Section contributed by Chris Mills, Opera Software ASA
A coordinated outreach and communications plan is required to make all interested parties aware of the OWEA's mission, and the resources it will make available. This plan is focused on the following areas:
- Audience: The target audience groups we intend to reach
- Method: The methods of outreach required to reach our target audience
- Message: Key messages to communicate to our target audience
- Feedback: Feedback mechanisms required to address response from our target audience
Although the direct implementation of curriculum is largely centered around educational institutions, the target audience for OWEA outreach covers many more groups that will all help contribute to both greater awareness of the OWEA in general, and wider visibility of the curriculum and web standards in general. These target audiences are broken down as follows.
|University||Educators teaching at university|
|College||Educators teaching at colleges|
|School||Educators teaching at secondary schools - high school down to primary school (younger children?)|
School and University Administrators
Individuals who make business decisions at educational institutions require clear justification of their budgetary allocations, and straightforward messages and value propositions that articulate the benefits of adopting OWEA curriculum.
Businesses and Clients
Businesses must be addressed differently from educators - their needs are to clearly understand how (and by what criteria) to hire qualified professionals, how to interface with a web professional to develop their web presence and brand, and what web standards represent in terms of competitive and functional advantages to business.
|Managers||Those who make the decisions to hire new staff or contractors|
|HR||Those in the business responsible for the hiring process|
|Finance||Those in the business who manage operating budgets|
Students and Parents
Students are of primary importance, to both build comprehensive skills with which to create web sites and applications, and develop their passion towards web standards in general. Students often perform their own 'viral' outreach work towards other students, teachers, and their local community, which is especially important for universities and schools that are not teaching best practices and/or are resistant to change.
Parents are a secondary concern, but it is important for parents to be assured that their children are following a solid professional skill development path. Parents can also be very good student motivators, with influence in their own communities and their children's schools. Parent-Teacher associations are another strong target audience for OWEA outreach.
|Professional Trainer||Holds private training sessions attended by corporate teams and individuals|
|In-house trainer||Holds training sessions for fellow employees|
Many current web professionals either learned web standards and best practices through personal exploration and self-development, or as a side hobby that grew into a career over time. Due to the accessibility of open web technologies, this is a natural and expected path for many to enter the web design and development world, and requires outreach to help assure that they are focusing their attention in the right areas, and on the right end goals.
Similar to business audiences, government needs to have clear goals and skillsets for hiring qualified web professionals. Additionally, a clear understanding of the efficiency of developing to web standards and how this will address accessibility, legislative and usability concerns is critical to ensuring that best practices are proliferated across departments and functional groups.
Communicating to both the media and the wider public at large will use similar mediums (press releases, blogging, social media, etc) and consistent, global messaging and positioning speaking across all of these audiences.
|Web Professional subgroup||Description|
|Web professional (standards-aware)||These individuals already live and breathe web standards, and are more likely to evangelize and advise on content, rather than learning directly from it.|
|Web professional (would like to learn more)||Will learn great deal from our curriculum, given the opportunity. Some web developers who don't leverage web standards may care, but can be shackled by their employer's existing sites and infrastructure.|
|Web professional (uninterested)||Admittedly, these individuals don't see value in learning a new skillset to achieve tasks they can already accomplish. This type of attitude is very hard to change.|
This section documents identified methods of communications and their relative importance based on several criteria:
- Important: Is this activity specifically relevant to our cause?
- Easy: How costly is this activity in terms of time, cost and effort?
- Effective: Is this activity effective in reaching our target audiences?
|Internship/recruitment program||Very important activity to help bridge the gap between education and industry - get both sides talking on a regular basis. Very effective, and could also be easy to pull off if we deal with it through local advocates||yes||yes||yes|
|Guest Lectures||Lectures/events at universities, schools, companies, and conferences. High potential for recording and reuse.||yes|
|External interviews/case studies||Interviews with prominent educators, students and industry figures showcasing their efforts and the importance of web standards.||yes|
|Articles||Not the education learning articles, but articles in online magazines and newspapers to highlight our cause and advertise events||yes||yes|
|Press Packs||Distributable OWEA press pack, consisting of articles, mission statement, sample curriculum and swag.||yes||yes|
|OWEA Member Profiles||Interviews with OWEA members, showcasing their work and giving tips on education, success stories, etc.||yes||yes|
|Contests||Contests to get students passionate about doing cool things with web standards. WOW already organizes such contests.||yes|
|Blogs||Establish an official OWEA blog for direct messaging, and highlight blogs published by OWEA members and key voices in the education community.||yes|
|Incredibly effective for 'real-time' OWEA updates and messaging to the wider online community, especially around physical and online events.||yes||yes|
|WE Rock Self-Tour Kit||Instructional package teaching others how to run their own standards outreach advocacy days, in a barcamp style.||yes||yes|
|Advocacy Rewards||Offer students recognition and rewards for becoming local OWEA promoters and community advocates.|
|Liaisons and Partnerships||Secure key contacts in government, accreditation bodies, trainers and agencies.||yes||yes|
|"Train the Trainers"||Create materials to educate teachers how to best teach web development.||yes|
|Testimonials||Quick soundbites and testimonials from educators and industry, to display on our site and improve confidence in our resources||yes|
|E-mail Campaigns/Updates||Newsletter and/or email updates - very effective at direct, targeted messaging to opted-in parties.||yes|
|Forum||Online forums for direct interaction with the education community. Currently available on the InterAct web site: http://interact.webstandards.org||yes|
|Viral videos/comic strips||Humorous takes on relevant topics, distributed virally via social media and community interaction. Very effective if done right.||yes|
|eSeminars||Hold online seminars to highlight, evangelize and explore the OWEA curriculum.|
|Endorsements/seals of approval||Create an official endorsement/stamp of approval to give to educators acknowledging their OWEA-derived courses.|
|University and college open days||Presence at larger collegiate full-day sessions, workshops and career day events.|
A list of key suggested message topics follows, with bold entries ones we feel are globally-important messages to spread to all of our target audience groups, so also represent the recommended focus for our initial wave of outreach. The list in its entirety represents broad topical approaches to be considered as a longer-term messaging framework is established and progress is made on the core OWEA curriculum and adoption.
