2012 Syllabus

Course Description

Examines the use of computer applications to consume, manage, analyze, and disseminate public information, improve worker productivity and achieve agency mission. Attention is given to improving students’ technical acumen and to examining important public/nonprofit sector IT issues.Grading

Individual Project: Technology Instruction and Presentation: 25%

Explain a technology and the problem that the technology solves. You may choose your topic, but it must be clearly related to nonprofit and government technology issues.The project consists of three parts:1. Presentation descriptions. Due February 1. (5%)
Write a no more than 100 word presentation description, including your name and the date of the presentation. Additionally, write a description of the presentation suitable for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

2. TWENTY slides (no more, no less) created using Google’s Presentation app in Google Docs. This include one title slide identifying the presentation topic and author. Due February 22. (10%)
Material must be published as an embedded presentation to the class WordPress site by 6 pm the Tuesday before your assigned deadline. Cite sources on slides and provide links to resources, where possible.

3. In class presentation of the slides. Due date assigned by instructor; ranges from February 29 – April 18. (10%)
Slides must be “published” and set to auto-advance every 15 seconds during the presentation. This means the presentation time will be 5 minutes.

The format is essentially a variant of the Pecha Kucha style of presentation, where 20 slides are presented, each being shown for 20 seconds. The intent is to provide an informative, visually engaging, fast-paced and focused overview of a single topic. The presentations shared online by the University of Minnesota’s Office of Information Technology are very close to what I’m looking for from you. Take a look at the presentation “Google Alerts and Custom Search” by Nora Paul, as an example.

Team Project: 20%

Video of an interview of people working with a nonprofit or public agency about their use of technology.

Email me the NAME and CONTACT INFORMATION for the subject of your team’s video interview no later than 6 pm February 28. Video interview must be posted by March 28.

INTERVIEWING: Sue Nieboer, Health System Professional; Visiting Professor @ GVSU
Kirk Barber, Jess Brandt, Josh Morris, Andrea Phillips
INTERVIEWING: Dave Cooke, Chief Systems Engineer @ Willow Creek Community Church
Lyssa Auton, Alyssa CookeINTERVIEWING: Julie Vance @ Family Futures
Nicole Albrecht, Megan McNamee, Chris SchrotenboerINTERVIEWING: Nicole Toering, Site-Coordinator @ T.E.A.M. 21
Dwaynna Dawson, Samuel Ging, Jennifer Goodrich, Cassandra Platt

INTERVIEWING: Virginia Sines @ Kent County Parks

Jessica Mankel, Stacey Nykamp, Melissa Piccard, Michael Wandera
INTERVIEWING: Laura Blake @ The Right Place
Will Hibler, Tricia SmithUNASSIGNED, AS OF YET:
Mychael Worthem
Working with your team, you are to select and interview a professional employed by a nonprofit or public agency about their use of technology. This person may not be a classmate.Record and edit the interview using any video tools you wish. Upload the video the class WordPress site (pa311.wordpress.com).The final video must share their answers to the following questions. I encourage you to seek responses to other questions, of course, but these are absolutely required. Note: you don’t have to ask the question exactly as phrased; you just need to make sure these questions are clearly answered in the interview:
– What is your name?
– What organization are you affiliated with?
– What fundamental issue is your organization trying to address?
– What is the most interesting thing you’re using technology to accomplish?
– In what way has technology changed how you work, since the start of your career?Grade will be based on:
– Audio and video recording: must be easily viewable with steady video, easy to listen to audio. Note that by quality I -don’t- mean a high definition image: I simply want a simple video recording with decent audio. (5%)
– Quality of interview. Was it clear that the interview(ers) had a clear understanding of their subject’s organization and role? Were questions beyond the required question asked? Did the questions show evidence of understanding and exploring the subject’s responses? (15%)

For an example of the type of video interview I’m looking for, see Dave Weinberger’s interview of Anil Dash.

Writing: Knowledge Analysis and Commentary (WordPress Posting/Commentary): 25%

Write eight 200 word (or more) posts on topics related nonprofit/government related technology issue.

I expect your first post to appear no later than 6 pm Tuesday, January 25; with your last post due no later than 6 pm Tuesday, April 18. Posts are due the weeks listed below. A total of EIGHT posts that are required.

For a post to be counted you must:

– Publish the post and share with the class to pa311.wordpress.com by 6 pm the Tuesday before our weekly Wednesday class. Late posts WILL NOT COUNT.
– Check your work. Posts with significant spelling or word usage errors will not be counted.
– Fact check your work. I expect your posts to be factually accurate.
– Link to and cite your sources. I expect you to link to source material on which you comment. Quoted material does NOT count toward your 200 original words.
– Write about a topic related to technology in the social or government sector. Writing about just technology won’t count. Writing about a nonprofit or government issue that doesn’t relate to technology also won’t count.

Tests: 20%

— Mid-Term – 10%
— Final Exam – 10%

Exams will be comprehensive, drawing from assigned reading material and content presented in class (including any material covered by guest speakers).

