendum based on ECC collaboration with another SIOP Committee. Finally are some preliminary recommendations for EB action.
ECC Objectives and Goals (2009)
 
1.      Objective: Enable greater communication and collaboration via electronic communication
a.      Goal: Launch blog (Completed; The SIOP Exchange launched 4/2009)
b.      Goal: Recruit bloggers (Ongoing)
c.       Goal: Incorporate blog features (Ongoing)
d.      Goal: Integrate blog with other communication vehicles (Ongoing)
e.       Goal: Integrate Exchange and wiki (Ongoing)
 
2.      Objective: Identify and develop an electronic medium geared toward the collaboration needs of practitioners. Note, this platform is not exclusive of academics’ needs. However, because practitioners typically work for one company (or are individual consultants), they typically have limited if any inter-organizational IT architecture that allows for project collaboration.
a.      Goal: Identify practitioner interests and needs (This was accomplished in two stages, one by the Professional Practice Committee in 2008 and one by Kurt Kraiger in 2009; ECC is piggy-backing off of these results)
b.      Goal: Identify an electronic platform – known as a “wiki” -- that could support collaboration by a “community of interest” regarding file sharing, social collaboration, and archiving (Completed 6/2009)
c.       Goal: launch small-scale demonstration of wikis (Completed 7/2009 and ongoing)
d.      Goal: identify larger/Society-wide-scale wiki/content platforms for consideration by EB (ongoing). 
 

2009 progress
Related
Objective, Goal(s)
 
Current Progress
1, a. 
Worked with SIOP AO and 2008/9 EC to gain acceptance of blog approach. This involved the appropriation of funds ($15/mo) to develop a blog now known as The SIP Exchange. The Exchange launched at the 2009 SIOP conference.
1, b.
We have not been able to recruit a steady flow of writers. We have had occasional contributors but the summer lull plus the rationales offered in resistance noted previously have been difficult to surmount. It seems that the blog needs to gain a strategic position among SIOP communication venues in order to attract writers.
1, c.
This is coming within the next month.
1, d.
We are sending out the blog link to academic programs so that it can be inserted into program-specific websites and newsletters. This needs to be spread more widely. We have had some visibility in regional associations (e.g., PTCMW) and in electronic networks (LinkedIn).
1, e.
Presumably the Exchange should be able to connect automatically with the incipient wikis to alert members to new additions. Preliminary user testing has shown that the blog is familiar though maybe limited in utility, while wikis (nb – the free versions of wikis) are utile though unfamiliar. There are “bulletin board”/blog-like features in free wiki software so far reviewed but no obvious linkage between the two platforms. SIOP members with expertise in this area will need to be identified and asked to help draft user guides on an ad hoc basis.
 
2, a.
Practitioner input identified the following interests:
  1. Provide summaries, digests or abstracts of I-O psychology research and practice
  2. Provide professional review, along the lines of evidence-based practice, of research findings and research grounded tools
  3. Provide standards to evaluate services and practices
  4. Present summaries through a variety of channels - conferences, online, books, tapes webcasts, forums, and email links
2, b.
We identified two freeware wiki platforms, Wetpaint and Socialtext, in part based on the experiences of the Education & Training Committee and in part through product awareness.
2, c.
The EB & ECC ran a small-scale trial of the two ‘freeware’ wiki platforms. The following roster of “pros and cons” summarizes expressed experiences of participants:
 
WETPAINT
Pros

-Free.
-ability to upload documents and discuss them in a message board. However, users found this confusing and clunky.
-unlimited ability to upload documents and use message board.

 
Cons
-
Archaic interface compared to Social text.
-cannot conduct polling.
- advertising on the site that you cannot get rid of unless by paying for a subscription.

SOCIAL TEXT
pros
-Free for first 50 people who use it.
-Those who enjoy social networking and web 2.0 technologies will like this.
-There are detailed instructions of how to navigate the site.
-Can set up workspaces for specific projects, can see who contributed to the work.
-Can be used as a one-stop shop for all EB projects (if purchase the product).
-allows EB members to connect to each other easier, thought direct messaging.
-workspaces can be public or private (password protected).
-holds people accountable for contributing to a project. A news feed is generated of who is contributing or editing a document..
-people can customize the features of Socialtext based on their needs.

cons
-
With the free trial for 50 we are limited to only one workspace, meaning only one type of collaborative project.
-With the free trial we get no tech support from Socialtext.
- There may be too many features – users overwhelmingly described it as “geeky.”
- Those who are not technologically inclined may be put off.
- Not sure if there is a polling option.
 
