Exploring APNIC’s 2021 themes: Online Participation

By on 7 May 2021

Categories: Community Development

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This is the second in a short series of blog posts describing the four themes from the APNIC 2021 Activity Plan and what they mean for the APNIC membership and community. You can read the other posts in the series here.

The APNIC community is widely distributed, but as an Internet community it is also well connected. For this reason, we have always used the Internet to communicate and collaborate online with APNIC’s services to Members and working together as a community. 

As technologies have improved, online activity levels have increased. APNIC conferences have offered webcasts and remote participation, real time text captions, live chat rooms and, these days, fully online elections. APNIC’s training has been increasingly available online, with more and more classes and webinars being delivered through the APNIC Academy platform, along with training workshops and hands-on online Labs for all.

The APNIC Secretariat has worked hard to develop online services, and to support online participation and engagement, but we can always improve. In fact, during the 2019 strategic planning process, the APNIC Executive Council identified this need and determined that it should be a higher priority for 2020-2023, to continue to better service the huge APNIC community. This, of course, was before the COVID-19 virus had been recognized as a pandemic.

With the pandemic emerging in early 2020, online participation was suddenly the only way to take part in community activities. After the face-to-face APRICOT 2020 in Melbourne, all of APNIC’s face-to-face events were cancelled, and training and conferences moved to a completely online mode. Many community activities were affected as well, and APNIC helped to organize the ‘Networking From Home‘ events, in an effort to fill the gaps left by cancellations of NOGs and other events.

Later in 2020, during planning for 2021, it became clear the effects of COVID-19 would continue for at least the coming year and maybe much longer. This meant our ‘new normal’ would continue to be online, and we should be prepared, at the Secretariat, to continue supporting and improving the online experience for all Members. This is why ‘Online Participation’ was chosen as one of four themes for 2021. 

We do feel there is much more work to be done in helping the APNIC community to be more engaged and to participate more effectively in APNIC and other community activities. 

Fortunately, the recent global boom in online activity has produced many new tools and services. There are more and better options for a whole range of online activities, including meetings, conferences, professional/social networking, and advanced collaboration. At the APNIC Secretariat, there are now several developments underway.

Website improvements will make information easier to find and digest, and more accessible to those with disabilities. Updates to the APNIC Academy include new and improved course content and functionality, including online support for Technical Assistance. 

Last year’s live social media events with community experts will continue, alongside high-quality community content on the APNIC Blog. And for the first time, APNIC is running a fully-online Fellowship program ahead of APNIC 52.

We are also developing a new platform for online communications and collaboration (yet to be named), to bring the community together in more powerful and flexible ways. This will start initially with users of the APNIC Academy, and then encompass other community activities including integrating the ageing APNIC mailing lists with better online discussion tools (especially for APNIC Special Interest Groups).

All community members are invited to get involved in the product development process at APNIC by sharing thoughts and feedback on work under development. APNIC’s User Feedback Group is a collaborative program open to anyone in the community interested in helping improve products and services for the whole community.

You can sign up via apnic.net/your-say and the team will be in touch with opportunities to collaborate and provide feedback.

In future instalments of this series, the other two APNIC themes for 2021 will be discussed. Please stay tuned!

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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