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Electronic Communications Committee Goals and Progress Report Form

Committee Chair: Ted HayesUpdate: 8/28/09

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)
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 (Ongoing)

2009 progress
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:

-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.

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.

-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.

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.

  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. It is likely that paying for the wiki platform will result in improved functionality. However, this was last quoted at $50/month for non-profits such as SIOP. A viable alternative may be to have a knowledgeable ad hoc task force of SIOP members develop a “manual” or guide to wiki functions for the free platform features. 
  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?