How Do You Connect Your Community Between Meetings?

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) hosts quarterly meetings for its national Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT), a group of business leaders that provide guidance on IT curriculum. While the meetings feature lively discussions and multiple perspectives that greatly benefit faculty attendees and help keep IT programs on the cutting edge, the BILT community typically goes dark until the next meeting.

About a year ago, one BILT member wondered if there was a way to create some sort of online forum that the group could use between meetings. The purpose was to start a dialogue about current and future IT trends educators need to know about, which would connect with the in-person discussions of trends that happen at every meeting. If done properly, however, the online forum wouldn’t have to be limited to just kick-starting meeting content.

A faculty member proposed a Reddit-style format where suggestions and ideas could be voted on by everyone else to help measure popularity and interest. After much research, the National CTC presented to the BILT a free polling tool called Tricider. It’s not exactly Reddit, but it allows users to comment and vote on each other’s answers.

Here’s a recent example from a now-closed Tricider poll asking BILT members What’s the one practical, essential thing about professionalism or teamwork you’d like to tell every IT student?

BILT members decided early on that anyone should feel free to respond to a Tricider question so long as he/she made clear who was giving the response. That is, anonymous responses are discouraged so the community can see which answer is from a business perspective and which answer is from an educator perspective.

The BILT was slow to adopt Tricider. At first, the National CTC only proposed Tricider questions in conjunction with the quarterly meetings.  For example, the group was asked before the meeting what they’d like to discuss at the meeting, then asked right after the meeting what was the most beneficial part of the meeting.  The responses were rather meager.  Starting last fall, the National CTC decided to post Tricider polls every month to see if a higher frequency might energize the community and make responding to the polls more of a habit.  Further, at the request of the BILT chair, starting last December the National CTC started sending more frequent Tricider reminders.  The National CTC has also started integrating Tricider poll responses into the quarterly meetings to keep the awareness level high.

Since making these changes, the Tricider engagement level has started to climb. The January 2018 Tricider question has gotten the most engagement of any question.

If you’re looking for a novel way to connect your group and create an online, asynchronous conversation, you may want to consider a tool like Tricider.

 

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