ITS' collaboration services support widely diverse constituencies and education missions. With rapidly developing emerging technologies to choose from, faculty, students, and staff have access to a wealth of collaborative services. Course management systems enable faculty and students to transfer assignments, papers, and feedback online. Meetings can be conducting via web or video conferencing. Peer-to-peer networking enables participants to share files, input form data, and chat within a single workspace environment. E-mail and Calendaring continue to provide robust communication and scheduling services, while Instant Messaging clients now provide file transfer, audio and video functionality.
Each of these services has its own strengths, and supports multiple approaches to communication, learning, and research. Selecting a service is dependent upon the task at hand, and often times, more than one service may be used to most efficiently complete any given project.
Creating dependable resources for team building, bridging professors and students, and supporting research initiatives is a priority for ITS. If you have questions or suggestions regarding collaboration services, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audio conferencing is a way to bring multiple parties together for an audio-only meeting using telephones. These meetings can be scheduled and coordinated by the Vanderbilt Call Center or done by the user with special phone numbers and codes.
Video conferencing enables participants to see and hear each other in real time. Video conferences using standards based H.323 or ISDN technology must be held in a facility equipped with special equipment, or at a computer with a camera and special software. Vanderbilt's bridge enables these endpoints to connect to multiple sites, and to connect with endpoints using different technology. For example, by using the bridge, it is possible for a participant to join a video conference using the telephone, although the participant will not be able to see the other participants. With video conferencing participants can also present slides for viewing by all parties.
Web conferencing clients such as Live Meeting and WebEx Training Center and the instant messaging client Office Communicator also allow participants to share video. These clients are available to the Vanderbilt community.
Web conferencing enables participants to connect to each other in real time using a web browser. Audio can be transmitted using a computer microphone or via phone lines. Web conferencing features include slide show presentations, interactive whiteboard, application sharing, and file transfer. Web conferencing can accommodate a greater number of participants than video conferencing, but has limited video capabilities.
Peer-to-peer networking is technology that enables participants to share information in a secure environment. Depending on the needs of the group, participants can engage in collaborative conversation via discussion boards, or upload documents that can be edited by any member of the group before final publication.
Instant messaging is technology that enables participants to send messages, (chat), and respond in real time. Instant messaging clients are proprietary; so, AIM users can't communicate with SKYPE users, for example. In addition, to typing messages, most clients have audio, video, and file transfer capabilities as well. With the exception of ooVoo, these clients are limited to two parties when using audio or video chat features.
ITS provides support for streaming Event Capture (live and/or archived in Flash, Windows Media and Real format), Storage of streaming files, Media Conversion of DVDs and MiniDV tapes, and a Podcast Studio (Hill 237) for content creation.
E-mail enables you to send messages to another party via a special e-mail address. The message is then stored in their mailbox to be read at a convenient time. You can create distribution lists that enable you to send the same message to multiple parties at the same time. The calendaring feature enables you to schedule events on your calendar, and invite participants or resources, such as rooms, to the event.
Course management software enables faculty to publish course materials online, transfer homework assignments back and forth, moderate discussion groups, and even conduct tests online. OAK is Vanderbilt's course management tool.