Case Study 3: Project Support

Junita Lyon
Katt Matthews
Lync e-Leaders and Project Team members for Connected Educators Lync Communities Online
What was the aim of the session?
Session purposes were mainly of a collaborative nature however also included presentations, one on one tuition and testing of features across mobile devices and well as assisting Lync e-Mentors and users with technical / sign in and installation issues.
Lync sessions were also used to collect screenshots in developing step by step tutorials and user manuals across platforms.
What worked?
  • The ability to instantly and effortlessly share files, work collaboratively on documents, present webinars, troubleshoot computer and software issues worked extremely well 85% of the time.
  • Communication was both spontaneous, time saving and a less expensive solution to the more traditional telephone and email interactions we used to use to collaborate and develop course and webinar materials.
  • The successful use of mobile devices meant that we were able to attend meetings and webinars on the road or when not near a computer resulting in increased productivity.
  • All participants having the ability to individually record the session is a great advantage.
  • The refresh rate when moving through application share, web tours, desktop sharing and troubleshooting was exceptional in comparison to other popular webinar software.
  • The development of a Lync resources wiki to share user manuals and tutorials as well as access to reporting documents.
  • A //Discussion Board// on the //ACE Network Ning// for users to collaborate with each other as well as record technical issues and share fixes. Lync users became a proactive community of practice where they shared information and knowledge as they experimented and gained skills in the Lync tool.

A selection of comments from the //Discussion Board//:

“Glad to become a part of the Lync project. Have used it a couple of times, once with my e-mentor Christine. We had fun trying to move our doodling on the blackboard. Different to Eluminate! I didn't have my headset on and the sound was so clear. Loved that!... Maree Schleibs”

“Daryl Hunt on ability to use lync on mobiles….That's great news. Quite often a mobile App is not as full featured as it's desktop cousin but it really gives us a chance to assess its worth. Added to the new Google Hangouts app that was released a couple of weeks ago it really gives a big boost to mobile communication :)”

“Katt's session at the Gippsland e-learning roadshow was done entirely online in Lync. Great online ppt with animation. Great work Katt!... Josie Rose”

“Im really enjoying the interactivity and sharing of knowledge and techniques with each other in this discussion forum. It has become a valuable place to visit and find some great tips and information about Lync - keep up the good work everyone :)… Katt Matthews”

“The good thing about our use of Lync is that as soon as it was not working we all missed it, me included! Well done to everyone who is now relying on this tool as your means of communication. Keep collaborating….Ann Hardingham”

  • The establishment of two “Lync Up Days” where Lync users were invited between certain hours on two days to “Lync” someone on their contact list and say hello. These were particularly successful in introducing Lync users across the Learn Local regions and giving them a sense of belonging to a community.
What challenges did we have?
  • Using mobile devices proved more of a challenge due to reduced features provided within the relevant apps. However we were able to work around this and include more of audio content and in recent upgrades to mobile apps were able to view presenting content although still no whiteboard features.
  • MAC computers even though they had a Lync client, suffered from reduced features and were not able to see a whiteboard, however if MAC users were brought into the webinars / presentations / meetings via the “Meet Now” browser link it enabled MAC users full functionality.
  • Whilst using the recording feature we found that when participants muted their microphones the recording would be blank for that period of time. We worked around this by electing two participants to keep their microphones open and record the whole session then distribute the recording post meeting.
  • We were not particularly successful in getting Lync to install and or work on computers running Windows XP or less than Microsoft Office 2010.
  • Many of the rural organisations we were working with were technologically disadvantaged and were unable to take part in the same capacity due to out-dated hardware.
  • There were occasional audio and/or connectivity issues experienced during sessions as well as when inviting people into meetings. They occasionally lost the audio and managing presentation content icons and were unable to participate in meetings / presentations. Sometimes we were able to remove them and invite them back in with some success however more so we were unsuccessful.
  • The life of the “Meet Now” link was inconvenient as we found that we had to send the link out within a couple of hours of the start time of the meeting or it would expire.
  • We did experience trouble with saving whiteboard content however using the snip tool or print screen tools overcame that issue.
Recommendations?
  • That Learn Local look at a central Lync network for Learn local organisations to be able to be part of in order to connect, network, partnership and collaborate with each other on.
  • Incorporating Lync somehow into the Microsoft agreement - this and the above recommendation to make this tool both a more viable and obtainable tool for Learn Locals particularly those more rural organisations, potentially helping them to decrease current organisational telecommunications expenditure but also to assist them in remaining connected to and networked with other Learn Locals and increased productivity opportunities.
  • More functionality to the features of mobile apps.
  • Explore possibilities around how rural Learn Locals may be assisted to update their technology to be able to run a minimum of windows 7 and office 2010 thus giving them the opportunity to use technology such as Lync in their daily practices.
  • That all new users and current users of Lync visit the Lync Resource Wiki:
    http://mslyncproject.acfe.vic.edu.au/ to access installation requirements, user manuals / resources, how to’s etc.
  • Computers to preferably use a wired internet connection rather than rely on wireless - especially in the more rural locations.
  • For users to use a headset rather than rely on the internal speakers and mic of the computer.
  • Organisations running internal networks to involve their ITdepartment in the installation and uses of Lync to assist withjava and other technical issues that may arise around the installation and use of the tool on their specific network.

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