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E-Democracy.Org Internships -

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E-Democracy.Org Internships


Revision as of 14:51, 2 December 2007 by Tim Erickson (Talk | contribs)

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E-Democracy.Org Internships

In recent discussions, the suggestion has been made that we identify some possible projects that might work well for interns, including the possibility of remote internships, that can be done by students at remote institutions for credit.

Right now, it should be assumed there is no funding for any of these internships - but that they might be interesting and/or educational projects for a student to undertake. E-Democracy.Org would make a commitment to provide supervision, feedback, and regular support to make the project a success.

Currently, we are at the brainstorming stages. Please, help me list ideas for projects that would further our mission and build our capacity as an organization. At a later point, we might want to prioritize the list a bit and present a narrower range of options to potential partners willing to help us identify possible interns.

Here are the ideas (please add more):

Stories From the Field

For this project, the intern would work with E-Democracy.Org staff and volunteers to identify a set number (maybe 10-20) of stories that illustrate success and/or frustration within our various forums. The intern would then be responsible for following up on each story by:

  • reading relevant posts/topics
  • interviewing relevant participants
  • identifying lessons (that might have been) learned
  • summarizing what happened
  • possibly writing a blog post about the event and its implications for our work

Discussion Helper

One possible project for an intern, would be to monitor various forums (with support of local steering committees) and watch for opportunities to:

  • look up factual information or resources on the topics being discussed and insert them into the discussions.
  • fill a lull in the discussion, with a link to a recent article or blog post about a NEW topic that is relevant to that forum (but potentially has not yet been discussed)
  • to briefly summarize a discussion and ask a question that might take it in a new direction

E-Democracy.Org staff could provide training and support on how best to do this, and offer ongoing feedback.

Opinion Polling

Many participants are reluctant to post their thoughts into our forums, for a number of reasons ranging from nervousness about the feedback they will get, lack of confidence in their opinions, or simply a sense that their opinion has been adequately stated by someone else.

The unfortunate side effect, is that this make their presence in the forum relatively invisible and other members don't have a good sense of where the silent majority is on any issue.

We'd like to have someone responsible for helping local forums create short and very informal polls that draw new voices into the forum. I'm envisioning one poll every 2-4 weeks (per forum) that focuses on one or two issues, with no more than 5 or 6 questions (half of which are open-ended).

These polls would be positioned as an alternative way for lurkers to be "heard" in the forum.

An intern could be responsible for developing and implementing these polls on a regular basis, in cooperation with local steering committee's, and tracking/reporting on the results.

Recruitment Coordinator

For this project, the intern would help plan (with much assistance) and coordinate a 2 week recruitment drive that would cut across all of our forums. They would focus on helping to develop materials and messages that local projects use to help recruit new members and coordinate activities with recruitment volunteers identified in each community.

Tech Support Intern

For this project, the intern would help with basic technology support questions asked by users and help develop a comprehensive FAQ (or other materials) to help users address their own tech questions in the future.

Topical Discussion Coordinator

For this project, the intern would be responsible for coordinating a monthly "cross-community" discussion about a "local" issue (meaning an issue that is normally dealt with at a local level), but that is common to many communities. (Examples: Dog Parks, Graffiti, Billboards, Recycling, Traffic or Transportation Issues, Etc.).

The intern would be responsible for:

  1. working with volunteers to identify upcoming topics
  2. drafting and posting invitations in relevant local forums
  3. identifying some participants and/or guests with particular expertise in this topic that could help frame some discussion questions
  4. managing (if not facilitating) the actual online discussion

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