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Change is Here: Our Online Learning Has Evolved

Posted on July 8, 2016
By Megan Wanless

When Tamarack was founded back in 2002, the use of technology in the non-profit sector was very different. Online communication was far less interactive and responsive, and navigating the world wide web was done almost exclusively at our desks, not on-the-go from our smartphones. Fast forward 14 years, and now Tamarack is an Institute in its adolescence – a little more mature, a little less inexperienced, still fascinated with the possibilities that technology brings to the work we do.  What have we been doing all of this time?

We have: 

  • Launched multiple domains to support tamarackcommunity.ca, including vibrantcommunities.ca and deepeningcommunity.ca: two of our most important campaigns with communities of practice trailblazing the path towards poverty reduction and more resilient communities; 
  • Experimented with online communities, to provide members of our learning community with interactive spaces -- including tamarackcci.ca to engage in important dialogues about working collaboratively. In this space, practitioners from around the globe can meet and share useful resources and experiences; 
  • Produced more than 100 informative webinars and podcasts featuring inspirational and innovative thought leaders in the field;
  • Joined three social media platforms, allowing us to connect and interact in real time with rapidly growing communities of inspiring, grassroots and professional change makers.

What hasn`t changed? Our commitment to community change. From the beginning, our hope has been to create an Institute that would deeply understand community change, and help organizations and citizens work better together for a collective impact. Technology may be complicated, but the challenges communities face everywhere are the most complex - from climate change to economic inequality to disruptive innovation. As we have been exploring since the inaugural Community Engagement: The Next Generation workshop, we see technology not as an answer for community, but rather as a tool that has the ability to make our work more efficient and effective and helps us ask more informed questions.

One question we are constantly asking ourselves is: How can we better support our learners as they face these complex challenges?

Change is at the centre of our work and we have made some major changes ourselves in order to support our learners and make your work easier and more effective. This summer we are proud and excited to unveil our brand new online home! At www.tamarackcommunity.ca, you will find:Tamarack Website.png

  • The Latest - It is our promise to bring you the latest in community change. Explore our Resource Library and Latest sections to read, listen and watch ideas from our learning community and beyond.

  • Events - We're hosting the same great events with our learners in mind. Check out our Events section for information about upcoming face-to-face learning events – including this Fall’s Community Change Institute – along with upcoming free webinars to advance your learning and professional development.

  • Ideas - Explore the Ideas section for more on Tamarack’s five BIG ideas for making significant community change – Collective Impact, Community Engagement, Collaborative Leadership, Community Development and Evaluating Community Impact.

  • Practices | Tamarack’s Practices section profiles our work to turn theory into practice by learning more about our two practice areas: Vibrant Communities: Cities Reducing Poverty and Deepening Community.

  • About | The About section is where you can read about our story, our expertise, and how we work. You can also get to know the faces of Tamarack.

We knew our old website needed a facelift and a reimagining of how to bring you the latest tools, resources and thinking for community change. After all, our job is to make your work easier and more effective. But, if you have ever launched a new website, you will know it is no easy feat. Admittedly, we have felt a bit nervous along the way. Change can be exciting yet nerve-wracking at times – what will our Learning Community think of this change? Does our new site do the trick? We'd love your feedback so that we can continue to refine it in order to ensure we are doing everything in our power to support you and the incredible work that you do.  Fill out this short survey to let us know your thoughts or use the Tell Me More tab on the bottom right hand side of our homepage.

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Megan Wanless


Megan Wanless

By Megan Wanless

Megan is a Senior Community Animator at the Tamarack Institute and works across the organization to improve and deepen engagement for over 23,000 members within Tamarack’s learning communities and online platforms. Specializing in engagement, Megan animates Tamarack's online spaces and helps leverage Tamarack's integrated communications systems to ensure we deliver the best and latest in community change to change makers across the country and beyond.  Prior to Tamarack, Megan worked in the field of international development, earning a Master of Social Science degree from the University of Edinburgh and worked in Malawi to engage with communities around sexual and reproductive rights using applied theatre. With a Bachelor Arts Degree in Theatre, Megan has been leveraging theatre as a tool for community change for many years and has had the pleasure of practicing it in communities within Canada as well as South Africa, Uganda and Malawi.

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