Worksheet 2.3: Community Characteristics

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LIFECYCLE: Where is your community with respect to its stage of maturity?

‚    Just forming: we need basic tools to connect as a community
‚    Self-designing: we have a strong sense of what we want to accomplish as a community of practice but haven’t got there yet
‚    Growing and restless: we have some accomplishments behind us and are ready to try something new with the community
‚    Stable and adaptive: we are satisfied with what we are doing now but willing to try new ideas if they provide benefits

CONSTITUTION: How Diverse is your Community?

What are the different types of members and what are their levels of participation in the community?

How spread apart is the community in terms of location and time zones?

No Spread Widespread
                   1 2    3       4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

What language(s) do members speak?

Single Language Multiple Languages
                            1 2 3 4 5


Comments:

 

 

 

How would you rank gender, age, or other cultural diversity among the community membership?

Low Diversity High Diversity
                            1 2 3 4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

How connected is your community to other communities?

How much do you want to control boundaries of the community?  Do you want the community interactions:

  • To be private and secure?
  • To be open and shared widely?
  • For some to be private and some to be public?

Do you need ICT tools or platforms in common with other communities?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Does your community have (or need) support for ICT use from an oversight organization or government department?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Based on the answers to the last three questions, how would you rank your community in terms of its level of independence when choosing ICT tools/platforms:

Independent Dependent on others
1 2 3 4 5

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Add up the score from the rankings in the CONSITUTION section:  ______________

 

Score of 15-20 suggests a community with high level of diversity and dependence within an organizational context or tight linkages to other communities.  The choice of ICT will need to strike a balance between accommodating different user needs and preferences, while providing the ability to integrate with other ICT tools and platforms.

 

Score of 5-10 suggests a community that has a low level of diversity and is relatively independent of organizational context with few or no dependence on other communities.  The choice of ICT is flexible but will need to find consensus within the community to arrive at an optimal solution.  However, future integration with other communities and ICT systems may be problematic.

 

Score of 10-15 is in the middle range and suggest the need to choose ICT tool/platform that provides some flexibility for community members and is capable of integration with other systems.

 

ASPIRATIONS: What are your community’s ICT interests and skills?

How interested are your community members in using or trying ICT tools and platforms?

Not Interested Very Interested
1 2 3 4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

What is their capacity for learning new ICT tools and practices?

Low Capacity High Capacity
1 2 3 4 5

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What is the average current level of ICT-related skills among community members?

Novice Users Expert Users
1 2 3 4 5

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Is there a probability of conflict in the community when introducing new ICT practices?

Low Probability High Probability
1 2 3 4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

How many ICT barriers are members willing to cross to use a new ICT platform? (e.g., need to create new accounts and passwords, need to download new apps)

Unwilling Very Willing
1 2 3 4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

 

Add up the score from the rankings in the ASPIRATIONS section:  ______________

 

Score of 18-25 suggests a community with a high level of tolerance for experimentation with new ICT choices; however, with this enthusiasm comes strong opinions that could lead to potential conflict. The choice of ICT can be ambitious but the Tech Steward will want to provide lots of opportunities for constructive feedback from community members during the campaign to help diffuse points of conflict.

 

Score of 5-12 suggests a community that has a low level of tolerance for experimentation with new ICT choices.  The choice of ICT should be modest and address an immediate need for the community. The Tech Steward should start with a short and simple campaign using existing ICT as a way of introducing community members to a new practice. If the potential for conflict is high, the Tech Steward will want to provide lots of opportunities for constructive feedback from community members during and after the campaign to help diffuse points of conflict.

 

Score of 12-18 is in the middle range and suggest a community that is willing to experiment with modest new ICT choices. The Tech Steward should start with a short and simple campaign but look for opportunities to introduce more advanced practices if the community members seem interested. Be careful not to overwhelm community members by making too many demands on their practice. Be aware of potential points of conflict within the community and work to mitigate them by providing members with opportunities to provide feedback and voice concerns. 

 

ACCESS: What are your community’s technological constraints?

What ICT devices do members have access to on a regular basis?

  • ‚   Basic mobile phone
  • ‚   Smartphone
  • ‚   Tablet computer
  • ‚   Desktop computer with Internet
  • ‚   Desktop computer without Internet
  • ‚   Laptop computer with internet
  • ‚   Laptop computer without internet
  • ‚   Telecentre or cybercafé with computers and Internet
  • ‚   Radio
  • ‚   TV
  • ‚  Other: ____________________
  • ‚   Other: ____________________
  • ‚   Other: ____________________

 

What level of internet access is available to most members of the community?

No Internet Always Available
1 2 3 4 5

Comments:

 

 

 

What financial constraints might affect ICT use by community members? Do they use pre-paid accounts for their ICT devices and/or Internet access?  Do they share or pool resources to pay for internet service?

 

 

 

 

How much time/when are most members able to be online and using ICT?

  • Never
  • Once a week
  • Several times a week
  • Daily
  • Anytime/always

The Tech Steward should help the community to choose ICT tools/platforms that are suited to the local access conditions and constraints. Consider these elements when designing the campaign and the campaign evaluation plan. Consider the cost implications of using the ICT tool. Consider how the ICT tool and internet access fits into the daily routine of the community members.

 

 

 

Check the boxes in the diagram below to create a profile of your community of practice.