At Humanities Commons, one of our core values is cultivating community. Bringing together people with multiple perspectives and backgrounds enables us to work toward deeper collective understanding, enriching our connections to one another and to the world. In this spirit, we’re excited to announce we’re revamping our user advisory group!
This group has existed in various forms since 2021, but we’ve decided to make a few changes to the current structure in order to create more opportunities for us to directly engage with our users. The primary goals of this group are to:
- Empower our users to have a larger say in the development of the Commons
- Create opportunities for our users to connect with our team and within the Commons community
- Communicate directly with users whose values align with those of the Commons
- Provide space for the open exchange of knowledge and ideas between the Commons team and our users
What Participation Looks Like
As part of the user advisory group, the two main modes of participation will be quarterly Zoom meet-ups and a special Commons group for participants. The meetups will take place four times per year–March, June, September, and December–and will last for approximately an hour and a half. These meetups will include a brief update on current project updates from the Commons team, and then will transition into more informal discussion on current events or opportunities to network with other participants. At times, this might be a formal presentation from one of our power users, and at others it might be an open-ended discussion on a theme our team has been thinking about. Envision this as a space where you’ll get a first look at the ways our team is changing the academic landscape, and also meet other users with similar interests to yours. Although participation and attendance at these meetups is not mandatory, you must attend at least two of these meetups in order to receive a formal letter of participation and some bonus Commons merch.
If attending meetups isn’t possible for you at the moment but you really want to participate in the group, there will be other opportunities to connect with the Commons team. We’ll be creating a Commons group exclusively for participants to start conversations, connect with each other, and chime in on discussions moderated by our team. From time to time, we’ll reach out about opportunities to provide feedback on upcoming projects and initiatives, including UX testing on some of the new features we’ll be rolling out in the near future. This might include things like an invitation to join a focus group on a new feature for Commons profiles, or answering a short survey on the upcoming redesign of our CORE repository. Completing two of these activities will also make you eligible to receive a letter of participation and some Commons merch!
Perks of Participation
If you’re accepted as a member of the group, you’ll receive:
- Recognition on the Commons website
- An exclusive Commons group to network with other advisory group users
- First look and priority beta testing of new features on the Commons
- Invitations to shape the future of the Commons through surveys, focus groups, and other opportunities
If you attend at least two of the quarterly meetings and/or participate in two of the user activities during your year as a user advisory member, you will also receive:
- A special package of Commons merch
- Certificate and formal letter confirming participation
Joining the Group
Anyone can apply to be part of the user advisory group! If you’d like to apply, please select the button below to fill out our application form, where you’re asked to provide some basic information about yourself and how you currently use Humanities Commons. The application deadline is Thursday, February 22nd. If you’ve been selected to join the group, you’ll hear from us via email by mid-March.
When are the meetups taking place?
Meetups will be held once quarterly, with the first taking place in late March or early April. The subsequent meetups will be held in June, September, and December. Because our team and community is spread across many time zones, please indicate the time zone you currently reside in as part of your application. Once we get a sense of where our users are located, we’ll send a follow up poll to find a time where as many participants can attend as possible.
How long does participation last?
All user advisory group participants are committed to one year of service, with the option to continue in the group for a second year. If you choose to stay, great! You won’t need to re-apply.
When will I receive my merch?
Near the end of your year as part of the group, you’ll hear from us if you’ve met the criteria for receiving merch. As a reminder, you won’t receive merch unless you attend two meetups and/or participate in two engagement activities as specified.
I can’t attend the meetups, so what can I expect as the time commitment for the other engagement activities?
Engagement activities that can earn you a formal letter and merch will range in terms of scope and time commitment. Some of these might be surveys that won’t take you more than a half hour, while others might be focus groups or other more wide-ranging activities. The invitations to participate in these activities will specifically state a time commitment.
I was part of the previous user advisory group. Can I still participate?
If you would like to continue on as a member, we’d be thrilled to have you! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send back a short form.
I have more questions. Who can I contact?
Email us at email@example.com with any questions about the application process or group.