Friday, September 13, 2013

Technology is SOOO COOOL!!!

Yesterday, Kevin Lowey from the University of Saskatchewan shared on the Bb System Administrator's Listserv an amazing tale of one of his co-workers who is passion it about his role in providing customer service to the University's users. This story hit the core with many administrators and reminded us all of the creativity that some people employ to solve a problem for their users and how with the technology of today, anything is possible if we think out of the box and apply ourselves to try new things. 

Kevin's story: 
I was about to head home from work and overheard my coworker on the phone helping an instructor. What ensued I thought was so amazing that I just had to share.

The instructor was teaching a face to face class but some of the students were unable to attend the lecture. So before the lecture my co-worker showed him  how to use Collaborate in his course. The instructor was thrilled.  It would be like the remote students were right there and it only took a few mouse-clicks in his course to set up.

So, cut to the lecture. My co-worker gets a panicky call from the instructor. The collaborate session was working, BUT there was no sound and nobody  could hear the instructor. This co-worker joined the session from his office and using Desktop Sharing he poked around the instructor's computer and found the problem.

The computer in the room the instructor was using had no mic ... and no speakers. Uh oh.

The co-worker then realized the instructor was using a cell phone and we had this cool new telephone support in Collaborate. So he was going to have the instructor just call into the phone bridge.  Except the instructor's phone didn't have a "speaker phone" mode so his class wouldn't be able to hear the remote students. Uh oh.

Then the co-worker noticed in the participants list that one of the face to face students was using Collaborate from his iPad.  So solution? They used the student's iPad for the speakers and microphone. Meanwhile my co-worker got the instructor started by running his computer remotely
while the instructor did the presentation.

Now think about the technology to make that happen. Wifi in the classroom, an iPad which is probably less than two years old, the mobile Collaborate, app which is just over a year old, Blackboard Learn integrated seamlessly with Collaborate via the building block, the new phone bridge feature which is just a few months old.

This is a graduate level class, so almost all that technology didn't exist when these students started university. And the best part is as  far as the instructor and students were concerned, these services were all "free" (we have the institutional licenses).

Oh, and did I mention this was a joint class with another university? The course was hosted on our Blackboard server, but the instructor was sitting in an Edmonton classroom over 500 kilometres  away from us. Our students were the remote students.

Technology is SOOO COOOL!!!
 - Kevin

I thank Kevin for allowing us to share this with our co-workers and the world. It truly is an inspiration to all that provide technology customer support and reminds us just what it means really means to provide customer support. 

Do you provide this kind of support to your users? Do you think out of the box like this? 

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