Knowledge sharing intranet communication platform for support staff

An effective tool/forum platform to build up the community of experts. The support staff members can contribute their ideas in the knowledge that will be stored-archived in shared online workplace and can be referred back to at any time. Posting issues and receiving responses will create over time a network amongst colleagues that will be actively supporting each other. It could grow to become an FAQ or Wikipedia-style resource platform for support teams involved in internationalization or even for the other HEI departments/units.



Improved skills and knowledge Improved procedure/efficiency

Basic information
Categories Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff
Mobility stages Institutional setup
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Important to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups Administrative staff
Practice setup

Such a coomunication platform can be set up within common available platforms such as MS Teams, or a HEI can have a more advanced and tailored platform developed thus suiting best the HEI's needs (within own sorces or outsourced externally). 

Phase 1: Defining the scope 

When considering establishing the such knowledge-sharing platform - think about

  • goals that such platform shall fulfill,

  • who/what type of staff shall be users of the platform (what departments/stff members)

Define functions the platform shall optimally have. E.g. platform enabling

  • Fast messaging with formatting the text

  • Deleting/editing posts by authors/administrator

  • Documents sharing (only as attachments or allowing co-creation on a shared drive)

  • Creation of specific cooperating teams/groups

  • The search system enabling users to find topics, posts, and other users

  • Organisation of the contributions/questions around specific topics/categories and sub-topics/sub-categories to create a searchable library/database (discussion forum with a moderator checking the posts)

  • Audio/video communication

  • Individual or group meetings scheduling (interconnection to and interoperation with other personal/institutional calendars)

  • Email/app notifications about new messages (general or only subscribed specific topics/categories of interest)

In addition, some general features might be important too:

  • Users administration (administrator of the platform assigning access and possibly also roles of other users)

  • Overall security

  • Personal data protection compliance

Based on the desirable features and also considering the goals and possible efforts put on long-term platform management, look for suitable technical solutions (e.g. commonly available systems might be tested first not requiring much extra set-up costs).


  • develop the platform’s architecture including access and usage rules,

  • acquire (build) appropriate infrastructure for the platform, define user roles,

  • prepare additional documents such as terms and conditions of use.

Phase 2: Planning the delivery

  • Think about relevant topics and create several relevant forums (discussion areas), each dealing with some aspect of an internalization-related topic. For example, you can have a "Visa&EntryConditions" forum, an "Employment of internationals' forum, etc. 

  • Appoint an experienced and keen support staff members/team to moderate the respective forum according to their area of expertise

  • Plan promotion of the established platform among the other support staff members dealing with internationalisation

  • Plan the strategy to encourage the relevant support staff members from the HEI faculties to join the platform and contribute their ideas/knowledge

Issues to consider:

  • Ensure security of the platform and performance compliant with the national legislation on data protection.

  • Ensure a safe environment to encourage the support staff members to freely discuss the issues.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
  • IT support department
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Internal Wikipedia-style resource built up

Internal actors:

@ IT support department: this department could be consulted on possibilities for hosting an internal communication platform 

Practice delivery

Delivery activities are mainly connected with:

  • moderating the platform’s communication,

  • launching the communication platform at the major network event for support staff (e.g., annual online meeting). 

  • checking the compliance with terms and conditions (preventing unrelated and inappropriate comments)

  • answering requests and questions from the users,

  • operational maintenance of the platform,

  • quality check of the uploaded and shared documents.


Challenges (factors to consider): In order to encourage activity on the platform regular advertising of its services could be undertaken for example in the form of email alerts or newsletters. Organising thematic webinars via the platform could also motivate users to be active.


Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of software users
  • Number of support staff assisted
  • Number of page visitors

@ Other HEIs in the city/region: a similar online communication platform can be set to join the support staff members dealing with international PhD students/academics/researchers from other HEIs discussing issues they face in their daily work and supporting one another.  

Examples of practice

Internal Wiki

The University of Tubingen hosts its internal knowledge sharing platform on the ILIAS open learning platform. The internal Wiki is used for text templates, information by topic (internet searches, official information), and internal workflow. For better navigation through the individual topics right-hand menu is used. The Wiki has a fixed page structure and format (stylesheet).  Each internal expert on a respective subject is responsible for information updates in his/her area. Typical features of the Wiki are update plan, stylesheet, handbook, documents’ folder, it also contains general emails responses templates, which enables the same level of quality of information and texts, checklists, regular feedback & update at one place.