Thursday, 3 July 2014

‘Creative Communities’: Web Policy Awareness



RMIT's Web Policy Awareness video.

Last week, RMIT launched the 'Creative Communities' policy awareness campaign. This is an initiative to promote the University's new web policy suite: Web Content, New Websites, UX, Accessibility, Mobile Channels and Social Media. It's often said you can't make policy interesting, but that's just a challenge to be overcome. In the process, we might even make it fun. What's the bet?

Over the coming weeks, the 'Creative Communities' team will post articles and interviews here on Blog Central. We'll discuss web strategy, digital innovation, best practice, theory, case studies, analytics and research. We'll speak to leading practitioners from RMIT and beyond.

The campaign takes the metaphor of urban planning. Great urban planning shapes sustainable, creative communities by consulting with stakeholders and the public before, during and after implementation. The best urban planning encourages people to take an interest in their community, to self-regulate rather than wield the Big Stick of compliance. Crucially, it allows experimentation to flourish; it's a philosophy far from Big Brother. Similarly, our web policies embed these qualities through a collaborative, well-organised and dynamic online presence.

Our campaign explains how the policy suite gives RMIT the edge in a competitive online environment: by delivering a creative digital presence that staff and students will love. We'll focus on the set of instructions each web policy contains. Think of these as a policy's 'user manual', separate from the purely procedural and compliance elements.

Instructions contain tips, tricks and guidance for planning dynamic digital strategies. They guide people working on multi-channel collaboration and they encourage innovation. They explain how to incorporate user research and testing into design and content creation, so work reaches  the widest possible audience. They're drawn from extensive research and written only after community consultation. They're designed to be responsive to the rapidly changing digital world, with regular review cycles accounting for volatile digital ground shifting suddenly beneath our feet.

We'll look at practical examples of how these instructions work, and we'll unpack the best-practice research that birthed them. That's where the policies come alive: empowering people to confidently create, manage and maintain an online presence.

We want to do two things: expose the good work RMIT is doing in the online world, via the lens of the web policy suite. Then, we want to expose RMIT to the game-changing developments taking place in the wider digital arena  from within and without higher education. When it comes to making the most of the online climate, it's an exciting, and slightly scary, time for the university sector. There are many challenges to be overcome, but also numerous prospects for creating, engaging, recruiting, connecting, conversing and collaborating in ways once thought impossible.

Join us, as we explore how RMIT is rising to meet these challenges. Happy digital travels.

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