ITS 202: Communication Tools for Employees
This workshop provides an overview of several communication tools used at New River.
- Communication Methods (5 mins)
- Blackboard IM (10 mins)
- Outlook (and Web App) (40 mins)
- Contacts and Address Book (MeetMe Numbers)
- Calendaring (Groups, Appointments, Meeting Requests, Online Meetings (with Skype), Scheduling Assistant, Sharing Calendars, JEvents, etc.)
- Email (Searching, Archiving, Deleting, Emptying Trash, and Changing Password)
- Cisco Phones (5 mins)
- Mobile Devices (Configuring, Using, Losing)
1) Communication Methods (5 mins)
There are several communication tools that are provided by the College and this workshop will provide a brief introduction to them. We also offer a 60-minute exploration of collaborative communication methods for instructors in our IT 106 workshop. Two items covered in the IT 106 workshop are also relevant for this workshop are: (1) overview of communication tools and (2) communication diagram.
2) Zoom (10 mins)
New River uses Zoom, as the official instant messaging application for the College. Zoom uses your New River email address for access (same password you use for email) and it provides another communication tool for all students and employees. If you haven't yet activated your Zoom account, please go to https://newriver.zoom.us and login with your New River email address and password. If you need assistance, please contact the Help Desk (304-929-6725). Zoom is replacing Blackboard IM at the College and Blackboard IM will no longer be supported after December 31, 2018. All students and employees can download the Zoom application for free. We install Zoom on all college-owned computers, but you must download it to your personal computer if you want to use it there.
To use Zoom effectively, you should be able to do the following:
- Login to Zoom (https://newriver.zoom.us).
- Locate a colleague and initiate a conversation.
- Update your profile information (set your Time Zone - it is empty by default).
- Check for updates.
- Add a colleague or classmate to your "Contacts" list.
- Access the Home screen to communicate with the Help Desk.
Advanced users might also do these things:
- Initiate in multi-user group chat.
- Start a collaboration using the white board.
- Initiate an audio call.
- Instructors should be able to use Office Hours.
3) Outlook (and Web App) (40 mins)
Most employees use Microsoft Outlook when inside the New River network to send and receive emails. When outside the network, Outlook Web App (the web interface) is the most common way of accessing email. But we also provide access for mobile devices and computers outside our network using IMAP and SMTP protocols (see #5 below).
While most employees are proficient with using Outlook to send and receive email, Outlook is also capable of keeping track of your schedule and appointments using the calendar. Let's say that you need to schedule a meeting with 4-5 other folks at New River and you don't know when they are available. Rather than calling them or emailing them to find out, it is far more efficient to send them a Meeting Request. The benefits are (1) you can send one request and include all the recipients, (2) you can preview the calendars of your invited guests before sending the request to see if they are available, and (3) the recipients will be able to click one button to respond to your request and the appointment will then automatically appear on their calendar (if they accepted).
3.1) Contacts and Address Book (MeetMe Numbers)
The Global Address Book is the directory information integrated within email and with People Search (how to search People Search). Every account holder is listed and you can find them if you know how to look. You can't change the information in People Search, but you can maintain your own personal address book using Contacts. The MeetMe numbers are resources available within the Global Address Book (steps to reserve one).
3.2) Calendaring (Groups, Appointments, Meeting Requests, Scheduling Assistant, Sharing Calendars, JEvents, etc.)
You have a personal calendar as part of your email account. Using this calendar to invite others to meetings and to keep track of your own appointments makes daily scheduling much easier for everyone. You can check in advance (Scheduling Assistant) to see if resources and people are free for the day and time of your requested meeting. No more back-and-forth emails about when folks are available for the meeting if everyone keeps calendars up to date. You also have an option within Outlook to send Online Meeting invitations, which automatically embed a Skype meeting link into your invitations.
We also have several categories that we use for the JEvents calendar provided on our College home page. Understanding these categories is very helpful to keeping track of college events.
3.3) Email (Searching, Archiving, Deleting, Emptying Trash, and Changing Password)
There are various ways to manage your email so that you can quickly locate something when you need it. Some folks like to create folders and possibly even rules so that emails from specific people or about specific subjects will be organized in the appropriate folder, making it easier to find later. But my personal preference is to not use too many folders, but instead rely on the built-in search features of Outlook, Outlook Web App, or even the interface on your iPhone email. Knowing how to search can obviate the need to do so much organization to your email. We'll explore some of these options in the workshop using Outlook and possibly on an iPad.
4) Cisco Phones
It was January 29, 2010, when New River first implemented our new Cisco VoIP phone system (how to use it). We probably take a lot of the features that it offers for granted now, but knowing how to access your voicemail, create a conference call, understanding the Auto Attendant, and use the MeetMe numbers are just a few common things that all employees should know. We've got this information and more in our QuickSteps area.
5) Mobile Devices
The New River email server allows account holders to use mobile devices to check and send emails. We are often asked about the configuration settings to use for this and we sometimes get questions about how to use various mobile devices. Unfortunately, we are also sometimes asked about security of email and information when a mobile devices is accidentally lost or stolen. We'll discuss all of these things and more at this point of the workshop.
New River has invested heavily in creating a state-of-the-art information infrastructure so that communication is simplified for employees and students across multiple locations. Hopefully, the information provided in this workshop has informed you of these options and provided some ideas about how best to use them. Regardless of your responsibilities at the College, effective communication enables you to do that job a little better and it makes things easier for your colleagues.