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Join us for NCDD’s first Tech Tuesday event — on WeJIT

Register today for NCDD’s inaugural “Tech Tuesday” event on Tuesday, July 16, at 3pm Eastern.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeTech Tuesday is a new initiative from NCDD focused on online technology. Many in our field are curious about how they can use online tools to support their engagement work, and many tool creators are excited to talk to this community about their innovations.

Our one-hour Tech Tuesday events will take place about once a month, and will be designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them.

Tech Tuesdays will supplement NCDD’s increasingly popular Confab Calls, which have been getting close to 100 participants each in recent months.

July 16th’s Tech Tuesday event on WeJIT will be run on GoToWebinar by Bill Takacs at Democrasoft, an NCDD org member and sponsor of NCDD Seattle. Democrasoft is a respected software development company specializing in cloud-based engagement.

Democrasoft is known for Collaborize and Collaborize Classroom, but we are fascinated by its newest tool — WeJIT.  WeJIT is Democrasoft’s unique platform for self-contained, “portable,” topic-based collaborations.

In a nutshell, anyone can instantly create a one-page website at www.mywejit.com/#! — for free! — that collects comments, votes and results, and that you can embed almost anywhere. When I first learned about WeJIT, I was struck by its simple and infinitely useful interface, which allows you to create a tiny engagement platform around a specific question in minutes, choosing first whether you want your participants to brainstorm, decide, select, debate, or prioritize.

WeJIT-screenshot2

For the techies out there, “WeJIT” is a very simple but powerful online collaboration module that is extremely portable–it can be deployed, shared, integrated or embedded into almost any third party digital platform–including blogs, websites, email, apps, and more.

For example, WeSelect allows your participants to choose from options you provide (like candidates) and to support their choice(s) with comments, while WeDiscuss provides a forum-like environment with no voting. WePrioritize allows users to drag and drop items you identify (like budget items or action steps) in order of their priorities.

I just created a WeJIT to allow us to share ideas for future Tech Tuesday events, so you can check out the tool (I used the “MyBrainstorm” tab) while letting us know what online engagement tools and questions you’d like to see addressed in the Tech Tuesday series!

NCDD members who are authors will be particularly interested in WeJIT’s capability to be embedded within e-books in order to encourage readers to engage with each other on the books’ content.

Join us on Tuesday, July 16th from 3:00 to 4:00 Eastern (noon to 1pm Pacific) for our first Tech Tuesday webinar!  Register today to ensure your spot, as space is limited.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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We always encourage a lively exchange of ideas, whether online or off. Questions? Please feel free to contact us directly.

  1. Be sure to submit your ideas for future Tech Tuesday events at http://tinyurl.com/opbdb3p, everybody!

  2. So what did you think of today’s Tech Tuesday on WeJIT? What worked for you? What can we do better next time?

    • Lauren Patterson says:

      I can see a lot of potential–mostly since it seems so easy to use. The really big drawback I foresee is not being able to download and archive quantitative results and the qualitative threads. I appreciated the webinar approach to learning about these new technologies. Thanks NCDD!

    • Were people bothered by the webinar starting a little late? I think starting a few minutes late is fine, but it’s important to have friendly chatter on the line so people know what’s going on and start feeling comfortable.

      • Courtney Breese says:

        I always appreciate when calls, webinars, meetings, etc. start and end on time. A couple minutes late to start a conference call or webinar is pretty standard, but letting everyone know you are waiting on a couple people or are preparing to get started helps. This webinar also ran a little late, if I remember correctly. It was ok for me at that time because I had flexibility, but if I had needed to log off and do something else I would have been disappointed to miss it.

  3. Do you think you could use WeJITs in your work going forward? In what ways? And what might prevent you from using WeJIT?

    • For me, the email notification situation is a problem. Users don’t know to click on the “my wejits” link and then click on the “watch” link in order to opt into notifications, so they won’t do it. I’d prefer if notifications were opt-out, or if the person who creates a WeJIT could choose whether notifications for any particular WeJIT were opt-in or opt-out. If there’s one single thing that has been a factor in NCDD’s ability to keep people engaged in an online discussion over time, it’s whether they are reminded about the discussion via email.

      • Ben Roberts says:

        I hear you, Sandy. Another problem is that the emails are all-or-nothing, rather than having an option for notification if someone responds to a post that I made personally. In a large on-line conversation, it would be easy to lose track of what is being said to whom. Thus I see WeJITs as potentially having a limit in terms of the size of the group they will serve well at this point.

      • Courtney Breese says:

        Notifications are important – I know I can tune out for a while without something reminding me that I am missing out! With people’s busy lives it is hard to stay tuned unless something is critically important to them, so having them opt-out versus opt-in would help ensure they get the message. I always find it easier for me to notice I am getting too many emails and opt-out than to remember to opt-in. I also agree with Ben that getting emails specifically related to others comments in response to yours, or comments tied to a thread you responded to, are more interesting to people. Think of it like Facebook notifications – people like to know when others have responded to their comments, statuses, etc.

  4. Robb Kushner says:

    I wanted to see the product demonstrated with relevant scenarios – to help participants imagine how it might be used.

    Too much of the time was spent talking through slides filled with bullets. It felt too much like a sales pitch.

    • Courtney Breese says:

      I think it would have been better if the slides were used at the very beginning (as needed) and then the bulk of the presentation stayed in the tool. I too prefer learning about a tool through real situations and stories of how it has worked. The presentation had some of that, which I appreciated.

  5. The webinar was great. It was good to see what the tools can do and to ask and hear answers to specific questions. I agree that it did feel a bit like a sales pitch but the info was useful.

    It might be helpful to have someone interviewing the tool representative so it might follow a more natural flow. I also look forward to comparing tools and discussions on which tools apply to specific situations.

    It might be good to also interview people that have used a tool and discuss what worked and what did not. I might be available to interview people if you need some volunteers.

  6. Jeff Conklin says:

    I appreciated the introduction to the tool, and I’ve started an experiment to learn about how we might use WeJIT to increase participant engagement and community outreach on the Delta Dialogues project (http://delta.groupaya.net).

    The slides were a mixed bag. There were a few I want to go back and review, but many were answers to questions I didn’t have yet. Something more interactive would have been more fun and interesting. The webinar could have included having the participants add comments into one or more topics in one or more of the the WeJIT tools in real time. Then we could watch Bill *do* moderation instead of talking about how it’s done.

    • Courtney Breese says:

      I like Jeff’s idea of real-time participation! I don’t know if that logistically will work for all Tech Tuesdays, but it could be really neat to see and be more hands-on!

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