Webmaker community calls 2.0: focusing on mentors

Four steps for rescuing a stalled brainstorm

TLDR: this post makes a proposal to fundamentally re-design how we run our Webmaker community calls. Currently, Webmaker calls are a mix of both cross-team co-ordination and community celebration. Our proposal is to separate those out into two separate calls, to be more intentional and effective about both. Specific recommendations:

  1. Focus Webmaker community calls on the mentor community. Use the calls to engage, celebrate and empower mentors and the educational community.
  2. Make attendance optional. Just like any other community call.
  3. Create a new call focused solely on cross-team co-ordination. The Foundation has grown to include several distinct teams. We need to co-ordinate between these silos effectively, and figure out the role we want regular conference to play in that. Let’s increase the frequency of staff calls or create some new format to do this. Details TBD, lead by Angela.

Hive Athens

Webmaker Community Calls 2.0: focusing on the mentor community

  • Let’s be more specific about audience and objective. Great community calls start from a well-defined audience with a specific itch to scratch. OpenNews and OpenBadges community calls are effective because they serve a well-defined niche with obvious value to seek and share. Let’s do the same with mentors and the educational community gathering around Webmaker.
  • This is an obvious source of value to tap. Rolling the energy and success of our Teach the Web course, for example, into a regular, on-going forum.
  • The goal: share success stories and best practices for teaching web literacy and creative tech. With tightly packaged success stories and case studies from the field for us to model and learn from.

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Design recommendations

  • Make the calls 45 minutes long, maximum. To keep energy levels high.
  • Hold them every other week. To ensure quality content and demand.
  • Run them jointly between the Mentor Team and Communications. OpenMatt volunteers to help design and produce the calls, working jointly between Communications and the Mentor Team.
  • Focus on success stories, demos, and new things our community are making and learning. Ensure that community voices lead. These should be an opportunity for educators to learn from other educators.
  • Great calls require great producing and pacing. Ensure a tightly paced format that delivers high value and rewards people’s time investment.

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Creating a new call for cross-team co-ordination

  • We need to co-ordinate effectively across teams. There seemed to be clear consensus about this at our All Hands. The current Tuesday calls don’t do that. So let’s solve that.
  • We can start with the topics we’ve already brainstormed together. At last week’s All Hands, we brainstormed many topics we want to address as a team that we didn’t have time to cover. These were captured in post-it note form on the wall — those seem like an obvious place to start. Let’s create a regular forum for discussing and working on them together.
  • Angela will lead this process. Gathering input and direction from the group.
  • Let’s find ways to keep the parts of the Tuesday calls that were working. Three elements in particular were valuable from a communications point of view:
    • 1) the Webmaker “hotlist.” This was popular and generating great metrics in our social media channels.
    • 2) the tweet-length status updates. These have also been an effective way to let people know about how they can get involved each week. We can make the process and product better, but let’s not ditch this.
    • 3) the etherpad calendar. This was a simple but effective way to see what’s upcoming on everyone’s radar.

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