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OnlinePhalanxPuffPiece

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Online Collaboration

 Mike Bailey, Mark Gallagher,Corrina Ross-Witkowski

 and the MORSNet Community

 

Pay money for a TV signal?  Unimaginable!  Need an entire Meg of disk storage space?  Unreasonable!  Email someone when you can call them?  Incomprehensible!!  Text message someone you could email.  Why would you?    Advancing information technology continually challenges and changes our definition of “reasonable” all the time.  MORS wants you to become more involved with the technological tools that can facilitate your professional growth and the growth of the Society.

 

Collaborate with fellow MORS members, whenever you want, from wherever you want.  Starting right after the last MORSS, hundreds (well, maybe one hundred plus a few) of your fellow Society members have begun to aggressively experiment with web technology.  The goal is to make the MORS membership much more valuable by expanding the Society's greatest asset -- the network of MORS members and participants.

 

The Philosophy

In order to spur this experiment along, the MORS leadership has created and followed specific guidelines:

  • Foster Office-to-Member, Member-to-Member, and Member-to-World collaboration;
  • Don’t force anyone to do anything;
  • Coach anyone who asks for help; and finally,
  • Don’t buy anything we’re not sure we’ll use.

 

Which leads inexorably to: Maximize experimentation and experience.  Our approach has been to emphasize free and low-cost online opportunities for collaboration and connection.  Below is a brief description of some of our initiatives.

 

MORS.org

MORS has used www.mors.org as the main site for the Society for years.  The main purpose of this site has been to announce events, post attendee forms and make meeting documents available online.  The home site has also served as an online space for the Society to announce its presence.  This year, www.mors.org is getting a facelift and is acquiring significant functionality to allow for online meeting registration, provide for a members-only access area and to offer the PHALANX bulletin and MOR journal online.

 

MORS Wiki Site

http://morsnet.pbwiki.com/FrontPage is built on some simple wiki technology allowing approved contributors to post messages and input information in a mannervery similar to any word processor. Any MORS member can request contributor privileges to collaborate on current MORS business.  These collaborations include organizing symposium working groups (WG), developing special meeting and workshop topics and outlines, building a MORS must-read list, or other initiatives.  Typically, this collaboration involves scheduling meetings, hammering out charters, identifying interested MORS members and uploading pertinent files.  The great (and scary) thing is that these pages are accessible to the public.  So, if you’re curious about the inner workings of one of the WG’s or any of the MORS Board committees, you might be able to get some great information from http://morsnet.pbwiki.com/FrontPage.  This site is gently and fairly moderated by Mike Bailey.

 

DCO

Defense Connect Online https://www.dco.dod.mil is a DoD site that facilitates web-based meetings.  Attendees visit the DCO website, connect to a meeting, and get a desktop showing a PowerPoint window, an attendee window, and a chat window.  The meeting moderator can take flash polls soliciting the opinions of the attendees.  DCO also supports a talking head window, but MORSians typically demure from using this feature. Audio is supported by DCO, so the speaker speaks and the audience reacts.  Anyone familiar with IWS, PerfectMeeting, or NetMeeting will find DCO comfortable to use, and anyone with a .mil email address can run meetings.  Recently, several of our special meeting organizers are using DCO in lieu of the typical telecon or meatspace meeting to efficiently plan their events.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a commercial social networking site for professionals.  You "connect" to other LinkedIn members, and from there you get to look at all of that member's connections.  (You can turn off that feature in your setup if you do not want your connections to be able to view each other).  In this way, you come in contact with LinkedIn members sharing similar interests – its like a next-neighbor search of the LinkedIn social network.   MORS members recently created a LinkedIn group accessible at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=119203 .  The MORS group currently has over one hundred members.

 

Wikipedia

Everyone knows about wikipedia.  Did you know there's a small article on MORS at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Operations_Research_Society?  If you are a MORS historian, or you want to add other information about MORS in this widely-viewed forum, Wikipedia is extremely user friendly.  You must create an account and then you can start sharing your knowledge with the users of Wikipedia.

 

Impact on Membership

As stated at the most recent MORSS by Past-President Jack Keene, MORS is undergoing a transition.  Membership expansion is a priority if we wish to continue to expand MORS.  MORS is pursuing several initiatives to make the membership larger and younger without jeopardizing the needs of our long time members.  Online collaboration is a tool set we can offer our membership with just a little effort, and we think prospective members will be attracted by online opportunities.  As we reach out to new members, especially those from nontraditional national security fields like Homeland Security or the Social Sciences, the web offers a frictionless pathway into our organization.  So, if you’re a MORS member and you're encouraged, try one of these sites.  If you know someone you think is a prospective member, send them some links and ask them what they think.  If you have ideas for more venues, services, or components, contact Mike Bailey mikebaileyvienna@earthlink.net.

 

Author's note:  This article was actually written collaboratively on MORSNet.  The three authors listed made major contributions, but the page was visited by twenty four MORSNet contributors.  We're really not too sure who wrote what.

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