It is most important for all members to appreciate that the often very time-consuming and technologically challenging work of WAOE Officers is undertaken on a completely voluntary basis. Behind what we hope presents to you - perhaps not always convincingly! - as a smooth-running and efficient system of electronic communications lies a huge and continuing effort to find simple and low- or no-cost ways of maintaining good communication links and discussion methods across a far flung and very loose cluster of some 900 computers which use a wide variety of not-always-compatible operating systems and browsers and other software. The processing of registrations and applications for voting membership, for example, takes place mostly by email, for lack of resources and time to put automated systems in place.
How Members Can Help
Members can help reduce this effort significantly by falling in with WAOE's communication and discussion arrangements. If we can be confident that all members are linked to WAOE-News, for example, we won't feel that we have to send copies of important announcements to WAOE-Views, the WAOE WebBoard and perhaps even individual email addresses in order to be sure that we've covered everyone. A lot of extra typing work and computer time gets used up in such a scatter-gun approach. So, we'd like to direct you to the summary of the communication and discussion arrangements we have provided for new members, to assist them to participate fully and rewardingly in WAOE, and to urge all members to use each component of the communication system for its intended purposes.
Release of Personal Information
You might recall that the top of the registration form in the Membership pages of the WAOE Website contains the statement, "This information will be stored in the WAOE database, and will not be made publically available without your prior consent." This gives a clear indication of our commitment to respect members' privacy and to maintain strictly the confidentiality of personal details provided through the registration process. Unfortunately, however, it would be a nearly impossible task to apply the statement literally at the individual level of membership.
No addresses or other personal information about members will be released to persons or organisations outside WAOE. However, to make the various parts of WAOE functional, it is essential that Officers are able to communicate freely with members, and members are able to contact each other. This necessitates the distribution of personal information within the organisation, but normally only names and email addresses will be required. It would obviously be a wasteful and unmanageable burden for the members of WAOE's Coordinating Ring to have to seek permission on an individual basis for the release of some 900 members' names and email addresses. Therefore, we need to obtain permission in a more efficient way for lists containing your first and last names and your email address to be distributed to members of the Ring, in the first instance, and thereafter to the Committees or OCREWs in which you have expressed an interest; to project, discussion and other groups that are started from time to time; and to members of WAOE at large. All other information in the membership database will be kept confidential, accessible only by the Coordinating Ring, as WAOE's executive management body.
We are (still) in the process of finalising a new registration form which will automatically authorise the release of names and email addresses according to the policy described above. Until that form comes into use as part of our totally re-organised registration, database management and fee-payment procedures for the new 1999/2000 financial year and beyond, we need to take a simple collective approach to securing the authorised release of limited personal information within the Association.
This article constitutes a notice to all members of WAOE requesting the release of personal information within the Association, normally limited to members' names and email addresses. If, after reading the notice, you have an objection to these details being made known or distributed to other officers and members of WAOE than the Directors and the Coordinating Ring, please advise the Membership Officer immediately. If you do so object, the Membership Officer will need to discuss with you some other appropriate way or ways in which you will be able to participate fully in the main activities of WAOE. Any suggestion you can make when sending your message of objection would be very welcome.
Waiver of Membership Fees/Dues - Policy
WAOE has adopted the following policy on waiver of/exemption from payment of membership fees/dues for the 1999/2000 period. This statement is summarised from the official Minutes of the Planning and Finance Committee for April 1999. If you wish to read the original resolution as it was subsequently adopted by the Board of Directors, go to http://www2.ec.erau.edu:8080/read?558,24(If you cannot get to this page, go to the WAOE WebBoard and login by entering the first part of your email address (before @), and enter the password "waoe," without the quotes. If you stil have difficulty, contact the WebBoard Manager,Mike Warner.)
All members of WAOE are expected to pay the $US10 membership fee or dues from July 1 1999, unless they have applied for and received waiver. There are no provisions for waiver of fees or dues to be applied automatically by or on behalf of the WAOE Board of Directors; all waivers must be applied for by individual members.******************
Members may initiate requests to the Membership Officer for waiver of fees on one or more of the following grounds:* As an alternative to seeking waiver of fees on the basis of excessive funds transfer or currency exchange costs, members may apply to have this expenditure applied to any future costs they might incur for participation in WAOE activities over the next two years (eg the online professional development course being developed by Nick Bowskill).
