June 2020

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You may have been thinking that there hasn’t been much going on regarding our Teaching & Learning Facilities on campus during the lock-down. In fact there has been a great deal of work going into researching, identifying and providing facilities to help our academic staff deliver content for the autumn term, whether that is done remotely or in-person.

As part of this work you will have seen advertised this week the Assisted Recording Rooms in Palmer available until 11th September. These have been set-up as the result of an enormous amount of cross-team working within Digital Technology Services, and cross-functional working with other services including Campus Services and CQSD-TEL. In particular, we are very grateful for the efforts of building officers, cleaners and porters in helping us to ensure the rooms are clean and safe for you to use.

We have put in place a simple to use booking system – just complete the form – Assisted Recording Room Booking Form – and your request will be processed. When you arrive in Palmer you will be greeted at the Welcome Desk by our ARR Administrators who will take you through the Health & Safety procedures to ensure your well-being while using the facilities. You will have access to your own room with recording facilities and guides to show you how to use the available equipment. Some of you may not have used a Document Camera before – you may be surprised to see what can be achieved with this simple to use tool. Throughout your session our AV Support Technicians (pictured below) will be close by to assist with any problems you may have in using the equipment and recording your content. For more information on using the rooms see Assisted Recording Rooms.

When you have finished your session – and followed simple instructions for cleaning the equipment ready for the next customer – we would welcome your feedback on your experience and will ask you to complete a short form. In this way we can try to ensure that you have the facilities you need to prepare teaching content for the autumn term.

Whether you have already prepared your teaching content, or would just like to try out the rooms, we invite you to make a booking.

We hope you enjoy the experience.

Keep safe and well,

Helena Bampton
Head of Teaching & Learning Technology
Digital Technology Services

DTS, CQSD and Campus Services have worked hard over the previous months to provide twelve assisted recording rooms. These rooms will be available in the Palmer Building from 29 June to 11 September, 2020.

 

 

Our assisted recording rooms are available by advanced booking and will provide staff with the opportunity to record personal capture videos onsite, with the benefit of AV Support Technicians on hand to support them.

 

We look forward to welcoming our colleagues to Palmer ahead of the Autumn term, and would encourage staff to book early to ensure their preferred slots are available.  We would politely ask colleagues not to visit the Palmer Building without an advance booking, for health and safety reasons.

 

To make a booking, please visit our DTS assisted recording rooms page where you will find a link to the booking form and further useful information about this service.

Thousands of colleagues are now using Microsoft Teams to call each other and collaborate on work.

Digital Technology Services (DTS) have been assisting everyone with getting set up with using Teams and supporting people remotely while we all get used to new ways of working. Luckily this is the third migration DTS have handled when it comes to how staff communicate with each other.

For a long time, we all used traditional analogue telephones to call each other but as things progressed into the digital age it became impossible to maintain and support it as there just wasn’t anywhere to purchase replacements parts. Skype for Business was the standard tool at the time and so DTS began plans to move the University to digital phones using Skype.

Skype was fantastic for making calls but lacked the extra features that people demanded when using it for work. File sharing, calendar planning and shared workspaces were missing, plus all the latest digital phones were no longer compatible with Skype. Microsoft decided to discontinue Skype in favour of Teams, which has those essential features, so DTS set about planning this current migration.

Even our own IT Service Desk had to move quickly to the new Teams calling functionality. Due to the short notice of the move to remote working, the team had to work together with our own Cloud engineers to design and test a Teams-based solution for our traditional support line. This allowed us to get the Service Desk working from home by the time campus closed, and ready to support those moving to home working.

Head of Customer Experience & Service Delivery, Eleanor Draycott said of the quick pivot to an online telephone solution:

“When we realised that we would be quickly moving to working remotely, our biggest concern was about how to allow our Service Desk team to move from analogue telephones plugged into the University’s telephone network to a solution that they could use from home, in order to continue supporting our customers. Our Cloud Services team went above and beyond to help us build and test our new support line, and we were able to get everyone home safely. The Service Desk continue to provide support as if we were on campus, and we’re very proud of how quickly they’ve adapted to these changes.”

Moving to a new way of working can be hard at the best of times. DTS migrated everyone in a quick timeframe but people will still need support when using something new. Our lovely Service Desk team have performed brilliantly in adapting to a new way of providing support and getting University colleagues up and running with Teams.

Getting on Teams is easy- and DTS can help!

If you want help getting set up with Teams, don’t hesitate to contact the Service Desk who are always happy to help. Louis McClean, one of our Service Desk Analysts, is used to fielding all sorts of questions about Teams:

“Microsoft Teams has quickly become a reliable and flexible tool I use to communicate with people internally and externally. This has helped to create a more open and progressive way of working. Colleagues and I share ideas, troubleshoot issues and have better communication than ever before. We’ve taken a big leap from Skype for Business, which was very basic in comparison.”

Teams has also been extremely reliable while everyone is working remotely. One staff member said:

“I’ve been enormously impressed with how well all of our systems have held up under the strain of remote working and I’ve had no problems at all using Teams, the VPN, RISIS, Blackboard or any other system I’ve needed to use.  Many thanks for everything you and your team have been doing.”

Enabling learning with Teams

Service Desk members have also been helping Staff get the most out of Teams. DTS colleagues are always happy to help staff learn more about the software that is available and how it can benefit their work specifically. A colleague mentioned how Teams had helped make their teaching easier:

“I don’t know how to thank you. You must all be so busy, but you take time to help us get up and running off campus. Several quite anxious students want to talk online and I can use Teams for my teaching next term as well as important meetings.”

Get Teams or contact DTS

The Teams app can be downloaded onto PC/Mac or mobile devices. It can also be used in a browser, making it easy to use wherever you are.

To start using Teams or to ask for a Team of your own, visit the Teams webpage.

Joseph Bannon, one of our Service Desk team says of the move to Teams calling:

“It’s been really encouraging to see all of us at the University make a collective effort in coming to grips with new comms technology. Please do let us know if you have any questions, we’re always here to help.”

If you want to talk to us about Teams or get help please contact the Service Desk on dts@reading.ac.uk or reading.ac.uk/dts.