Jan 12 2024

A BuddyPress forum as part of group configuration

Published by at 7:24 pm under Uncategorized

Creating a cohesive and engaging online collaboration group using various digital platforms can be challenging work. In Digital Habitats, we called this a group or community’s configuration. Thinking about the configuration is necessary, can be rewarding, but needs to be intentional. Here are some specific ideas to effectively integrate Zoom meetings, Google Groups, Google Shared Drive, and a BuddyPress forum:

  1. Clarifying the purpose and function of each platform: For each one to play their appropriate role, think through what’s appropriate for each platform (or tool or channel, depending on how you think of them).
    1. Zoom: real-time interaction with a free flow of conversation, structured or not. Chat and screen-sharing can link to other resources. Include video recording for later review and viewing by participants that could not attend. Video or audio recordings go to Google Drive.
    2. Google (Shared) Drive: Store documents and files (such as Zoom recordings or documents) in an organized, shareable, searchable, and secure location.
    3. Google Docs: Interactive editing and publication of group products. Includes commenting and inline edit suggestions for collaborating as well as revision histories to track changes in the document over time. Individuals can be tagged or assigned tasks by using an @google_id convention.
    4. Google Group: Group-wide announcements and conversations. Membership can control access to Google Docs and Google Group.
    5. Google Calendar: Schedule meetings of large and small groups.
    6. BuddyPress: Supports small-group discussions and holds group history in an organized and visible manner. A group’s header page can have links to Google resources (Drive, Calendar, Group) and the standard link for Zoom meetings. Group headers should clearly state the purpose of the BuddyPress group. BuddyPress allows for closed, open and hidden groups.
  2. Agenda and Meeting Integration: Create a dedicated topic for each monthly Zoom meeting on either a Google Doc or a BuddyPress topic. Launch the agenda doc or topic early enough so that members can propose additional agenda items. After the meeting, gather the final agenda in BuddyPress with a summary, the Zoom recording link, and a PDF of the meeting notes stored on Google Shared Drive. Encourage members to discuss and reflect on the meeting content in the thread.
  3. Have a Repository for Resources & Protocols: Set up a BuddyPress topic titled “Meeting Resources and protocols”. Include relevant documents from the Google Shared Drive, and elsewhere categorizing them by meeting date or topic. This central repository makes it easier for members to find and reference materials.
  4. Action Item Tracker: After each Zoom meeting, create a topic in the BuddyPress group dedicated to tracking action items. Include deadlines and responsible parties. Update this topic as tasks are completed, linking to any relevant documents in the Google Shared Drive.
  5. Email Digests: BuddyPress can send automatic digests each day or week showing all activity in the previous period. Utilize Google Groups to send some kind of drum-beat message summarizing the latest discussions, resources, and updates from the BuddyPress forum. This keeps members who are less engaged informed. They are more likely to become more engaged if they are better informed.
  6. Polls and Surveys: Use Google Forms or Survey Monkey to conduct polls or surveys before meetings to gather input on agenda items or after meetings to collect feedback. Summarize the results and add to the BuddyPress meeting topic.
  7. Collaborative Document Editing: For documents that require collaborative editing, create links in BuddyPress topics that direct members to Google Shared Drive where they can work together in real-time.
  8. Integration of Google Calendar: Embed a Google Calendar in the BuddyPress group header page to display upcoming meeting dates, deadlines, and events. Provide options for members to add these to their personal calendars. Synchronizing schedules can be huge.
  9. Member and Platform Spotlight: Regularly mention member, platform, and small-group activities in group emails or in Zoom meetings to encourage awareness of group activity and its distribution across platforms.
  10. Real-time Chat during Meetings: Encourage members to use a live chat feature during Zoom meetings. This can be for side discussions, clarifications, or sharing instant reactions. Save the chat and possibly summarize key chat points and add them to the post-meeting thread.
  11. Use the AI tools:
    1. Otter.ai does a good job of producing a transcript from a Zoom or other recording.
    2. The Zoom AI assistant can create the first draft of meeting minutes. It is part of a Pro Account
    3. The Krisp AI service can produce a transcript and summaries at the same time

Remember, the key to successful integration is to ensure that each platform complements the others and provides a seamless experience for the members. Regular feedback from the members about the system’s effectiveness and suggestions for improvements can also be invaluable.

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