Mark your calendar! ACPA will be launching an online community for its members on July 6th.
What is an Online Community?
Why is ACPA Getting an Online Community?
How is the Online Community Different Than Cleftserve?
What will the Online Community Look Like?
What Should I Expect When the Online Community Launches?
An online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.
ACPA’s online community will provide ACPA members a place to ask questions, connect, network, share resources and more. In addition, the community will have discussion forums, member profiles, resource libraries, blogs, events and a member directory.
Networking: ACPA members have identified “networking” as being very important to them. However, most networking among ACPA members only takes place once a year during the annual meeting. The online community will provide members with a platform to network and continue conversations after the meeting throughout the year. In addition, there are tools built into the online community that make it easier for members to connect with others in their network.
Accessibility: Many ACPA members have expressed interest in getting more involved in the association. The online community provides ways for members to get involved in a way that is convenient for them. ACPA members are not restricted by their geographic location when participating in the online community since members can participate in the convenience of their own homes. Since members do not have to travel to use the online community, they are no additional financial costs associated with participating in the community other than having a device with internet access. The online community is available during all months of the year during all times of day. Members in different time zones or with varying schedules will not miss out because they can participate during the time that works best for them.
Goals: Members have asked for an online engagement platform for quite some time, and the online community aligns with the organization’s goals. An online community platform was discussed at length in 2012 and 2013 by Revitalization Task Force Challenge Team #5 (Communications Tools) and in 2014 by the Communications Special Committee. The online community specifically aligns with item #2 (enhance member engagement by increasing the value of membership) on the 2015-2018 ACPA Strategic Plan approved by the ACPA Board of Directors in 2015.
Expectation: ACPA members expect great products and services. In order for ACPA to continue thriving as a professional association, it is important to provide the same level of benefits that members have in other organizations.
Growth: The online community has potential for future growth with the expansion of additional communities, volunteer opportunities and more. Some ideas for future communities could be for the annual meeting, special interest groups, Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, team approval, committee collaboration, students, mentors, international members, discipline specific communities, regional communities and more.
There are many additional features the online community provides that Cleftserve is not equipped to handle. Details can be found in an article that was posted a few months ago. Highlights include: archived discussions, searching discussions, multiple ways to communicate, multiple discussions at once, digests/summaries, resource libraries and additional features (such as blogs, events, member profiles and a member directory).
Below is a screenshot of the online community when logged in as an ACPA member. As you can see, highlighted on the homepage are the latest discussions, shared files, announcements, blogs and events posted by ACPA members. There is also a section that highlights the ACPA members most active within the online community.
Around the time that the online community launches in July, ACPA members will begin receiving online community daily digest emails, which are daily summaries of all the discussions and activities that happened within the online community that day. ACPA members will be emailed directions for adjusting the frequency of those emails if desired.
When the online community launches, ACPA members will be emailed detailed directions for participating in the online community. Members will use their ACPA login to access the online community features.
If you have any questions about the online community or would like to get involved before the official launch in July, please send us an email.
1. Leelefever. (2003). What is an Online Community? Retrieved from https://www.commoncraft.com/archives/000208.html