Author: Kevan Williams

Working in a technology related discipline certainly requires a degree of tenacity and an ability to see beyond the plethora of applications, which are continually expanding and evolving. How many times has a challenge arisen where a hearty “there’s an app for that” type response is heard? 

Sometimes however, we need to take a step back and really consider what is it we are trying to achieve and how we can do this utilising the most appropriate tools available. Occasionally there is something on the horizon that sparks imagination and excitement, which is not simply another application or piece of hardware. When an opportunity arises requiring a change in organisational mind-set, the role of the ‘change agent’ becomes essential.  

Living, learning and working, we often operate in a unit, a group or collection of individuals with some common interest or shared goal. We utilise what we believe to be the most appropriate tools, approaches and techniques along with the most readily available resources to ensure success.  

Communication, collaboration and content creation are essential components for the successful achievement of our organisational objectives, but often engage in these activities independently of one another. The challenge for any learning technologist is to investigate what opportunities technology can provide to improve the quality, quantity and interconnectedness of these vital elements. 

Email is the default communication tool for many people and collaboration takes place predominantly in face-to-face meeting and workshops. Content is usually generated from these interactions and we quickly move onto the next project or work stream without taking the time to   consider if we could improve our approach. 

If we could converge how we communicate, collaborate and create content into an online entity where we meet, talk, share and develop our outputs together in one place, would it positively affect outcomes? We think so. 

Consider any one of the current groups in which you operate, your work team, the project you are involved in or the colleagues with whom you are collaborating, now consider how you interact. No doubt, there will be email, some form of voice communication and a document repository of some kind, but also think of the challenges. Who has what version of the document? Where is that email that contained the important information? How can I ask a quick question of the group? How can I share my document to work together on a single copy? The main challenge for so many colleagues is the diverse choice and sheer volume of applications involved in our workflow. 

The TELT team are promoting the use of Microsoft Teams as the portal for our daily activities, we believe this will significantly change how we interact, communicate and develop content. Opening the Teams application at the start of the day will become the norm, as regular as logging into your device and making your morning coffee. 

The first transition into Teams is to book onto to one of the training workshops available in the E3 Hub and then identify a group of people who you are working with, a course team, a project group or a social community. Working with TELT, create your team and begin to explore the integrated communication, collaboration and content creation capabilities offered through this exciting prospect. We predict 5 years to complete the organisational shift towards this approach and the work has already started – get involved and join us on this exciting journey.  

Considering we completed our Surface Pro deployment to all academic staff within 3 years, perhaps 5 years is a little tame for a University with such determination, drive and passion for digitally inspired technological innovation – only time will tell. 


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