Community choice toolkit


This list of criteria is designed to help with decisions about community learning platforms. The criteria are intended to help structure the review process and it will be that for some users different criteria have a different level of importance.

The table was developed from a diagram that Richard at Ultralab produced and through conversations with Tom Smith, but they may well take issue with much of it.

  • Ease of server setup – consider resource implications and level of technical ability
  • Ease of server maintenance – consider resource implications and level of technical ability
  • Degree of software adaptability – the more adaptable the better the potential solution, but resource and technical ability implications can be considerable
  • Ease of system administration – the scale of the project is particularly important when tasks such as account creation, password resets, setting permissions, etc. need to be undertaken
  • Navigation – the ability to find objects and virtual spaces
  • Linking with others – identifying groups/individuals to communicate with
  • Empowerment – that is tools for all users to create groups, discourse, and other media
  • Privileges – to allow smaller audiences for risk taking and building trust
  • Identity – clarity (when appropriate) about who individuals are in the communities
  • Private space – to draft and redraft, store, and upload work
  • Discourse variety – Q&A, brainstorm, conversation, debate, time limited
  • Support – is there a service available? Is it online or phone? What if anything does it cost?
  • Software development – are you investing time, money, and effort in a developing product or one that is ageing fast?
  • 3 thoughts on “Community choice toolkit

    1. Nancy White

      This is a great list, Stephen, and echoes some of the stuff we are pondering for an updated tech report for communities of practice.

      As I look at the bullets, I can see how many of them might apply at both the sysop and the user level. Do you have any thinking you might share about this?

    2. Stephen Powell

      Sysop – being a techy guy. I think there might be three levels here, the sysop, the user, and also the level that folk like you and I work at. When I drew up the list it was to help ‘consultancy type’ decisions, but following on from your post it strikes me that a process involving all three categories would enhance the decision making process a promote some real understanding of what is possible and might work.

      So easy to work in a ‘silo’, thanks for the idea Nancy.

    3. Nancy White

      It’s funny. Working now with John Smith and Alasdair Honeyman on a presentation in 10 days at the Infornotics VC Conference on the role of improvisation in distributed CoPs. We have been thinking “three hats” — the designer, the facilitator and the member. Obviously some wear more than one hat. I had not thought of the middle hat as consultant, but that’s one too.

      The idea we are trying to juice up is that it would be nice if all three hats had the chance to shape the system at some point/level.


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