Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some suggestions for ACS in 2010

The first meeting of the Canberra Branch of the Australian Computer Society for 2010 was devoted to hearing suggestions from the members. Here are some suggestions I made:
  • Make web site mobile okay: Currently the ACS home page scores less than zero out of 100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker: "This page is not mobile-friendly!". I suggest aiming for a score of 80/100 on the mobile tests for the ACS web pages. This would be a way to curb the web designers enthusiasm for putting too much stuff on the pages. It would also make the ACS look trendy, by having a web site which works on iPhones and the like. Obviously the ACS should also fix the minor accessibility problems, as indicated by an automated TAW Test. Designing web pages which work on smart phones and which meet accessibility standards, so as to comply with Australian law, is not too difficult and I teach it to the ANU students. To be fair, other IT professional bodies do not rate much better. The ACM home page scores only 1/100 on the mobile tests and only slightly better than ACS on accessibility.
  • Social networking for professionals: The ACS is using social networking for teaching online courses. This could be extended to all members, with online forums and activities. ACS should divert a significant amount of resources to this. At the national level I suggest diverting 75% of what is currently spent on publications, meetings and marketing to online interaction. There is little point in spending effort on meetings and bits of paper which few people attend or take notice of. The ACS could use a mix of the software which it already has installed for education (Mahara ) and external sites, particularly Linkedin.
  • Support for meetings: Using the online tools discussed above, I suggest we should have an online component to all meetings. When there is a branch meeting, members should be invited to discuss the topic online, before, during and after. This can also allow for more fluid and more far reaching meetings. Last year I helped Senator develop her "Public Sphere" format for events. On a smaller scale the first Bar Camp Canberra is on at ANU this Saturday. This is a sort of make it up as you go along conference, using of online resources.
  • Digital CVs: ACS education is providing "e-portfolios" for students, as do some other education providers. I suggest ACS provide certified e-portfolios for members. This would be a web page about the member's qualifications and experience, testified to by ACS. This could then be used when they apply for a job or course. The ACS is already checks and records the member's credentials.

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