Wednesday Buzz: Use MOOCs to Build Community

Encourage your members to hang out with other members when they dive into your online courses. Also: why you should consider inviting groups unfavorable to your industry to your next meeting.

Does your association provide massive open online courses (MOOCs) or virtual continuing education courses to members? Perhaps you should suggest that your members do their learning together.

Taking an online class can be solitary experience. But Lifehacker notes that online courses can be turned into group activity. “I say meet up with a couple of friends instead and turn one of these courses into something that feels like a real classroom,” recommends Patrick Allan.

Keep participants engaged by facilitating group get-togethers, classrooms, or study sessions. A group setting may make it easier for your members to learn from the material, ask questions, and talk about ideas. “Almost every online course has a forum or some place you can chat with other students, but it’s not the same as having an open debate in person,” writes Allan.

Also consider that a group setting helps hold people accountable. “There’s a lot more pressure to follow through when you’re working with real people and not some screen names on the online course’s forum,” Allan says.

Bringing Enemies Close

Your members and professionals friendly to your field are top of mind when you’re designing your annual meeting. But if your conference has an advocacy component, you may want to invite groups that are typically on the other side of your policy issues.

“Regulators, industry influencers, policymakers, local governmental officials, watchdog groups, and activist groups are all potential players in your next event experience,” writes Don Neal in a recent 360 Live Media post.

He suggests offering your typical opponents “access to key executives, industry suppliers, and customers of your industry for a series of candid Q&A sessions that opens a new dialogue.”

Other Links of Note

There’s an association to appreciate even the smallest creatures. To celebrate Guinea Pig Appreciation Day on July 16, the American Pet Products Association is sharing housing and nutrition information for guinea pig owners.

Being a top-notch online community manager doesn’t require you to be an extrovert. The Higher Logic blogs shares advice to help introverts build communities.

The Traackr blog interviews a social media marketing pro about making influencer marketing more authentic.


Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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