The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM) has recently updated its website to significantly expand its content for alumni. Here’s my best effort to explain what’s going on.
First off, this will probably work best if you open the alumni.umich.edu site in a separate browser window, so you can follow along as I offer my explanation of what’s new.
Most of the home page describes various benefits of joining the Alumni Association. The only comment I’ll add is that, in addition to everything you’ll find here, AAUM membership will help support all of the activities of your local Seattle club, and will often provide you with discounts to our local events. If you’re not already a member then I would encourage you to join, but you won’t need to be a member to fully participate in everything I’ll describe below.
At the top of this page, and most others, you should see two rows of links. The top row offers your primary navigational aids, and these should remain the same as you navigate through the site.
The most interesting addition here is the link titled Community. This is a gateway into a whole new online forum that the Alumni Association is providing to all U-M alumni (not just Association members). Click on that now.
If you haven’t already logged in to the site, then now is a good time to do so. If you don’t yet have a U-M uniqname, then see this page for info on obtaining one.
Once you’re logged in, you should be on your Dashboard page.
If you now look on the second menu row at the top of the page, you’ll see something that says Alumni Directory. This offers a new and significantly enhanced way to search a database of U-M alumni using all sorts of different criteria. This is a very handy tool, but I’ll let you explore that on your own, and won’t offer any further explanation of that option here. Click on ‘My Dashboard’ on the second menu row to return to the previous page.
You’ll see various options on your Dashboard to view and update your Profile, and to add a profile photo. If you haven’t taken those steps yet, then I would encourage you to do so. To make it easy, you’ll find an option to import your existing info from LinkedIn, once you get to your profile page. Updating your profile will make it easier for other alumni to find you in the Directory, and for them to get to know you on the new forum.
The new U-M Alumni Community offering can actually support a number of different Communities. If you click on My Communities, you’ll see a list of all of the communities to which you belong, or to which you have access. At a minimum, you should see two distinct Communities here: the Wolverine Forum, and the Alumni Ticket Exchange. When you’re on your Dashboard page, you will see the latest posts from all Communities listed on this page. At this point, you may not have joined all of the communities that are open to you. If not, then feel free to click on ‘Join’ to join additional ones.
The Wolverine Forum is the primary Community intended for the use of all alums, to discuss pretty much any topic of interest to alumni. Because of this, you’ll see a special ‘Wolverine Forum’ link to take you straight to this Community.
Once you’ve entered into a particular Community, such as the Wolverine Forum, you’ll see a new list of tabs towards the top of the page, just below the second menu row. You’ll start out on the Community Home, where you’ll see the latest discussion posts. However, to dive deeper into the discussions, click on the Discussion tab.
From the Discussion tab you’ll see a longer list of recent posts. From this page you’ll also be able to post a new message of your own, thus starting a new thread within your Community. You’ll also be able to filter the list through use of a search term (such as ‘Seattle’). You’ll also see a couple of drop-down options to control which posts you see on the top of the list, and which posts are included in the list.
Note that posts may have one or more Tags associated with them. These Tags can aid in further filtering the Community posts to topics of a particular interest. You can also add one or more Tags when you Post a New Message. Note that Seattle is a special Tag to be used on items of special interest to alums in and around our Emerald City.
Now that you know about Tags, you might want to return to your Profile page. Unfortunately, they’re not called Tags here, but those Topics identified in the Stated Interests section are actually a list of Tags that you have an interest in. You should see ‘Seattle’ here, and may also see ‘U-M Community’, which is a big bucket of items of theoretical interest to the entire U-M community. But feel free to remove or add Topics here to reflect your interests. By the way, if you click on ‘Add a Topic’ you will see a drop-down list of Tags that you can choose from.
Finally, if you look at the Menu Bar on our UMSeattle.org site, at the top of every page, you’ll see an item called ‘AAUM’ with some handy dropdowns providing shortcuts to some of these new locations on the Alumni Association site. Feel free to use these to go directly to areas of interest on the new site.
Well, I think that’s it! Sorry this was long and a bit complicated, but there’s a lot going that’s new on the Alumni Association site, and I wanted to try to do justice to a good chunk of it!
Feel free to send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or questions.