Small bump in the road and lesson learned. But now the GSN is back, better than ever. We updated the Ruby on Rails platform the site is built on, it has a new fresh look, and we uploaded 2,000+ resources that we acquired from a federal program that is no longer funded. To ensure that the content is discoverable we opened up half of the site so that search engines can locate resources.
Before I get too far into my project, this might be the perfect time to give you a tour of the space.
The GSN is a 3,600+ member (and growing) online community comprised of young people and adults ages 13+. The dashboard gives an overview of the latest happenings on the website, a scrolling banner of the latest information, and a feed of upcoming webinars and the latest tweets.
The sight is broken into four main areas: Clearinghouse, Learn, Plan, and Connect
Clearinghouse houses all of the aforementioned resources that we recently acquired and serves as an unbiased showcase of the service-learning field’s resources. It has a robust search function to help users find exactly what they are looking for.
Learn is where we at NYLC upload all of our free professional development resources including, recorded webinars, downloadable resources, and discussions. We organize this area in different topic areas.
Plan is a user-generated showcase of service-learning projects. We encourage members to upload their project at the inception of the idea vs. after they are all done and build the project as they go. This section will be transformed once the project-planning tool goes live because at this point there is not a lot of incentive for users to upload their projects. Maybe they want to share, see the community as a place to stay organized, or need to collaborate with a peer; but at this point we at NYLC are not supporting service-learning project planners as well as we could.
Connect is where members can organize groups and discussions with peers that they work with locally or colleagues from across the field. It can also serve as a great organizer after an event to stay connected.
Now badges will be integrated across the platform and will encourage participation and contribution in all of the areas. The exact design is still to be decided but it will acknowledge behavior as simple as signing on to creating and administering a group.