Maine Department of Education – Online Needs Analysis


The Maine Department of Education works with educators, students, families, administrators, and local communities to advance lifelong teaching and learning across the state.

By selecting, deploying, and sustaining a next-generation online media platform for publishing and collaboration, the Department can help improve the ways its staff and partners conduct their work, communicate innovative practices, share data-based success stories, and facilitate a model of continuous, networked learning that can be used by teachers, learners, and communities statewide.

The following analysis, recommendations, and blueprint are intended to define a pathway from the current situation to an online media environment that integrates Web, e-mail, text, and mobile services to deepen connections and share knowledge between members of the Department’s many communities of practice.

Out of scope: Please note that the work of the Department and its constituents is facilitated by numerous online services, including interaction with enterprise systems and external social software. Although those experiences will be considered within the online ecosystem being envisioned here, the recommendations and blueprint will be focused on core publishing and collaboration. Also, content in the current departmental intranet would be part of a community-of-practice group.


(These are recommendations to be prioritized, selected, and implemented as resources allow.)

A. Reiterate the Department’s role as a visionary and supportive partner

  • Reinforce awareness of department’s innovative and transformative work, focused on improving teaching and learning in Maine.
  • Demonstrate DOE’s essential role in education in the state of Maine by reiterating the relationship between vision, authorization, regulation, reporting, support, and successful outcomes.

B. Improve the quality and usability of published information

  • Increase wider knowledge of DOE vision, initiatives, and activities through easy-to-use, transparent, timely, and accessible online information.
  • Help parents and community members understand how well their schools are doing, and why administrators and teachers are making the choices they make.
  • Help people find what they’re looking for, including gateways into, and tutorials for, enterprise systems and external services.
  • Help constituents understand what the DOE does, how staff roles fit together, how work contributes to goals, and what progress is underway.
  • Improve cross-media publishing processes to improve currency, accuracy, clarity, and usability through content review and continuous improvement.

C. Increase online engagement between Department staff and constituents

  • Connect teachers, administrators, parents, and taxpayers so they can discuss important educational policy issues.
  • Build a professional learning community platform to help educators engage in conversation, share innovative ideas, discover and curate useful resources, document successful practices, and apply them in their own classrooms and schools.
  • Support and sustain continuity between in-person meetings and professional development opportunities. Help new constituents get up to speed and become valuable, active partners in learning communities.
  • Model an interdisciplinary, continuous-learning community approach that can be implemented at schools and districts across the state.

D. Reduce total costs for deploying, licensing, customizing, and sustaining publishing and collaboration services, including interactive support services

  • Help relieve burden on MDOE staff and constituents, in Augusta and in the field, by providing easier-to-access information online.
  • Improve services to the field, and improve internal processes.
  • Reduce effort to submit and update content and to communicate with constituents.
  • Integrate with multiple systems and services via established open standards.
  • Model efficient, effective communications methods that can be used by learning communities statewide.


  • Strategic planning is at an early stage.
  • Expectation for rapid delivery of findings is high.
  • Existing resources are limited, so only a portion of possible objectives could be achieved.

Next: Principles and practices

Document information

  • Scope and goals – Approved by Commissioner Stephen Bowen – 5/5/2011b
  • Project: Maine Department of Education – Online Needs Analysis
  • Executive sponsor: Maine DOE Commissioner Stephen Bowen
  • Communications director: David Connerty-Marin
  • Online media consultant: Jay Collier, The Compass LLC
  • Funding: U.S. Department of Education EDFacts