The American Accounting Association rolled out the AAACommons (aaacommons.org) at the 2008 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California on August 4, 2008. We hope this collaborative, social networking web platform will allow faculty to share ideas about teaching, research and service. The basic overall structure comprises posting content in various hives and collecting hives in various groups. In the beta version, there are 3 main groups – Teacher2Teacherer, Research2Researcher and IFRS.
Finding a platform:
This effort began as a recommendation from the Intellectual Property Task Force, part of the ongoing strategic efforts of the AAA. Specifically, the recommendation was to implement a platform that would provide value for all members of the AAA. The search and development team got started in November 2007 when Julie Smith-David, Director of the Center for Advancing Business Through IT at Arizona State University, ran a day-long seminar introducing the team to Web 2.0 options. She did such a good job that she was asked to lead the team. We evaluated 15 different platforms and narrowed the list to 3. HiveLive set up a sandbox for the Spring 2008 council meeting and the whole council had a chance to play with it. We eventually decided on HiveLive and signed a contract June 15, 2008.
Developing the beta test:
In just 6 weeks, a team of 17 people worked in 4 parallel efforts to launch at the Annual Meeting.
1) Julie Smith-David, Judy Cothern, Jane Saly and Tracey Sutherland worked on the hives and groups. Tracey provided excellent guidance and kept us focused on the bigger picture.
2) AAA staff (Judy Cothern, Beverly Harrelson, Roland LaTulip, Kathy Casper and Jim Szelminski ) worked on uploading the members.
3) Julie Smith-David, Tracey Sutherland, Diane Hazard, Kathy Casper, Judy Cothern, Beverly Harrelson, Barb Brady, Maureen Kelly & Judy Luther worked on the advertising, logos, posters & plans for the Commons Lounge for the meeting.
4) Susan Crosson worked with CTLA to set up hives and get most of the current posts completed. Our industry partners also contributed a lot of IFRS materials.
It was an exciting few days with a different color-coded theme for each day. The AAA booth in the exhibit hall was transformed into a lounge with 4 computer stations, a camera for taking pictures to upload, and 4-6 people helping faculty get started. Sunday, the team had black polo shirts with “.aaacommons.org” on the back. Monday, AAA President Gary Previts announced the Commons in his opening remarks. The team wore green shirts with “Update your Profile”. Julie Smith-David (the team leader) presented 2 seminars on Monday explaining how we got here, what AAACommons can provide now, and where we might go with it. Tuesday, the team wore purple shirts with “Check out IFRS”. Wednesday, the team wore orange shirts with “Respond to the Weekly Question”. The meeting program had inserts with the same colors and messages. And the lounge changed colors (and candies) daily to match the shirts.
The team worked tirelessly before and during the meeting creating hives, groups, improving the navigation and creating training materials. The participants at the Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting (CTLA) were the first ones to start populating the Commons. All of their materials were posted in hives associated with the Teacher2Teacher group and are the main initial contributors.
What’s there now:
The Teacher2Teacher group is a place to find and share teaching materials such as cases, assignments, tests, PowerPoints, videos, etc. and teaching methods such as tips about handling groups, using different approaches in the classroom, first day issues, attendance issues, learning names, cold calling, encouraging discussion, handling cases, etc. We hope that faculty will post their materials and methods using the various post types already set up. This will be the area in which people will search for teaching material. Teaching Resources will be restricted to Academic and Doctoral student members only. Other student members will not be able to access these resources.
The Researcher2Researcher group is a place to find your working teams, working papers, links to research ideas, and links to journals. You can create your own private working team and add other members to the team. Eventually, you will be able to invite non-AAA members to join so they can access the team site. This team site is where you can share information and files related to a specific project. You can even have a discussion and keep the whole chronology of your work.
In the IFRS group, there are all the posts that have been tagged IFRS. Five industry partners (PWC, E&Y, Deloitte, KPMG, and Grant Thornton) have created their own hives to post all their IFRS information for faculty. In addition, any other materials that are tagged IFRS will show up in this group.
What’s still to come:
The Sections and Regions participation in this platform will be rolled out at their annual meetings over the next year. We hope this web platform will change faculty lives making them more efficient and more educated about all aspects of their work. We can’t yet envision all that will happen on the Commons. We hope you will get involved and share it in ways that help you and your colleagues.
Eventually, the web platform will have some areas open to the public and searchable by google. We are also working on a single sign-on for the Commons and your AAA journals.
What can you do:
Sign-on and check it out. There is a link on the AAA home page (aaahq.org) to the AAACommons. The Sign-on page has a link in case you have forgotten your AAA username and password. When you get there, there is button for New Users on the home page. This will explain how to get started as well as give you quick links to support areas where you can access training videos, post questions and see what others have asked and answered. Let us know what is really cool and what else you might like to see. There are suggestion buttons on the front page and in the Support area. And, most importantly, share your ideas and materials. It will only be successful if members get involve and use this new and exciting tool.