Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Frances Long

Frances lives and works online guiding others into the joys and struggles of an online environment. She is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada and works with http://knowplace.ca. Knowplace through its private/public partnership with Capilano College, North Vancouver, BC, Canada offers courses to assist people to transfer their skills to the online environment. Knowmates include but are not limited to: K-12 teachers, employment and career coaches, education consultants, University professors and college teachers. Frances has been involved with building online communities since 1995.

Frances' Perspective

At the beginning of each month, new people join the Knowplace community. During the first week, we teach people how to communicate through instant message clients, and post messages in a learning community. During the second week, Helen Kershaw and I discuss the Tapped In community and encourage folks to join us in a virtual tour of Tapped In. Together, we join in the Tips and Tricks tour led on Tuesdays and Saturdays by a helpdesk volunteer from Tapped In.

As the helpdesk volunteer is leading people through Tapped In, we are in the background using an instant message client, to communicate with our folks:

- Help them enter into the system,
- Find that tool that they missed,
- Guide them from one room to another, and
- Teach them private chat techniques

When our folks are fine, we assist other tour members who are new to the Tapped In community to find their way during the Tips and Tricks tour. We jump in whenever we can to guide others during the tour.

After the tour, when we are back in our own asynchronous learning community we discuss the tour, the Tapped In environment, what they liked or disliked about the tour. We have been visiting for two years and the Knowmate comments are consistent:

- Impressed with the features and the ease of use,
- Helpdesk volunteer's ability to guide so many people at once, (How do they do this?)
- The friendly and supportive culture, and
- The international culture

As our Knowmates move along in their certificate programs, they build their own offices in Tapped In to host their own short courses, learning activities or group discussions. One of two of our Knowmates have used Tapped In for their Applied Project work.

Our previous and current Knowmates are busy planning our first online coference. KnowTIPS: Surviving and Thriving Online in 2005. February 23 - 27, 2005. We began to discuss partners and presenters and there was an overwhelming request to have the Tapped In helpdesk involved in our conference and Tapped In as a partner. It dawned on Frances at that instant that helpdesk volunteers and Tapped In are very important people in the lives of our Knowmates! Almost every person who has been through Knowplace has visited Tapped In and spoken with someone on the helpdesk. Neat!