For the past 3 years ago, Wine Country CUE has tried to realize its vision of creating a community of computer using educators in our area. What we found after a lot of trial and error is that it is tough to sustain the effort required to make this community happen. Although we had a number of successful events, we found that these "mini-conferences" took a huge toll on the members trying to make them happen.
Albert Einstein defined Insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
" With this in mind, we decided to take a new path. We plan to organize user group meetings that will be less formal than a stand and deliver presentation. Here is the proposed anatomy of a meeting:
- Opening business, agenda, additional items (10 min)
- Planned resource/good idea sharing presentation and discussion (15-20 minutes)
- Second resource/good idea sharing presentation and discussion (10-15 minutes)
- Improptu sharing added at the beginning of meeting (10-20 minutes)
- Mingling/networking/ chatting/ snacking (the rest of the time)
The idea would be to schedule one or two people to share something relevant, cool, and/or important. At the beginning of the meeting, we will see if anyone else has something to share that was not scheduled. After one or two of these "on the spot" sharing, we will have a time to just visit with each other.
Because of our geographic area, we would like to hold the first meeting in the town of Sonoma. This seems half way for just about every area we serve. We a trying to work out location with a winery. This even will be scheduled for Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm. We would have 2 other user group meetings throughout the year.
There are obviously a number of potential problems to work out. In our discussion at the end of year party, Dave Tillay brought up the need for a focus to draw people out. While this is a very logical idea, we will have to balance that with the fact that too much focus will exclude some members from finding the material relevant. We will also need to work out how we will fund these events. Will they be self-sustaining, draw on flagging affiliate funds, or rely on sponsors? Finally, it makes sense to have a theme for each meeting, so we will need to decide on some good topics.
We will be holding a virtual follow-up meeting to hammer out the details on this meeting sometime in July. We will be using Eluminate to connect with everyone that wants to attend. Eluminate is a company that has partnered with CUE in order to provide virtual meetings to members. Subscribe to this blog in order to get more information on attending our maiden voyage.