With both platforms, two major “cons” seem to be:
*users need to log onto the software platform. This has been problematic for one user (TLH) as some employers may block access based on certain website criteria.
*the platforms do not have an obvious RSS-type feed capacity that would alert users that recent activity has occurred. In contrast, platforms more aligned with social networking functionality (e.g., Social Cast, Twitter) have the RSS-type feed capability.
 
At this point, the wiki needs to be approved and built up by ECC members within a community of interest.

 
Regarding ECC Objective/Goal 2 (d):
 
ECC has investigated wiki-content platforms at different levels of functionality. Also, ECC has coordinated with other Committees regarding their needs as might pertain to a platform. The result of this is the identification of platform features. 
A SIOP Content Management/Wiki platform site would serve four purposes. All purposes tie into the idea of a SIOP Content Management/Wiki platform as a way to leverage the “social capital” of its membership. The four main approaches to a SIOP Content Management/Wiki platform are:
 
1.      A repository for aggregated, collective knowledge that forms the foundation of the field;
2.      A forum for a community of interest.
3.      An integrated platform for the SIOP social media plan.
4.      A support tool for the two SIOP annual conferences (Annual and LEC).
 
Repository
 
The SIOP Content Management/wiki platform would become a repository of public domain or freely available intellectual property such as white papers, datasets, business plans, podcasts, conference presentations, etc. A target audience for this type of SIOP Content Management/wiki platform would be practitioners, though academics would be welcomed also. Sponsoring a practitioner SIOP Content Management/wiki platform would address needs expressed by SIOP practitioners in the 2008 Practitioner Needs survey. Respondents to that survey indicated that they wanted more opportunity to demonstrate to SIOP leadership what practitioner needs were & how they would be met. In particular – and echoed by SIOP President Kurt Kraiger in his presidential address and in discussions of SIOP Content Management/wiki platform initiatives – was the importance of the following:
 
·         Providing summaries, digests or abstracts of I-O psychology research and practice.
·         Providing archived business plans, white papers, podcasts, videos, and course materials
·         Providing opportunities for self-paced continuing education courses 
 
Community of Interest
 
An additional use of the SIOP Content Management/wiki platform would be to provide multiple forums for members who, collectively constitute a “community of interest” (COI). A COI can be defined as a team studying a particular phenomenon, a collection of like-minded practitioners (and/or academics) who have an interest in a particular area, or even a SIOP committee that wishes to use the platform for providing services to members (e.g., mentoring). The core utility of a COI function would be to provide a social framework within which practitioners and academics could collaborate. The following are seen as the most important professional development needs that a COI function would address:
 
§ Building relationships – peer contributions.
§ Managing work projects and administrative activities.
§ Opportunity for practitioners to influence SIOP decisions and future directions through developing alliances and experimental approaches.
§ Implementing and delivering programs and/or tools.
§ Making presentations/borrowing or building on what “works.”
§ Deliver surveys, programs, publications, or other SIOP Committee products to subscribers. An example of this idea incorporating mentoring is provided as an addendum.
 
Integrated Platform for Media Strategy
 
This function would incorporate functionality for blogging, journal support (including author-sharing), dissemination of public information, and continuing professional education. In this plan, the platform would support both society-to-member (one-way) communication as well as member-to-member (two-way) communication. Unlike current website/FTP-based approaches, communicated materials can include multimedia as well as text. The following needs would be addressed by using the platform in this manner:
 
§ Provide peer review, along the lines of evidence-based practice, of research findings and research grounded tools.
§ Provide standards to evaluate services and practices.
§ Actively manage the I-O Research and Practice knowledge base, with a central portal.
§ Allow for communication between journal editors and authors (if interested).
§ Allow for blogging and integration with other social media developments (e.g., messaging, Twitter, Facebook/Myspace).
§ Allow for dissemination of information to news media and the general public.
§ Serve as a platform for continuing education courses that may be completed in a virtual environment for CE credits (if desired).
 
Support for annual SIOP conferences (Annual and LEC)
 
This function would provide a support system for conference planners. Currently available functionality would include:
·         Management of materials submitted for incorporation into the program.
·         Collection of registration fees.
·         Assignment of presentations to rooms by AO staff
·         Serve as an FTP site for text-based presentations, video presentations, etc.


