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A statewide technology-training project has enacted a new communication strategy in order to more effectively reach those it serves. The strategy includes a new Web site, use of social media and Web communication tools, and a platform that will allow development of an online community.

In November 2009, the @ONE project launched its new Web site, enacting its new communication strategy.

The @ONE project, directed by William (Bill) Doherty, is funded by a grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Telecommunication and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP). @ONE provides free and low-cost training, online resources and research targeted to meet the technology needs of California Community College faculty and staff.

For the past five years, @ONE has worked with Positive Impact Partner to design a Web presence to meet the diverse and evolving needs of the @ONE community. Positive Impact Partner is a full-service marketing firm located in Redwood City, California.

President and strategist, Lynn Strand, has worked closely with Doherty and @ONE for the past five years, developing a vision to “change and amplify the @ONE communication strategy.”

The new @ONE Web siteA main focus of this strategy was the integration of a variety of communication tools to meet the diverse needs of @ONE users. As part of their research to determine need, @ONE and Positive Impact surveyed current @ONE users to gather usage and preference statistics from the current @ONE community. The survey covered four main types of content delivery that @ONE provides: desktop seminars, instructor-led online courses, self-paced training and in-person institutes. The results showed that certain types of users preferred certain types of training over others almost exclusively. User’s individual preferences tended to not overlap.

Since different users prefer different ways of interacting, the team began to focus on interactivity and integration of alternative tools to create a more meaningful experience for the current community and to draw new members. This desire to reach out and expand led to the incorporation of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook to spread information, in addition to the @ONE eNews that is sent by e-mail.

The focus on interactivity creates added value for those who visit the Web site. Community members can now make suggestions, add comments, respond to and rate the trainings. This new interactivity will help @ONE provide the best training and resources available and meet peoples’ needs on multiple levels.

“A static Web site does not work for everyone. We want to appeal to customers on a variety of levels,” Strand said. “People who don’t have time to log into the Web site or read the eNews letter can connect to Twitter or Facebook or from their phone.

Using social networking tools to accommodate the evolving needs of the community, also gives @ONE a method of rapidly deploying new marketing efforts. People no longer have to go to the @ONE Web site to learn about @ONE. By broadcasting through social networking sites, @ONE can reach a much wider audience than through traditional marketing.

The Web site will be constantly evolving and growing to provide more ways to engage users. One way the site will evolve in the future will be to feature a training video repository similar to YouTube, where users can search for and review content.

By using Drupal as a platform for the site, @ONE has the possibility of incorporating a larger span of multimedia functions and interactive tools. Drupal is an open source content management platform capable of supporting multiple open source, multi-media functions. Drupal also allows project team members to post content and make changes via an administrative interface, rather than relying on someone else to post content for the.

As part of the new communication strategy, the @ONE logo was also redesigned to give a clean and modern impression and focus. The new logo and Web site design focused on capturing the colors and feeling of California’s diverse regions and landscapes.

The @ONE project also changed its domain name to better communicate its role as a training organization for those who may be unfamiliar with what they do. The new name—onefortraining.org—also helps expand search hits for people looking for technology training. “Not everyone knows what @ONE means,” Doherty said. “By including ‘training’ in the title, it helps give people an idea of what @ONE does and makes us easier to find.”

The @ONE Project Web site will continue to evolve in the future as results of the new methods come in and help determine what will come next. <>

To see the new @ONE Web site, please visit http://www.onefortraining.org.
To find @ONE on Twitter, please visit http://twitter.com/ONEforTraining.
To find @ONE on Facebook, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/ONE-For-Training.
For the @ONE Live RSS Feed, please visit http://onefortraining.org/rss.xml.


Jen Gednalske is a CCC Technology Center and California Virtual Campus Project Manager
and a TechEDge Editor.