Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Online Engagement Courses for Government

The Department of Finance is considering a series of short courses on social media for the Australian Public Service ("Proposed online engagement courses for the APS", Pia Waugh, AGIMO Blog, 7 March 2013). These are to give APS the skills to engage online with and foster a more strategic strategic approach by agencies. Input and collaboration is invited from agencies and organizations. Based on experience of having run several such workshops for government and a formal university course (as well as spending the last year studying how to teach professional skills), would be to develop the courses for pure on-line delivery and use that material for the live workshops. The on-line versions of the courses could be made freely available for use, perhaps even as MOOCs.
Each course would include relevant information, resources, discussion and hands-on experience. Attendees could work through a number of hypothetical situations (including their own if they wish) and develop new skills that could be applied immediately in their agency.

Course 1: Using social media in the public service
This course would likely cover the following:
  • An introduction to social media – adapting to the changing expectations of the public, and some lessons learnt from leading case studies from around Australia.
  • Understanding online engagement – the difference between broadcast, consultation, co-development and customer service. How to determine the right approach, tone, tools and strategy for any situation.
  • Online community development – how to build a constructive and useful online community of participation with social media.
  • Professional versus personal – finding the balance for public servants. Will include best practise social media policies and management.
  • Building a public narrative – the importance of “filling the vacuum” with facts, evidence and credible sources. The imperative to be an authoritative source of knowledge in the face of myriad agendas.
  • Dealing with online conflict – how to mitigate risk, be on the front foot and tame the trolls.
  • Iterative policy – how to monitor, measure and iteratively improve your social media approach, to be able to respond quickly and effectively to new opportunities and challenges.
  • Monitoring social media (for individual users, topics, groups) – how to keep across the news in your area of interest.
  • Where to from here – support mechanisms, other training and skills development options, existing policies, precedent principles resulting from public sector engagement in Australia to date.
Course 2: Managing social media in your organisation and developing an online engagement strategy
This course would likely cover the following:
  • Existing strategies – learning from the strategies employed by leading case studies across the APS.
  • Monitoring social media – following your brand, creating notifications, identifying problem areas, how to track trends, themes and sentiment of online discussions.
  • Appropriate strategies for specific goals – the difference between broadcast, consultation, co-development/crowdsourcing and customer service, and specific strategies for each. Mapping goals to tools.
  • Managing your staff online – how to find the delicate balance between mitigating risk and encouraging the productive use of social media by your staff. Practical strategies, policies and how to deal with issues.
  • Analysis tools – how to get the most of social media data, mapping your participating communities, how to identify if you are being “gamed”.
  • Building a strategy – mapping your goals, communities, resourcing, developing appropriate success criteria.
  • The role of “apps” and mobile computing in your social media strategy. ...

From: "Proposed online engagement courses for the APS", Pia Waugh, AGIMO Blog, 7 March 2013

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