 

Addendum: SIOP Mentoring program as Community of Interest

 

A significant portion of the proposed SIOP Practitioner Mentoring Program is targeted to utilize on-line resources, specifically the SIOP Practitioner wiki website that is concurrently being proposed and constructed. Although the final design of the mentoring program, as well as the vendor and software capabilities of the chosen wiki platform, will determine what mentoring program applications can be incorporated into the website, below are the elements, pages, content, etc., we envision being built into the wiki site in the short and long term.

 

Element
Title
Description
1
Title Page
Title page that lists the name, overview, description, and elements of the mentoring program. Also included will be contact information and an upcoming events page.
2
 
Virtual Mentoring
A forum for users/protégés to post practice-related questions, situations, problems, etc., that they encounter at work, to be reviewed and answered by SIOP content experts/mentors. Some questions & answers to be included in “Advice Column” articles to appear on the general wiki-site page.
3
General Mentoring Resources
This section of the website would contain general resource documents, instructions, guidelines, etc., for the mentoring program. These may include guides on how to (1) set goals and expectations in the mentoring relationship, (2) establish boundaries for the relationship, and (3) resolve conflicts. Participation rules and regulations may also be included. Assuming there will be multiple documents, this element/section of the website may contain several links to the different documents.
4
Mentor Resources
This section of the website would be accessible only to designated program mentors. It would contain multiple documents and resources to help mentors utilize the program effectively. We envision there being an on-line discussion forum for mentors to ask/answer questions, share best practice ideas, learn from each other, etc. In this section we also envision mentor-specific tools, self-paced workbooks and exercises, etc., to help them improve their mentoring abilities and skills (e.g., giving feedback; ways to best help protégés). There will also be a document outlining the role and responsibilities of the mentor within the program. Assuming there will be multiple documents, this element/section of the website may need to contain several links to the different documents.
5
Protégé Resources
This section of the website would be accessible only to designated program protégés. It would contain multiple documents and resources to help protégés utilize the program effectively. We envision there being an on-line discussion forum for protégés to ask/answer questions, share best practice ideas, learn from each other, etc. We also envision protégé-specific tools, self-paced workbooks, etc., to help them improve their abilities and skills (e.g., receiving feedback; creating development plans; building relationships). There will also be a document outlining the role and responsibilities of the protégé within the program. Assuming there will be multiple documents, this element/section of the website may need several links to the different documents.
6
Readiness Assessments
In this section we plan on including a few self-assessment tools designed to measure potential participants’ readiness to be a mentor, readiness to be a protégé, ability to give feedback and coaching, ability to receive feedback and coaching, learning styles, etc.
7
Sign-up
This section will serve as the place for potential participants to indicate their contact information, interest in participating in the program, information from their self-assessments, desired goals, etc. This information will be compiled in a database and used by program administrator(s) to help structure future mentoring events and activities.

 
Overall, we envision the above elements being housed in its own section of the wiki site, titled “SIOP Practitioner Mentoring Program.” Upon entering the wiki site, the mentoring section would be accessible via a simple button or menu prompt, which will take users to element #1 listed above (the mentoring title and intro page), whereupon users would be presented with a menu list of options corresponding to the remaining elements listed above (i.e., each element from #2 - #7 would receive its own menu listing; e.g., “Virtual Mentoring”; “General Mentoring Resources”). Thus, all information about the mentoring program would be housed within its own section of the web site, ensuring that users do not confuse it with other practitioner information or get lost in navigation mazes.
 
EB ACTION ITEMS:
 
  1. Continue to fund The Exchange. Currently this is $15/mo.  
  1. Regarding the blog, EB should think about the strategic roles served by blogging, websites (e.g., LinkedIn), wikis, paper-based media (TIP), etc. It is ECC’s contention that all outlets have a niche, but this might be better defined purposefully rather than allowed to evolve. It is likely that greater blog participation will evolve as it becomes more familiar. 
  1. Use of other web 2.0 applications, such as Twitter or Social Cast, may spread, and these applications should be reviewed relative to the Exchange and wiki. For example, there is an unofficial SIOP Facebook page – how does this address member needs or fit our marketing plan? 
  1. Preliminary investigation by ECC of wiki/content platform features has identified features and functionality that range from “need to have,” “want to have,” and “nice to have.” There are costs associated with each level of functionality. A separate ECC report will outline potential EB action more specifically.