Digital Learning Committee Action Plan

In April 2020, the Board of Directors approved this Action Plan of the Digital Learning Committee (formerly known as the Online Programs and Professional Education Working Group) and a phased implementation of the listed activities over the next three to five years in support of the Strategic Plan. The activities will be reviewed by the Board for funding on an annual basis.

Strategic Issue

ASHG envisions a world in which people everywhere realize the benefits of genetics and genomics research and seeks to advance understanding and appreciation of that research to advance science, health, and society. Based on the Strategic Plan, the DLC will focus on engaging the genetics and genomics community through digital content to increase learning opportunities, career growth and training, as well as provide a new year-round forum (outside of the Annual Meeting) to increase awareness around advocacy, diversity, and public engagement strategies.

Desired Outcomes:

  • ASHG members see the Society as an important year-round source for high quality, engaging digital programs and members value interacting with each other in an inclusive space to develop their skills through these tools.
  • Geneticists at all levels increase their expertise of the newest research, tools, techniques, and career options across the genetics and genomics field. They are also better informed of best practices around public outreach, advocacy, and the communication of ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics and genomics research.
  • ASHG professional education programs demonstrate the added value of membership with a goal of encouraging early renewals as well as recruiting new members to join the Society
  • ASHG is better able to reach, engage, and equitably serve researchers worldwide by fully leveraging and deploying technology platforms to provide year-round online professional education.

Guiding Principles

  • DLC works collaboratively with other committees to facilitate development of digital programs around topic areas including career development, advocacy, public awareness, diversity, and ELSI issues.
  • Selected topics, speakers, moderators, and images should reflect the broad diversity of the research community.
  • DLC will offer strategic input on funding opportunities and educational grants cultivated by ASHG staff that are available for digital and professional education programs, helping to ensure they advance ASHG strategic objectives.
  • ASHG will pursue strategies with broad reach and impact, avoid duplicative efforts, and leverage partnerships and technologies that enable us to reach more of our target audience. The Society may also test new strategies in smaller settings, with the intent to build on successful models.
  • ASHG professional education programs prioritize content driven by member needs and include an explicit added benefit for ASHG members.

DLC will play a leadership role in content development on novel scientific education topics, and a coordinating and organizational role for career development, advocacy, public awareness, diversity, and ELSI topics.  On the latter, program development and implementation would be the responsibility of individual committees. DLC staff liaisons will be responsible for helping them develop those efforts within an approved editorial calendar guided by the DLC and being mindful of budget parameters. They will also work with other staff to understand likely resource needs and capacities and support planning by other committees.

  1. Planning And Implementation: DLC will guide staff to develop, maintain, and implement a year-round regular content stream of ASHG digital programs guided by an editorial calendar through direct calls to and in alignment with other committees’ action plans including the Career Development Committee (CDC), the Government and Public Advocacy Committee (GPAC), the Professional Practice and Social Implications Committee (PPSI), and the Public Education and Awareness Committee (PEAC). DLC oversight will ensure that a broad array of topics will be covered that meet the needs of the ASHG membership with minimal overlap across all content areas.
    1. Implement a series of ASHG Digital Programs – DLC will have oversight of the Digital Programs through an editorial calendar, developed and maintained by ASHG staff, with input from other committees and AJHG. DLC will offer feedback on new content types, monitoring and evaluation efforts, and oversee implementation of digital programs from all the ASHG committees, including AJHG. They will involve members through surveys and explore ways to engage members in topic development to ensure that member needs are being met throughout the process.
  2. Content Creation: DLC will work with the community to cultivate a diverse list of scientific topics and potential speakers and will help convert them into digital program content that is of high interest to current and potential ASHG members. DLC will ensure a broad range of topics are included that span basic, translational, and clinical work in the genetics and genomics field.
      1. Webinars – As a part of the ASHG digital programs editorial calendar, DLC will choose speakers and popular topics from across the genetics and genomics field and convert them into live or pre-recorded webinars of various lengths including short, interactive pieces up to longer, training length webinar series.
      2. AM Content Capture – DLC will work with input from the Program committee and ASHG staff to determine which events to capture at ASHG Annual Meetings. These events will then be broken down into shorter, digestible pieces for posting and further dissemination on the LMS platform. DLC will help to guide ideas for how to maximize the use of AM footage after the meeting to keep members engaged online after the in-person event.
      3. Videos – DLC  and ASHG staff will work with WebsEdge vendor at the ASHG annual meeting to capture video interviews with ASHG members that can be turned into short videos on various topics of interest on the newest trends in the field of genetics and genomics. DLC would select the topics and speakers to interview, ASHG staff would aid in question development.
      4. Audio Stories – Capture audio interviews with ASHG members on various topics including their career trajectory, their research, and their outreach and advocacy efforts, to be shared in series aimed at insights into the scientists who make up ASHG.
      5. Twitter Journal Club – DLC and ASHG staff will coordinate a regular journal club, using Twitter, to bring together ASHG members and other interested geneticists to discuss papers and pre-prints from across the field for a virtual journal club. DLC would select the papers to be featured to make sure the breadth of the field was represented.
  3. Technology Innovation: DLC, with support from ASHG staff, will experiment with emerging technologies and platforms that enable us to reach more of our target audiences, wherever they are.
    1. LMS platform – DLC, with guidance from ASHG staff, will be provide high-level guidance during the selection of a new LMS platform and webinar service provider that will allow for growth and scalability of ASHG digital programs. This new LMS will act as a hub for all online professional education for ASHG as the digital programs’ portfolio continues to grow and expand in the coming years.
  4. Virtual Meeting: DLC will plan to host a pilot virtual meeting on a scientific topic (or topics) that is of high interest to ASHG members, including investigating possible mechanisms for financial support of the meeting, along with ASHG staff.
    1. Virtual Meeting – DLC and ASHG staff will host a day-long virtual meeting (ideally in the spring/summer of 2021) on a scientific topic of interest to many ASHG members. Prior to the event, they will submit a grant to apply for funding to cover the cost associated with the meeting.


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