I'm realizing that creating a membership website (a task that I've been working on for about 8 months) has a lot in common with writing a dissertation or publishing a book.
- It's big and overwhelming
- There are not clear guidelines
- It's hard to know when it's good enough
- It's easy to get isolated when you're working on it
- It's hard to do without feedback from others
So I've decided I need to start posting more about the process, and trying to get feedback both here and elsewhere.
Here are some of my thoughts:
- Academics can be isolated
- Academics feel overwhelmed
- Academics often think they are the only ones who feel that way, partly because they are isolated, and because they are afraid to share their feelings with other academics
- Therefore academics need a safe place to go to share these thoughts, and to get feedback, encouragement, and "end the isolation."
My membership site, tentatively named Cafe Academia, will offer such an environment. I'm thinking of having:
- A discussion list or forum
- Programs such as "One-Day Workathons," "Five-Day Quick Starts," "30 Days to a Complete Chapter" to help motivate people to work.
- Teleclasses where subjects are presented and people can discuss everything from dealing with difficult advisors to handling a boring colleague in faculty meetings, or on the academic front, from picking a research topic to submitting articles for publication.
- Interviews with successful academics -- those who have recently finished Ph.D.'s, who have interviewed for jobs, who have spent 2 years on the tenure track, who have negotiated book deals, etc.
- Recordings or MP3's of interviews and teleclasses available to members on the site.
- Checklists, forms, resources and other downloadable products, with new ones available each month.
- Articles in areas relating to becoming a successful and satisfied academic.
I have other ideas, but I'd like to throw it open to others -- any thoughts about the goals of this site, the ideas I have for offerings, or any new ideas of what academics would like to see on this kind of web site?