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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Communicating with centres

The recent satisfaction survey exposed two criticisms of the service we provide: (1) the way we recruit people to help us; and (2) the way we communicate with centres. I'll say more about recruiment another day, but I would like to discuss communications today.

The specific criticism about communications was that we use too many different ways of communicating with you, such as our website and Blogger and Twitter. A frequent comment was: "Why don't you put everything in one place?".

Well, we do. We put everything on the SQA website. But there are controls about the sort of thing that can be shared on the website. It's fine for documentation (such as Arrangements) but it's not designed to keep you up-to-date with daily developments. The Computing pages are as complete as the pages for any other subject area -- but we also use social media to communicate with you.

For example, this blog is ideal for recording day-to-day developments. It's what blogs are for. You don't have to follow the blog but, if you do, you will know exactly what we're doing and, more importantly, what's coming. It also provides an opportunity for you to feedback to the team using the comment facility. Similarly, Twitter has a unique purpose. It's great for short, frequent, specific messages. For example, we use it when one of the team is unavailable (perhaps on holiday), which might be important if you are waiting for a reply. These services can be accessed from various devices, such as PCs, smartphones and TVs, meaning that you can always keep up-to-date.

So we plan to continue to use the full range of communication tools that we have been using. You won't miss anything important if you stick with update letters and the website, but we will also continue to use Blogger and Twitter and, perhaps, new social media tools when we think they will improve communications.

SQA has a long tradition of working with centres in a transparent, consultative and collaborative way. Social media is a great way of continuing that tradition.

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