A short-term goal will be creating a matrixed messaging framework, outlining message topics specifically relevant to each identified target audience group.
|Creating Well-Rounded Students||Employability|
|The OWEA Curriculum||Accreditation|
|Translating standards to 'the everyman'||New Strategies for Delivering Curriculum|
|Internationalization||What's Exciting about Web Tech|
|Increasing Enrollment||increased Success Rate/Metrics|
|Community and the Web Ecosystem||Improving The Bottom Line|
|Creating Bonds Between Industry and Education||What's Required to be a Web Professional|
|Relevance of Skillsets||Future-Proof Skills|
|Building OWEA Awareness||Professional Development/Retraining|
|Web Stewardship||Legislation/Legal Risks|
|Demystification and Personal Relevance||Information Accuracy|
|Build Respect For Our Craft|
Initially, we should:
Then later on:
Sample outreach activities
This section lists a sample outreach activity that we hope to start with. This can be used as a template for any further outreach activities.
University Students and Lecturers
These two groups are listed together as a single item as contacting students and their teachers should ideally be done in tandem. Similar mechanisms will be used to contact each group, their goals being much the same (acquire, or teach skills needed to get a job). The outreach program spec will look something like this:
Name of outreach activity: University outreach
Target groups for outreach: Primary targets University students and University lecturers. Secondary targets Parents and University administrators. Activity can be run in multiple territories, depending on how many personnel we have available.
Personnel required: For each territory and each project cycle, we need a project leader to manage the project and do part of the work, we need two to three admins to do tasks such as sending out e-mails, writing promotional copy and logistics, and we need a few presenters to agree to do face to face meetings/guest lectures/open days
Activity cycle: Each round of the project to run for one year, in each territory
Goals and Success criteria (per territory, per year):
- Get 15 universities to adopt and promote OWEA-approved resources as further reading and recommended texts on their web-related courses
- Organise 10 WE Rock events at universities/local businesses
- Get 3 universities to start teaching a OWEA-approved degree course on web design/development, or at least improve what they currently have significantly
- Get 10 students and 5 industry professionals to act as local evangelists, helping to promote web standards education in their local area
- Forge 5 links between universities and several local web development companies so the companies can provide advice, sample questions and suchlike, and the universities can provide students for internships
- Get 10 universities to improve their web sites so they follow web standards and best practices
- Get 10 universities to roll out a choice of standards-compliant browsers on their networks (many university networks are still stuck on IE 6/IE 7)
Outreach methods to employ:
- E-mail/twitter/phone/message boards for contact and outreach
- Guest lectures
- WE Rock tour/tour kit
- Press packs
- Advocate packs/rewards
- Train the trainers
- Internship/recruitment program
- Press interviews - TV, radio, online, newspaper
Basic message abstract: One major goal of any university is to teach students the skills they need to get a job in their area of specialisation. In the field of web design and development this often does not happen successfully; many universities do not teach web development skills that are compliant with best practices, hence there is a shortage of skilled graduates coming into the web industry. There are many reasons for this, and it is not just the fault of the educators or the industry. We would like to help you make your web-related courses the best they can be. We are a group of web industry and education professionals, and can offer you all the materials you need to run a complete web design program, and offer a flawless set of web resources. Our resources provide all your students could ever need for background reading and learning materials. We also offer other services such as hooking you up with local companies for internships and offering guest lectures. We'd love to organise a meeting with you to talk about what we can offer your university.
Plan of action for carrying out this outreach
- Choose territories to carry out the outreach activity in. Territories should be of a sensible size to manage for a small team, for example the UK, East Ukraine, or Atlanta. Put together a team to carry out the outreach activity for each territory
- Research universities and local web companies to be involved in the outreach. About 30-50 of each would be a good number to start with. This should be done in about 2 weeks. Of course, if you already have lecturer or student representatives from those universities, that makes things easier
- Contact each one of these with an appropriate introductory mail or phone call that is polite, concise, and to the point. Try to make your point of contact as appropriate as possible, e.g., the head of the computer science or interactive media faculty, or the creative director of a company. This should be done in about one month.
- When each one gets back to you, give them more information and try to arrange a meeting, online or face to face. Also ask them for details of local student representatives or employees that might want to act as local evangelists.
- For the ones that don't reply, try them up to a maximum of three times, perhaps employing different tactics each time. If they still don't get back, give up and move on.
- When you have about 15 universities interested in hosting WE Rock events promoting best practices, take the next steps to get the resources into their courses, and sort out the logistics for the events***
- When you have about 15 local companies interested in acting as advisors or internship places, take the next steps to forge the links with local universities.
- When you have about 10 students and 10 industry professionals interested in local evangelism, go through what it takes, and roll out evangelism packs.
- When organizing the WE Rock events, don't just invite people from those universities, invite people from all surrounding universities, companies, and schools. Invite local politicians and media. Make a big deal out of it, sell it to the university as getting them more publicity, as well as raising the profile of OWEA.
- Talk to the universities about getting better browsers into their labs, and and improving their web sites. Offer them free consultancy advice.
- After the events are over, keep in contact with the universities, to encourage and support them to keep up the good work. Collect testimonials/quotes, etc. to use for future outreach/marketing activities
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