Creating a new online community can be done with just a few clicks of the mouse. But bringing a new community to life and getting its members engaged is a complete different story, and it requires care, skills and time.
ECDPM and Dgroups are partnering to pilot a series of three free webinars to learn the ins and outs of the Dgroups platform, the basics of online community building, and tips and tricks that are at the heart of online facilitation.
Last week, the first webinar in the series took place and looked at technology – with a specific focus on the Dgroups platform.
This platform is well known in the development community, with more than 700 active communities, 150,000+ active users, working in International & intergovernmental organizations, Government agencies, National and international NGOs, ICT- and knowledge focused institutes. Over 400,000 email messages are delivered each day through the Dgroups servers, and over 50% of these emails are exchanged with & within African countries.
The core and killer app of Dgroups is email. Every user can contribute to a community simply by sending email. This is the most inclusive way of participating in an online community, because everyone (or, at least, everyone who has an internet connection, even if this is only occasional) has email and there’s no learning curve. It just works.
In addition, each community on Dgroups comes also with a webspace that includes archive of discussions, members’ profiles, library of resources and other tools and functionality that the administrator can turn on and off as needed. WA-Research, the organization hosting and maintaining Dgroups, is constantly improving the platform in response to Dgroups members’ requests. Not all features, sometimes even the most simple ones, are known and used by users and administrators. So content-wise this session was about the different things groups administrators need to know about using Dgroups via email, and the (many more) things they can do with the website.
The webinar went well and was appreciated by users. We had about 20 participants. Feedback received in the post webinar survey was also positive.
The second webinar in the series will take place on 22 April 2015 and will focus on Developing and facilitating your online community. In this session you will learn where to start when launching an online community, and how to enhance members’ engagement. Registrations will open soon.