online community building

Graphic Designer

Organization: 
Mobile Film School
VISTA Name: 
Amy Simon
Program Start: 
7/2008
Project Description: 

Graphic and layout design for all MFS website, print and media materials to increase professional look and branding of MFS name.

- Liaison between MFS and AIR interactive web designers and developers to enhance the accessibility of our current website
- Propose and implement a new, more user-friendly design for the website
- Develop methods for increasing user-interaction with our website and online resources
- Research and develop affordable streaming videos technologies to implement on website
- Research and implement a more efficient transaction processing system for online donations
- Assist in the development, beta-testing, and implementation of a customized database and business management software
- Regularly update and maintain all content on website
- Monitor our online social networking participation
- Help improve and develop our internet presence

Project Outcome: 

Amy was the photographer and photo design editor for the Bowl-A-Roma fundraising event, the Bob Bullock Video project, and the Luling documentary workshop

Amy did the graphic layout and design for all business materials, workshops and events, including flyers, postcards, promo packets, program materials, business cards, manuals, proposals, signs, newsletters, and brochures.

Amy also did website design and development; she created page layouts and templates, icons, titles, drop down menus, picture galleries, and content.

Miro in My Community Project Developer

VISTA Name: 
Anne Jonas
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

Miro in My Community (MMC) will create a series of community-based video hubs to connect local creators, public access stations, and the community of viewers. With these new hubs and the relationships that they form, vibrant local communities of video can flourish. Quite simply, we can create an active, citizen-driven, online television world for individual cities and towns.

A VISTA member could be instrumental in advancing this project. We need an individual who is both technically aware (though not necessarily a programmer) and interested in community building. The VISTA member will lead outreach to local access and public television stations in Massachusetts and around the country. The member will help us develop and deploy training manuals and will work with partner organizations to run training session for local participants.

Goal: To successfully roll out Miro Local TV in communities around Massachusetts and the US, by engaging with partner organizations and creating materials and workshops.

Project Outcome: 

Anne has been invaluable to PCF and has helped us grow as an organization. She, with support from myself as well as Nick Reville, has taken Miro Community from an early-stage project to a fully-fledged platform that is serving many communities.

Anne is beginning to work on making Miro Community a self-sustaining pillar in PCF’s arsenal. She has began to develop a userbase that will support the project with monthly fees and/or contracts.

Anne has started work on a miro community site that aggregates feminist video content from all over the web. It has began taking a life of its own and has been written up on feminist blogs and in Bitch Magazine.

We have a major piece of infrastructure up and running Thanks to Annie in her second year with PCF — our project, Miro Community, has matured and been picked up by organizations like Stanford, the Ford Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and many others. She has taken the lead on project management and partnership development, which has helped cement Miro Community as one of PCF’s three major pieces of open source software.

Impact Quote: 

Anne has surpassed our expectations in pretty much every way possible.”

- Dean Jansen, supervisor

Online Community Manager

VISTA Name: 
Donna Choi
Program Start: 
7/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

This project will strengthen both our capacity to deliver services to our member organizations and simultaneously encourage them to share knowledge and best practices among themselves by connecting them, encouraging collaboration, and disseminating content and analyses through social media tools and technologies. The VISTA staffer will further develop our social networking capabilities, broadening and deepening our engagement with people through these interfaces. They are absolutely crucial to keep the organization lively and useful, and draw new members in. Social media is rapidly becoming a core demand that people want and need as part of a membership of a national network that seeks to bring organizations together.

1. Manage and contribute to the 2009-10 Technology Infrastructure plan, which will continue to build the capacity of our members’ to connect and work with each other more fully.
2. Work in collaboration with program staff to create new content and interactive areas of the NAMAC website; edit and post web content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant; maintain the website and its technical needs.
3. Work with staff to set a social media strategy, and build out NAMAC’s capacity to reach members and the public through social media tools.
4. Work with NAMAC staff to pilot a series of webinars on the use of social media tools.
5. Expand and publish NAMAC’s web-based toolkits and guides to build capacity of our members’ organizations.
6. Work with staff to engage and reach out to members by communicating with them regularly through social media platforms; and develop metrics for NAMAC-based website and social networking usage.

Project Outcome: 

Donna completed several significant web-based graphic design and technical projects during her assignment with NAMAC. She has significantly built the capacity of NAMAC’s online interactivity and resource-sharing to reach and assist members and the public around the country and globally.

Donna’s primary focus has been on developing the interactivity of the NAMAC website, in particular the Idea Exchange. This entails identifying which actions/networks are key for building our online presence and in building strong relationships with a team of bloggers who represent a cross-section of our online community, in terms of region, discipline, generation, and other important demographic criteria.

