Saturday, January 7, 2012

Using HPT to Plan a Virtual Support Network Part 1: Project Kickoff

A few months back I was having a conversation with Guy Wallace about starting a professional chapter. The purpose was to collect data for an organization I belong to that was looking to start a virtual chapter. I was interested in hearing his story about starting up the Charlotte, NC chapter of ISPI. During the conversation the topic of a Virtual ISPI chapter for Capella came up and I began thinking that this concept could possibly fill the needs of some of my colleagues and Alumni at Boise State. I decided to put together an Exploratory Committee to look into the possibility of forming a chapter.

The Exploratory Committee consists of members from each category of potential stakeholders I had identified: 3 Students (2 online, 1 on campus), 1 Alumni, and 1 Faculty member. With our committee formed, we discussed some of the potential services a Virtual Support Network could provide to our Stakeholders. We decided that a Performance Analysis would be appropriate to determine what problems and opportunities exist within our groups of stakeholders, and which could be supported by a Virtual Support Network.

To begin, we developed a list of services the Network could provide, based on our own experiences. A few of the services included; ways for Alumni to give back to the program; affordable/quality programs/professional development; networking opportunities; professional resources and literature; pre-qualified course projects for students; and employment services. We also discussed the possibility of aligning our network with an international organization such as ISPI or ASTD. Of course, in keeping with good practices we wanted to analyze our target audience to ensure these needs were widespread. This brings us to the Analysis Phase.

Over the next two months we will be conducting interviews and surveys to determine how comprehensive and accurate our assumptions are. We will look to determine the needs of our potential stakeholders, and determine the best ways to support those needs.