Practice tip: Discussion Summaries
A Discussion Summary on the Wiki provides a useful archival record of a discussion. It can have several distinct functions, whether a discussion is found to be important after the fact or when it’s a more formal and focused conversation where a lot of preparation has gone into it in advance.
Why a summary is so valuable
- Sometimes people aren’t able to follow the conversation when it’s happening, so it’s very helpful to have an organized resource (with a summary, excluding separate email threads) for use afterward.
- Since the wiki is completely open, people who are non-members of KM4Dev can read the discussion without having to join (especially if the archive on the summary page is created in close to real-time; if they have reactions they may know someone and submit their contributions through someone else).
- Organize all the links to all the resources mentioned or offered during a discussion
Collecting, storing and sharing auxiliary materials (Images, attachments, and other resources)
- Can be stored on the Ning Site
- Use the http://wiki.km4dev.org/Special:Upload and then link in the discussions
- This can be done in advance (say if a series of case studies will be discussed)
- The simple job of collecting email text involves cutting and pasting
- At first the Wiki is not so easy to use but it’s worth the effort
- You need an account on this Wiki
- Writing a good summary of a discussion can range from just a list of topics or themes to a more elaborate synthesis: contribute what you can
Good practice -- especially for focused conversations
- Advance planning of the discussion agenda
- Pre-select documents and case studies
- Recruit experts and moderators for each the agenda topics and clarify their role
- Share the discussion agenda (schedule) in advance
- Let everyone know it’s being archived (especially if it will happen in real time)
- Include a link to the discussion summary on the Wiki in various postings
- Add messages to the Wiki Summary as they come in (so none are lost and so it’s not a big chore at the end)
- Add the links to the case studies as they come in
- Pay attention to the message at the bottom of the summary page on the wiki that says “this page has been accessed X times.” * That is an indicator of the level of participation outside of the Dgroup.