How Do Interest Groups Work?
Interest groups are meant to be flexible enough to accommodate the interests and needs of their members. Once approved by the Program Committee and formed, interest groups can continue for as long as interest in the topic/activity continues. Space permitting, groups are always open to new members, and members are of course free to leave a group if and when they wish to. If a group gets too large, members can decide to start a second group of the same type.
Interest groups can evolve; that is, once they have addressed the topic that originally brought them together, they can shift their focus to another related topic, a process that may involve a change of facilitators. For example, the Great Film Directors interest group might focus on a particular director (e.g., Alfred Hitchcock) over several weeks and then decide to focus on another director for a similar amount of time. Such a shift might well involve a new facilitator(s) stepping forward—a process that would enable members of the group to share both the workload and their talents in the spirit of cooperation that animates CALL.
Similarly, while it makes sense for the initial facilitator(s) of a group to decide when and where the group will meet for the first while, the time and place where groups meet might well change over time. As the group evolves, members are free to agree to change the time and place of meeting or to suspend meetings for a period (say during the winter or summer months) if they so desire.
With the help of group members, interest group facilitators should inform members of the larger CALL community of any such changes, as well as share some of their learning experiences through short articles in the newsletter and brief updates at CALL Cafés.