Use regular communication via email and the dedicated workspace to cultivate the ongoing participation, learning, and content created by the community.
Send friendly reminders for meetings and webinars. Even if participants may have received a schedule of events at the beginning of the project, send out e-mail reminders of upcoming webinars about one week in advance. Include sign-in information and detailed information about the topic and goals of the session (or direct participants to where it is posted on the collaborative workspace.
Follow-up with participants after each meeting or webinar. After each meeting or webinar, consider sending a follow-up email thanking people for their participation, summarizing highlights, offering additional research or links, and encouraging them to use the collaborative workspace to respond to the content and share their reflections, questions, and suggestions.
A short online survey after each webinar is another way of maintaining two-way communication. Information from the survey can be used to inform planning for future activities.
Follow-up with non-attendees. It may be helpful to track attendance for each webinar and follow-up with individuals who do not attend the live session (if they have not let you know they would be unable to attend.) Send these participants an email the day after the live webinar, encouraging them to access the archived webinar or the posted slides and record their reflections on the collaborative workspace. If they have not posted a comment on the collaborative workspace within one week, consider sending a second email asking them to confirm by return email whether or not they were able to access the archived version of the webinar.
Keep the rhythm. If there are months in which there are no scheduled webinars, consider maintaining the rhythm of the community by sending out an ‘in-between’ e-mail around the time of the month the regular webinars are scheduled (e.g., second Tuesday of the month). The email could offer reflection questions, relevant links, or research articles, or direct participants to new content posted on the workspace. View an example of an ‘in-between’ e-mail here.
Post all communications on the collaborative workspace. Ideally, participants will be using the collaborative workspace for communication between one another, and with the facilitator. Monitor the website at least once a week, post comments when participants make contributions and aim to add new content at least once a month.