2014 has already witnessed some big changes to the TechNet-21 website, particularly in relation to the new Reviews area and changes to the layout and structure of the forum. As 2015 rapidly approaches, we are already looking into how we can further improve the website to support the needs of the online TechNet community. Below are some of the major changes and new features we are considering at the moment. I would be very interested to hear the thoughts of members on which of these initiatives can provide the most benefit, and whether there are others we have not yet considered (but ought to). Your views will be taken into account when planning for 2015 gets underway, so please take the time to share your ideas. Initiatives to simplify how to participate on the forum Post to the forum by email (listserv functionality) Members will be able to take part in forum discussions entirely by receiving and sending email, without the need to visit the website. An email alert will be sent to members whenever a new topic is posted on the forum. To respond to the new topic, members simply reply to the email. This simple feature would not be a replacement for the online forum on the website, but an additional tool for members in low-resource settings who might find this method of participation in the forum more practical. Better notification system The TechNet Digest is an email newsletter that is distributed once a week and that contains a summary of the week’s activity on the TechNet website. It is enabled by default for all members but can be disabled if required. A more powerful and flexible system might enable members to more effectively shape the communications they receive from TechNet. For example, by specifying the frequency of the alerts they receive (immediate, daily, weekly, monthly, or never), or by choosing to only receive information on the specific areas they are most interested in, for example news, jobs, etc. Full support for other languages TechNet is currently only available in English, although it does have a Translate button at the top of every page (look for the globe icon) that can be used to provide a Google translation of the page. However, this is just a rough-and-ready translation tool. We can provide support for all six UN languages on the website, enabling members to use the navigation system and account management features in their preferred language. We can also provide professional translations of all static pages (for example, the About TechNet pages). Together, these will enable TechNet to fully support non-English language projects and initiatives in future. Note that we cannot provide professional translations for user-submitted content (i.e. posts on the forum). For this we can provide a Google Translate button for on-the-fly translation. Remove moderation All activity on the forum and Reviews area is currently moderated. This is to prevent inappropriate content being published. However, the process of moderation can take up to 24 hours, and some members have expressed frustration with this. Would members prefer “self-moderation”, where any member is free to post whatever they wish, and it is the responsibility of the group to highlight and censure inappropriate content? Strengthen TechNet resources Create a Vaccine Resource Library TechNet already maintains a library of useful immunization resources, divided into the following areas: Documents Journal articles Newsletters Photos Tools Videos However, some of these resources are more comprehensive than others, and some are already a little out-of-date. A unified and comprehensive vaccine resource library, along the lines of PATH’s Vaccine Resource Library, could provide a useful resource for knowledge-sharing. While there are already some immunization libraries available online (such as PATH’s), these libraries are usually specific to that organization or initiative. A library that is holistic enough to include resources from any organization or initiative may provide greater value to those seeking information on a wide range of topics in immunization. More news TechNet provides members with a regularly updated immunization News area. However, the current system does not support the categorisation of news or sophisticated methods of presenting breaking news. This area could be expanded upon to provide members with a more comprehensive and customizable news service. Tools for job-hunters Some members have expressed a desire for TechNet to provide them with greater job-related tools. This could be achieved by adopted some of the features of websites such as LinkedIn. For example, in addition to the Jobs page (where the moderator posts all positions that are submitted) and Jobs announcements area of the forum (where members are free to post their own job advertisements), a new CVs area could be provided to enable to members to submit their CVs. These CVs could be viewed by employers, who might then contact the member through TechNet. Stimulate more discussion on the forum More moderated discussions We have had only one moderated discussion so far this year—on the GAVI Immunization Supply Chain Strategy. In which other areas and topics would members like to see more of these take place? Discussion leaders TechNet will commission subject-matter experts in particular technical areas to provide new material on their area of expertise. This material may be forum posts, blog posts, or standalone documents. The purpose of this would be to provide accessible summaries of hot topics in immunization that might be of direct use to members and also stimulate lively debate. Another area to consider is designating particular members as owner of particular forum categories. These category owners would oversee all discussions in that category, providing direction and clarity where needed.
TechNet-21 - Forum
This forum provides a place for members to ask questions, share experiences, coordinate activities, and discuss recent developments in immunization.
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