We have received increased traffic to our website, and conduct most of our membership business via the website: from conference and event registration to promotion and marketing, to resource-sharing, news and analysis across the field. The new look and architecture that Donna instituted has branded NAMAC as a leading web presence and has integrated well with our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube social media platforms.

Impact Quote: 

Not only did Donna meet our goal to redesign the website look, but she exceeded it. She gave the site a look that is striking and refined, and easy to work with by any new OCM. She worked out Drupal bugs, and brought Drupal developers in as consultants to upgrade the site to the current Drupal iteration. She interfaced with them throughout the changeover process. - Jack Walsh, VISTA Supervisor

Online Community Network Implementation

VISTA Name: 
Ed Driscoll
Program Start: 
7/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

The CTC VISTA member will contribute to the many tasks involved in the full launching of the cristinanetwork.org on-line social network. This includes identification of needs and location of appropriate resources, development of appropriate tools for partners as determined by feedback from partner members, monitoring of various forum discussions and overall assisting with the efficient and effective launching and growth of the cristinanetwork.org.

Goal 1: Support the successful launch and integration/development of crisstinanetwork.org

Project Outcome: 

Ed was responsible for developing and delivering web based orientation training to many of our 2,000 plus partner organization in an effort to transition them into the new Cristina Network. This represented a significant shift in the Foundation’s first 25 years of operation and places a great deal more responsibility on the individual partner organizations. Consultations with partners was required to provide them with the information required to transition into the new system. Concurrent to the transition, it was important to maintain the day to day functioning of the Foundation so as not to lose the many partners who had been working with us throughout our history. To achieve this objective, we had to modify, or streamline our current operational model to maintain effectiveness. Ed was involved in all aspects of this process as he worked in close collaboration with the CEO of the organization, Dr. Bud Rizer.

Ed was keenly involved in our project with the Wharton school. In order for the Community Consultants to fully analyze our program they had to become familiar with all of our processes and operations. Ed was central in providing this information via webinar, phone, and through personal contacts.

Online Community Manager

VISTA Name: 
Rachel Allen
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will layout the foundation for a strong and robust social media network, where NAMAC can model behaviors and techniques, and then, in turn teach them to NAMAC’s membership. The Corps member would be able to help create the social media plan, implement and refine it, and develop it further through the duration of service. The overreaching goal is to connect real people to people, and to develop long-lasting professional relationships that can enhance the capabilities of NAMAC’s nonprofit members.

Research and Technology VISTA

Organization: 
Prometheus Radio Project
VISTA Name: 
Katie Ingersoll
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The VISTA will assist Prometheus Radio Project in researching and evaluating data to better understand the current regulatory landscape in the world of community radio.

First, the VISTA will survey stations and review FCC data to create a “snapshot” of the regulatory landscape for community radio in 2011. Issues addressed may include encroachment from full power stations, interference from digital radio signals, anticipated new eligibility requirements for low power stations, and the impact of rule changes surrounding the relative priority of low power stations and translators. The snapshot will inform out advocacy, helping us to prioritize our efforts and support our statements to the FCC. Documents produced by the VISTA will be made available to other media justice organizations, to better inform their work in field of public media and technology.

Second, the VISTA will launch a new effort to involve stations in their own regulatory advocacy by developing and promoting an “FCC Comment Tool” and related resources, such as a guide to FCC participation and an online forum on regulatory advocacy. Together, these efforts will support an informed and active community radio sector.

CTEP VISTA Leader

VISTA Name: 
Roxanne Johnson
Program Start: 
9/2005
Program End: 
9/2006
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps VISTA (Leader) for C-CAN will provide support for our current CTEP AmeriCorps members, helping to develop and coordinate youth media literacy and production projects at the local CTCs currently in our CTEP AmeriCorps program.

The CTEP project serves over 20 CTCs with our 25 full-time AmeriCorps members, and all of these host sites serve low income and new immigrant youth. Media programming is in high demand, and the CTCNet VISTA member will be charged with developing specific trainings and workshops for CTEP Members and CTC staff.

CTCnet VISTA position will work closely with former CTCNet VISTA Jeff Streier, on website, newsletter and other e-media materials that support the work of CTEP AmeriCorps members.

The Member’s work will also include helping to create partnerships with other local youth media organizations as well, and work to develop partership opportunties between our CTC community and the media arts community in the Twin Cities.