Class Participation: 10%

Yes, showing up and engaging in discussion counts — as does asking thoughtful questions online (posting, tweeting, bookmarking, or commenting). Use #pa311 as a hashtag for relevant content when posting to sites other than the class site.Contact Info

Phone: 313-595-2017; email: andy@wolberworks.com OR wolbera@gvsu.edu; Twitter/Skype: @awolber.Please let me know in advance if you can’t make it to class via text or email.
If you would like to schedule time to meet to discuss your projects or the class, let me know. I’m in Grand Rapids most Wednesdays; we can also schedule a phone/Skype meeting.
Class Schedule

Watch: Michael Wesch’s “The Machine is Us/ing Us
Course overview & introductions
Quick video overview of the nonprofit sector: “Know your sector” (discuss: versus PDF report? podcast? post? link on Twitter?)
Overview of nonprofit technology adoption survey resultsBefore the next class:
– Read: 2010 Southwestern PA Nonprofit Technology Survey conducted by the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management.
– Read: John’s Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies: “The Nonprofit Technology Gap: Myth or RealityJanuary 18
Discuss reading

Effective search and alerts: “What are people saying about ______?”
WordPress Setup
Introduction to WordPress.com for sharing posts, information and resources among the class.
Web posting style. Examples:
– Nonprofit tech sector: Idealware.org blogTechSoup.org blogNTEN.org blog
– Video + commentary: InvisiblePeople.tv
Lab: Find and share (via a commented post) one resource related to non-profit / government use of technology with the class.
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (1 of 8)
– Read: ICT Hub Guide: “From Nightmare to Nirvana: An ICT Survival Guide for Trustees
– Watch: CommonCraft.com Videos on Technology in Plain English: RSSJanuary 25
Discuss reading
Choosing and Buying systems: for 1, for 20, for 200, for 2,000. What’s the process? Who chooses, approves, sets up, supports, upgrades, replaces?
DUE: First post to pa311.wordpress.com.
Before next class:
– Write your Individual Project presentation descriptions: “brochure length” (100 words) AND Twitter-length (140 characters or less)
– Read: Idealware.org: The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide
– Read: http://www.e-benchmarksstudy.orgNonprofit Social Media Benchmarks Study” (2011 study recently released!)February 1
Guest Speaker (via Google+ hangout): Amanda Aldrich, Online Engagement Specialist at United Way of Greater ToledoSocial Media: for me versus for an organization. What’s different?

See slides:

http://wolber.me/govsocial0124 and related handout at http://wolber.me/govsocdoc0124.

DUE: Individual Project presentation descriptions: “brochure length” (100 words) AND Twitter-length (140 characters or less)
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (2 of 8)
– Read “Outsourcing Back-office Services in Small Nonprofits: Pitfalls and Possibilities” from the Meyer Foundation. Specifically, read the full report.February 8
Guest Speaker: Leon Wilson, Director of Highway TAfter guest speaker: Slide design and presentation tips.
DUE: Second post to pa311.wordpress.com.
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (3 of 8)
– Read: Cloud Basics for Nonprofits and Libraries
– Watch: “Cloud Computing: Why You Should Care” webinar recording
– Watch: CommonCraft.com Videos on Technology in Plain English: Cloud ComputingFebruary 15
Discuss reading
So, which are “cloud”: Spotify? Rdio? iTunes (w/iTunes match)?

Cloud computing: what is it? why? what’s in it for you?
DUE: Third post to pa311.wordpress.com.
Before next class:
– Read: ICT Hub Guide: “How to Cost and Fund ICTFebruary 22
Guest Speakers: Kari Sederburg, Director, and Scott Wamsley, both with the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging

DUE: Individual Project presentation 20 slides
Video recording, editing, uploading
Before next class:
– Email me the NAME and CONTACT INFORMATION for the subject of your team’s video interview
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (4 of 8)
– Read: ICT Hub Guide: “A Guide to Managing ICT in the Voluntary and Community SectorFebruary 29 Mid Term Exam (6 pm, usual class time)
DUE: Fourth post to pa311.wordpress.com.
20 multiple choice questions, 4 essay questionsMarch 14
Student Presentations: J. Brandt, A. Cooke, D. Dawson, N. Albrecht

Smartphones and mobile devices, plus presentation created and given via iPhone.
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (5 of 8)
– Read: http://www.e-benchmarksstudy.org2010 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study” and “2010 Nonprofit Text Messaging Benchmarks
– Watch: Frontline: “Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual FrontierMarch 21
Student Presentations: T. Smith, W. Hibler, J. Goodrich, S. Ging
Guest Speaker (via web): Scott Geller, CTO & President, Points of Light Digital.
For additional background on All For Good, see Greg Baldwin’s (VolunteerMatch) post “What Happened to All for Good?” along with Mark Bernstein’s (All For Good) response.

Discuss reading
DUE: Fifth post to pa311.wordpress.com.
Before next class:
– Post your team’s video interview and share the link with the class
– Read: Robert Weiner’s blog post on “Choosing a Donor Database
– Read: Idealware’s “A Consumer’s Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems
– Read: Wes Trochill’s five blog posts drawn from his book “Put Your Data to Work: 52 Tips and Techniques for Effectively Managing Your Database”
– Watch: MAP Techworks “Improving your Nonprofit’s Database
– Watch: MAP Techworks “Checklist for your Donor Database ConversionMarch 28
Guest Speaker: Rosemary Bayer, ardentCause partner and Chief Inspiration Officer
Student Presentations: K. Barber, S. Nykamp
After guest speaker: Websites, email and database tools (see NonprofitNetwork.org, ConstantContact.com, Eventbrite.com)
DUE: Team project interview videos posted
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (6 of 8)April 4
Student Presentations: M. Piccard, A. Phillips
DUE: Sixth post to pa311.wordpress.com.
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (7 of 8)
– Read: Idealware.org: “Selecting Software on a Shoestring
Read: Monitor Institute: “Working Wikily 2.0: Social Change with a Network MindsetApril 11
Student Presentations: C. Platt, M. McNamee, J. Morris, C. Schrotenboer
Before next class:
– Write and share your weekly post to the class (8 of 8)
– Read: Monitor Institute: “What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked WorldApril 18
Student Presentations: M. Wandera, L. Auton, J. Mankel, M. Worthem
DUE: Eighth post to pa311.wordpress.com.
April 25 Final Exam (6 pm, usual class time)
20 multiple choice questions, 4 essay questions