As ground zero for technology training on campus, the OTS Training team is intimately familiar with which tools are most helpful to faculty and staff. Training Manager Cyndi Caravello has done tech training for more than 20 years, and her colleagues, Software Trainer and Documentation Specialist Rodney Urand and Junior Training Support Associate Chris Bosma, are tech lovers with extensive computer backgrounds as well. It’s clear this team knows their stuff, so we had them give us the scoop on five free OTS tools that can help you work more efficiently:
1. Microsoft Lync
Microsoft Lync is a software package that allows you to easily communicate and collaborate with your colleagues on campus. Features include audio chat and desktop videoconferencing, instant messaging (IM), document and screen sharing, and web conferencing. Lync may also be used to record sessions or meetings, and it integrates with your Outlook email and calendar. Connecting with colleagues has never been easier- just visit the OTS website for step-by-step instructions to download and use this free software.
WebEx is Cyndi’s absolute favorite technology because it allows users to reach their co-workers or outside contacts anytime, anywhere. WebEx allows you to share resources (e.g., documents, desktops and web browsers) and remotely communicate using voice, video and chat. This technology is useful for conducting interviews or staff meetings and there is even the ability to record the meetings for later use. WebEx is popular in the TU community and there are 1,500 host accounts available for use (1,300 for faculty/staff and 200 for students). Just access your WebEx account next time you’re out of the office – it’s the next best thing to actually being here!
Panopto is Rodney’s go-to technology. It’s an instructional recording package that allows you to record interviews, meetings and conferences, as well as video, audio, PowerPoints and your desktop. This technology is accessed through the Blackboard. Not familiar with Blackboard? Don’t worry! Simply contact Blackboard support by creating a service request at http://techhelp.towson.edu to get started. After they set you up with a community, you can use Panopto to record short training sessions for colleagues, do screen captures of difficult procedures or record video messages to co-workers.
4. Outlook Calendar
We all use our Outlook email every day, but not everyone utilizes the Microsoft Outlook Calendar. Chris finds the Calendar feature very useful when coordinating his work and class schedule. Essentially, Outlook Calendar allows you to create meetings, create re-occurring appointments, and share your calendar with other Outlook users. Best of all, it integrates with Lync and WebEx!
5. OTS Training Resources
Learning and utilizing new technologies can be confusing. Fortunately, OTS has a website full of training resources. All three team members highly recommend accessing this website to find the answer to almost any technology question. The website contains more than 400 self-help documents and over 120 movie tutorials. OTS Training also offers instructor-led workshops and has three new video series available (“Bits & Bytes,” “5 Questions With” and “Software Tips with Chris”). You may also contact them to secure a Lynda.com account which offers thousands of training videos in its online course library. For more information on the services provided by OTS Training, please contact OTS Training at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-704-4070.
By Amy Juskus