They are providing service to the Association (eg convening a Committee or OCREW or managing a project); The costs of funds transfer or currency exchange would be excessive in relation to the fee amount of $US10 *; They are in a situation of severe financial hardship.
Normally, applications will be considered by the Membership Officer in terms of the policy as summarised here, and in consultation, if necessary, with the Treasurer or with the full Board of Directors.
WAOE will accept at face value any member's statement of hardship or excessive transfer/conversion fees, and we will make a standardized reply emphasizing that the service-in-lieu will be the sole recourse for any future application for waiver of fees. All service-in-lieu requests will be confirmed by the applicable Committee Chair or OCREW Convener or WAOE Coordinating Ring member.
In the event that a member's initial application for waiver of fees or dues is not accepted, the member will have the right to seek a review of his/her application by the full Board of Directors. Such members will be advised of this right and the process to be followed as the occasion arises.
Waiver of Membership Fees/Dues - Procedure
To apply for waiver of fees/dues, send an email message to the Membership Officer.
For convenience, applicants may copy/cut and paste the following text into their email message:
I wish to apply for waiver of the WAOE membership fee/dues for the 1999/2000 period.
My application is based on the following ground(s):Please strike through whichever ground(s) are NOT applicable.
I am providing service to the Association; The costs of funds transfer or currency exchange would be excessive; I am in a situation of severe financial hardship.
In support of my application I wish to present the following information:
Please insert an appropriate statement, keeping it as brief as possible.
Notifying Change of Email Address
It can sometimes be a real headache keeping track of members who change their email addresses, or who occasionally use a different email address for corresponding with us than the one through which they registered and which therefore is listed on the official database. Such changes or differences of address account for at least some of the "permanent fatal errors" that get reported with each large-scale mailing that goes out to members. No doubt time wasted in contact the members concerned double-checking WAOE's membership records and various mailing lists is greater now - while such details are captured and maintained on an essentially manual basis - than they will be once our systems become fully automated. However, it seem very probable that effective communication within WAOE will always be reliant to a significant extent on the willingness of members themselves to keep us informed of their whereabouts.
As soon as we are able to attend to this matter among the various priorities for action to improve the database and query system, an electronic form for notifying changes of email address will be provided on the WAOE Website and in each issue of WEB. In the meantime, we request members who change their contact details to take the initiative and trouble to notify us as soon as possible.
Procedure: Send an untitled email message to the Membership Officer containing the text (without the quotes): "I wish to advise that I have changed by email address. My new email address is < insert details >."
How to Unsubscribe from Listserves or Resign from WAOE
For a quick check-list of the procedures for getting off WAOE's listserves or the mailing list for WEB, or for resigning from the Association altogether, go to the WAOE's Communications page of the WAOE Orientation Course. Scroll down to the heading "How to Unsubscribe from Listserves or Resign from WAOE," or use the link in the frame on the left hand side of the page.
About WAOE Policies and Procedures
In this still early formative period for WAOE, it is probably inevitable that items for information and discussion put out by WAOE's elected and appointed Officers will predominate in our information venues and discussion forums, because we are all very keen to help members to understand and reflect on what the Association is about and to encourage them to be active in its work. In past issues of the bulletin, there has been a tendency - in the absence of another column better suited to that purpose - for managerial matters to take up a larger share of the space under the WEB Ideas and Issues heading than they should. This has tended to squeeze out other topics of broader interest to online educators which might have appeared there, and perhaps even discouraged members from contributing to discussion of those topics, or raising topics of their own.
From this issue onwards, we will dedicate space in the WAOE Policies and Procedrues column to updating information about WAOE as an organisation, and encouraging the active involvement of members in our online meetings, Committees and OCREWs, discussion forums, projects, special events etc and to take all other opportunities that present themselves for making a contribution to WAOE.