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Using Technology for Collaboration

Lesson goals and objectives

This module will:

  • Show you examples of tools for collaboration and of their use for your work in the classroom,
  • And for collaboration in your department, unit, school or with project partners,
  • Suggest good practices of remote and hybrid teams.

To learn how to collaborate is one of the skills increasing in importance. Online tools provide way to bridge the geographic distance and even improve collaboration of teams in the same location.

  • Videoconferencing software can make office hours easier (especially for adjunct faculty and working students). Instead of dragging everybody to your campus office just for one meeting, what about a simple call using Zoom, Meet or other videoconferencing tool?
  • You can simplify scheduling office hours using a tool such as Calendly (https://calendly.com/ ) or even your own chatbot x.ai (https://x.ai/ ).
  • A shared presentation before course start allows a soft start of the course. Students add their slide to the presentation (with their picture, pictures of their hobbies and generally their world). As instructor you can get to know them better, in class they are not complete strangers anymore. And when you show the presentation on the first day of class, it will get the attention of students! (Works for remote and in-person classes.) (You can use Google Slides, shared Microsoft PowerPoint etc.)
  • Working across time zones is a challenge for many remote and hybrid teams (and those teams will be more common in the future). If you have students not just in your city/country, but possibly taking your course from another continent, remind them of where the others are. Simple Google query will tell you what time is at another location now or allow you to convert times. So in a course I asked students in chat to share where they are (as during lockdowns my class covered multiple time zones) and also a picture of their hometown (as some have migrated to CZ from eastern countries and this showed that even if they are physically in CZ, their native language is not Czech).
  • You can use platform such as Microsoft Teams (Google Classroom) for collaboration, Wakelet (https://wakelet.com ) to create collections of online content, Padlet (https://padlet.com/ ) to create online content with collaborators.

Top Tips

  • Using the same process only with an online tool will not make it more efficient. Sometimes just the opposite (e.g. long online meetings).
  • Dedicate attention to the meetings, prepare for the meetings, send documents before, use comments to documents before the meetings.
  • Make explicit what needs to be done synchronously (with the whole team, whole class) and what can be moved to smaller groups or completely asynchronously.
  • The year 2020 was a source of many insights worldwide on how to improve collaboration. Read up on many websites such as “How to Improve Remote Collaboration Across Teams”, https://www.wrike.com/blog/improve-remote-collaboration-across-teams/

Resources