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   DataBus - Vol 41 No. 2: February-March, 2001
President's Column

Developing Our Web Pages To Better Serve the Membership

In the last President's Column, I talked about the organizational effort required to produce a conference that would meet the needs of each attendee. The annual conference is but one of the many benefits that are provided to our membership. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss two more benefits that will be developed this year to assist our members in the performance of their job responsibilities. I plan on working very closely with Addison Ching to expand the web presence of CEDPA. We have discovered that our electronic world is assuming a much larger role for us than even we anticipated. We have tried rather unsuccessfully for the past three years to generate attendance at our Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings and with little success. Our suspicion is that the web has replaced the SIG meetings as a more personalized way to gather information. I regret loosing the networking and information sharing that happened at SIGS. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet again with friends from around the State, but realize that taking a full day from work is difficult for many. To fill in the information gap resulting from the loss of SIGS, the Board of Directors has authorized the fuller development of CEDPA's web presence.
First and foremost, we will organize a Job Center. The center will contain a number of features. It will afford to members the ability to post job openings for technology positions. We will maintain the posting until the position is filled or the expiration date is reached. An archive will also be maintained in case the job is again vacated. The posting will contain all of the information usually associated with a position including district information, hours, pay, duties, reporting details, contact information and any other relevant facts you would care to list. The postings will be searchable and will also be organized by the various classes of jobs within our organizations. Posting will be done through a browser-based form and will require proof of membership (info on this coming in another column).
The second component of the Job Center will be a database of job descriptions. Once again we will provide these in a searchable format and organized around job types. These descriptions will probably be available in pdf and MS Word format. We will attempt to bring some uniformity to the postings so that they can be compared. As an outgrowth of this function, I hope to have a salary comparison table developed. This should be most useful given the competitive nature of our industry today. It should also be helpful in negotiating for salary adjustments for positions within your organizations.
Finally, I would like to see an area in the Job Center for assistance for applicants or for managers who are seeking applicants. In this area there might be tips on resume writing or at least a list of sites that offer this service. We could post a short synopsis of current trends in the industry as they relate to job designs. There should be a Human Resources area that will list opportunities for training to keep current, perhaps even some suggestions on how to alleviate stress on the job. There are many avenues we can take in this design.
As we use the web more frequently to communicate, CEDPA will use its web presence to organize information to facilitate that communication. We already have listservs that are used by many in the educational technology community. The next iteration of the listservs will maintain the electronic dialog in a searchable archive so that members can get to information that was posted previously. This should be helpful in gathering information on topical issues as they present themselves to you. When processing erate applications, a feature like this could prove invaluable. It will help in the review of comments on various student or financial packages. It can even help with contact information for various issues or practices.
Another particular area that would be most helpful would be one that maintains information on bids. There are many facets to bid preparation and CEDPA will attempt to organize this process in a manner that facilitates the development of bids. Maybe we can call this area Bid Central. There will be a database of bids that have already been posted. This will provide the member with language that can be used for bid writing. We hope to begin developing consensus about writing bids so that others might piggy-back on well developed bid packages. If we are really successful, we might even help to develop consortia to leverage our purchasing power. Certainly at least, by having access to many bid proposals and other information as it relates to bids, our members can assure their organizations of well prepared documents. Bid Central could also list bids that are current from around the State including information on CMAS, Calnet and other statewide instrument for purchasing equipment or services.
As you can see, our goals are ambitious but attainable. I have also not detailed an exclusive list of services that we might offer. The Board of Directors is committed to bringing you any help to assist you at work. We would appreciate any input you might give before the development of these services to make sure we include features that you would like to see. We will also design in a feedback mechanism so that you might give us additional input once the service is available.