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Published October 30, 2006 | Multidisciplinary

A greeting hall, a place to gather and exchange: APOP’s 2007 e-conference website of the community of shared practice

The community of shared practice is a space where members can discuss matters of common interest. This virtual environment has been created to host the E-Conference’s activities and to give its users the opportunity to exchange information on a subject of professional interest: the pedagogical integration of IT.

All registered participants can access the website of the community of shared practice. With the information they can find on this site, they will be able to fully appreciate their E-Conference experience. The website offers many information sharing functionalities: message posting, retroactive comments, event posting, document sharing, the possibility to communicate with members of the community and give feedbacks, etc. The general idea behind the creation of the website of the community of shared practice is to support the development of a dynamic gathering and sharing environment that stimulates participants before , during and after the event takes place.

Register… and access the website!

Users (participants, presenters and moderators of the E-Conference) can access the website of the community of shared practice with an Internet.

Once registered, the participant can access the site with its username and password, which are attributed by the E-Conference’s planning team. The participant’s profile is automatically validated as soon as the registration process is completed. Since the community of shared practice is private, a username and password are absolutely necessary to become a member.

The participant can update his profile but cannot change his password; his profile is created according to the information that figures on his registration form. This information can be updated anytime.

On the registration form, the participant may choose his “preferred language of communication‿ to specify in which language he would like to use the site. This information is registered in the participant’s profile and can be modified. The elements of the interface (titles, buttons, tabs and other menus) are available in French and English. The content of each section stays identical whatever the chosen language is. Thus, it is possible to check out all information and messages written by members of the planning team or by any participant without ever having to browse from the English to the French version ( and vice versa) of the website. The general access to information in both languages on the same interface broadens the communication network.

E-Conference website

APOP’s 2007 E-Conference website of the community of shared practice was built just like why groupwares are built: to support group work.

The environment may be used by several participants simultaneously if they wish to work on the same project. It allows a work process to shape up based on relationships between members of a community and this community can eventually transform itself to become a real network.

Each and every user can add information (documents, messages, files, events) that is likely to interest the whole community or subgroups that were created in the community.

Once he has accessed the website of the community of shared practice, the participant can interact in many sections: browse in the message section, the document section, the event section, express his opinion in the poll section and update his profile. The participant can also consult the program section, hypertext links, the E-Conference’s partners’ website and many other resources (links to organisms dedicated to the integration of IT, content and service providers, etc.).

Post messages… benefit from feedbacks!

One of the most interesting functionality of the community of shared practice is the communication section. This section takes up a lot of space on the home page and it allows users to communicate by using the messaging functionalities that are very similar to the ones used in a blog.

The user has access to the latest messages. Messages are classified according to various categories. For example, there are categories such as the E-Conference’s themes, the functionalities of the software VIA, the familiarization methods to a telecommunications environment, etc. Messages can either be posted for the whole community or only forwarded to specific members.

The possibility to add comments will obviously enrich the exchanges between subgroups of the community (e.g: the participants of an interactive workshop). By adding a comment to a message, the discussion becomes richer, problem solving might be facilitated and debates become more interesting. It is also possible to find messages on specific issues by using keywords in the search bar.

In this way, working subgroups could use the functionalities of the website of the community of shared practice to continue to exchange, discuss and work together after the event.

Share documents, resources, information, consult the calendar of events… and react!

Users can consult documents on the website that other participants, presenters or administrators of the community have decided to share. During the weeks prior to the event, presenters can upload documents or files for their presentations and participants can consult them to better prepare for workshops.

The calendar of events is meant to promote various events before, during and after the E-Conference. For instance, such information as the promotion of the event, the key moments of its realization, the calendar of the familiarization sessions, the calendar of the sessions in « Replay mode », the program of the Pre-Conference and activities that will take place after the E-Conference are all information you can find on the calendar of events.

The poll tool allows collecting information regarding the appreciation of daily operations and of activities surrounding the E-Conference. It also allows the administrators to get feedback from the participants concerning various subjects and it makes the participant’s visit more pleasant. Participants can answer each poll only once. The results of the polls can be checked out anytime in the archives section of the poll.

Hypertext links guide participants toward websites that are recommended by APOP. Hypertext links can be found throughout the site and in various categories: pedagogical and technological subjects, teachers’ websites and the activities of the E-Conference (APOP celebrates 25 years, BOY Cyber Fest, self-service activities, the E-Conference planning team, Exhibition of digital works in Visual Arts).

The partners’ section also proposes hypertext links that guides participants toward specific websites (Exhibitors’ Fair, IT Partners’ Showroom, etc.).

In the member section, it is possible to consult the list of all the members of the community of shared practice. The names of participants are listed in alphabetical order. By clicking on a name, you can access the information of the participant’s profile. The participant can choose to make his e-mail address available or not to others by selecting the right option while editing his profile.

The website of the community of shared practice is the platform from which participants can access all the information they need in order to participate to the E-Conference. They can also find on the community a direct link toward the platform VIA from which they can access the conferences, presentations and the interactive workshops they chose as well as all the other activities of the E-Conference.

In the program section, participants can find various indexes, the schedule of the E-Conference, the schedule of the Pre-Conference and his personalized program. All information concerning the familiarization sessions will also be available in this section.

The calendar of familiarization sessions, offered free of charge to all participants, is regularly updated in the program section where you can find the modalities of access to these sessions. Tools to guide participants in the use of this new communications environment (leaflet in digital mode, .ppt file, printable format, .pdf file) can be downloaded to help the participant to familiarize himself to VIA’s interface.

Finally, if participating in the E-Conference seems to be a stimulating experience, participating in the community of shared practice is definitely a milestone of this innovative event.

Let’s meet in the community of shared practice!

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