As of today, new features and a new look for the IDeA Communities of Practice (CoP) platform. This is the first major new release for over 12 months, and brings a number of usability enhancements to the platform, which is provided as a free resource to staff working on local government throughout the UK.
New features include:
- a more compact and cleaner design for the Welcome page which now includes: (i) service and general information announcements, (ii)details of most active communities and (iii) details of new communities, (iii) details of featured/special communities.
- a “tag cloud” for quickly finding content and communities by keyword.
- the MyHome page has been changed from green to blue to ensure consistency with any personalised content pages (My Profile My Blogs, My Alerts, My Messages, My Contacts etc.)
- finding an existing Community of Practice has been made simpler by the addition of an A-Z index and tag cloud to the ‘Communities’ webpage.
- the Help facilities have been improved to ensure users can make the most of all the various features on the website.
- a new on-line process for setting-up communities enabling faster turnaround.
- the addition of ‘themes’ for Forum threads and Library files, enabling a blended approach between taxonomy and tags for organising content
- the Forum section now allows for ‘sticky’ discussion threads, where a topic can be marked to remain at or near the top of the list of topics.
- a facility for closing threads, for example where a discussion must be time-limited.
This release is the first of 3 major upgrades being planned between now and early 2009. Watch this space for further announcements, or better still, go the the CoP platform and start connecting, collaborating and innovating!BackgroundThe community of practice platform was launched in December 2007 as part of an initiative to encourage collaboration and more effective knowledge sharing between local councils. The anticipated benefits which are now being realise are better/more efficient public services and greater opportunities for innovation and co-production. It currently supports over 18,000 users and more than 550 separate online communities, working on a range of initiatives from climate change to preventing violent extremism. The platform supports a range of social networking and social media tools.