Project Outcome: 

Roxanne helped plan and deliver the member acceptance letters, handbook, and Pre-Service Orientation. She has answered many questions from the members on many topics related to their service, thus setting them up to accomplish our mission. This includes 6 one-on-one, more in depth check ins with members, one regarding youth media. She has helped plan and facilitate Corps Days where AmeriCorps Members participate in formal and informal training, speakers, workshops, field trips, etc. She has prepared and delivered media literacy training with 2 AmeriCorps CTEP members for the statewide MLK Day AmeriCorps conference. She and two AmeriCorps CTEP members prepared and delivered a technology literacy workshop for the All VISTA Conference (which she also helped coordinate with MN VISTA Leaders). She has also moderated our online message board, created her own blog and encouraged member blogging. Finally, she has been the advisor to two CTEP member committees, media and communications.

Roxanne has contributed to the ability of three CTEP sites to move beyond the “tech center as babysitter” mentality by assisting them to use technology resources to give youth a voice via digital media. At SPNN, she has lent her media literacy mentoring to the youth department where teens are creating a TV program for a teen audience. At the YWCA, she and Ken nelson provided a video submission opportunity to the staff and youth, and provided them with the curriculum, which allowed the youth to complete a video to submit. At Intermedia Arts, she has assisted in the identification and securing of hardware and software to implement a digital media center, and complimented this with assisting in the curriculum development and program planning.

Online Community Manager

VISTA Name: 
Dina Vecchiarelli
Program Start: 
9/2006
Program End: 
1/2007
Project Outcome: 

The Youth Media Institute and Electronic Community have had a very succesful six months, in no small part thanks to our two VISTAs, Colleen and Dina. Dina’s technical expertise was critical in determining what type of content management system to use in creating the beta site for Project: Think Different’s Electronic Community. In addition to driving the design of the site and the management of the forums and other features, Dina was active in training other staff members, including the Media Watch Team in using the site, so that they could share their expertise with other users and actively participate in the online community.

'DigitalBicycle' Online Communities Developer

VISTA Name: 
Peter Bull
Program Start: 
9/2004
Program End: 
9/2005
Project Description: 

Peter Bull began his term of service at LTC in September 2004, and served for one year as LTC’s Online Communities Developer. In this role he led the development of the DigitalBicycle, a collaborative project sponsored by LTC and other partners including the CTC VISTA project.

Project Outcome: 

Peter oversaw and directly implemented numerous aspects of the “DigitalBicycle” project, primarily focusing on developing a Drupal-based centralized web community that leverages the power of the distributed network but provides for efficient and usable group collaboration. This included planning the framework and workflow of the site, the setup and administration of the server, development and implementation of the code that powers the system, and preparation for the future expansion of the project as it moves from a beta project to having a working user base. In addition to developing the core web system, Peter worked with outside volunteers to develop the specification for a desktop publishing application called “Sprocket” and managed its development by outside programmers. Furthermore, Peter has spec’d out and begun development on a Linux-based client-side system, “KickStand”, which handles the automatic seeding and downloading of specified material and is designed to be used by participating organizations.

Impact Quote: 

The fact of the matter is that the CTC VISTA program is directly responsible for where we are today with this project, ready to build capacity for organizations around the country. To get to this point we needed the full-time attention of a highly skilled programmer interested in working in a community-service setting. Not only would we have not been able to recruit someone at this level for this position without the CTC VISTA program, but in our current, pre-income generating phase we never would have been able to hire them. I have long felt that one of the primary strengths of the CTC VISTA program is how it empowers both the organization and the individual volunteer. The individual gains the opportunity to engage full-time on a project that is primed for growth but for which they might never be hired in a normal full-time capacity. The organization gains the opportunity to devote energies that might not otherwise be budgetable and if successful, build its own capacity to a point that it is able to hire an individual to continue the work started under the VISTA project. We are happy to report that this is exactly what happened at LTC.
Though we had high expectations when we were developing our work plan last year and recruiting a VISTA to accomplish it, Peter exceeded our expectations in every regard. While some of this was due to his accomplished background and well-developed skill set, it is mainly due to the fact that Peter worked extraordinarily hard and was as committed to this project as anyone could possibly be. Peter took the idea of 24-hour service quite seriously, working long hours at LTC and often late nights at home. Though frequently traveling on behalf of LTC he has established systems allowing him to continue development anywhere with a network connection. Beyond that, he’s been known to write code by hand on a legal pad when other options are not available. Peter has proven himself as an excellent VISTA and we anticipate that he will do the same as a VISTA supervisor this next year. We are extremely appreciative of Peter’s hard work and of the CTC VISTA project for providing us with the opportunity to grow our capacity so greatly in the past year. The CTC VISTA project is truly our most valuable partner in the DigitalBicycle collaboration and we will work to recognize it as such online and in person.

Transmission Project