Monday, April 18, 2005

On Line Learning and Collaboration Forum

Today is the first day of the Tech Soup forum on Online Learning and Collaboration. I'm a co-host. However, I'm really just a rookie. I've been using a variety of tech tools, such as this blog, to reach out to people interested in helping kids move from poverty to careers. I don't have a lot of time, or a lot of tech skills, so I depend on volunteers to help.

I've found many volunteers via the Internet. For instance, this blog page was set up for me by a volunteer who contacted me a couple of years ago about helping. During the forum I'm hoping a few other T/MC volunteers will come forward and talk about how we've connected via the Internet, and how our collective work is intended to help more programs connect workplace volunteers with inner city kids.

One of my beliefs is that the Internet can be a meeting place and it ultimately should serve as a proposal for anyone to review to understand what an organization does, why they are needed, and how someone can help. All you need to do is find a way, via a web site, a blog, or some other tool, to create a place where you can share your vision.

We've had more than 100,000 visitors to our web site. Most have been people looking for help in starting or sustaining a program, or looking for a place where they can volunteer or enroll a youth in a program. Our hope is that donors will also find the site and then decide how, or how much, they want to help. This is happening, but happening slowly.

Last Friday a donor called and we had a nice conversation. Maybe that will lead to a partnership. At least its a start.

I think others can duplicate this strategy for building an on-line community. I think forums like Tech Soup can connect us, and share ideas that any of us can use. During the week I'll share some of my impressions as I learn more how to share my own experiences via this type of event.

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