TU coLAB is TU Wien's collaboration platform, facilitating digital cooperation across organisational units. Since establishing the platform in mid-January, it has grown to include more than 4600 pages, which are referenced by some 3000 users. Meanwhile, it has been used to manage various projects – even between universities – and bodies of knowledge on various subject areas, such as distance learning, opens an external URL in a new window, are emerging. The rapidly increasing number of users has also demonstrated the importance of the continued development of TU coLAB and the associated training and support concept.
Training and support as a core element
Meeting users wherever they are – this is one way of summarising the .digital office's training and support concept. Because everyone brings different experiences from their everyday work, access to a new system such as TU coLAB needs to be just as varied.
With effect from the winter semester, basic training for TU coLAB is a new feature in the Personnel Development programme, opens an external URL in a new window. In the two-hour training session, conducted online on this occasion, Michaela Dereani and I provide an introduction to working in and with TU coLAB. The first steps guide people on the key functions in TU coLAB, where the most useful macros for day-to-day work are also explained. The training focuses on trying things out for yourself and exploring possibilities together.
We are also currently working on designing other training provisions geared to experienced users in the TU coLAB community. Here, we are planning workshops that focus on specific subject areas, e.g. joint working on projects across organisational units in TU coLAB or even amending how sessions are managed by using specific macros. If you have any other burning issues, we are always open to suggestions!
Regardless of the training provision, however, the .digital office team is of course always available for questions, tips and tricks. With this in mind, there is, for example, the weekly online Q&A-meeting, opens an external URL in a new window, where users can discuss ideas with other users, as well as talk about issues, questions and new plug-ins. And if any urgent questions pop up in the meantime, our top tip would be to post them to the TUchat, opens an external URL in a new window channel #tucolab_community. Answers here do not just come from the .digital office, but also often from other experienced users, who might be quicker to respond than we are.
Regarding community: we want to offer our very active users an opportunity to share experiences with each other. Many of you are already doing that with people you know personally. We want to provide further support for this exchange and encourage the formation of a TU coLAB network. With this in mind, we are hoping to plan a user conference in late autumn for all space owners, where experienced users can show each other how they work, what they use TU coLAB for, which macros they find particularly useful and much more. We are still working on the details, but we can at least reveal that this event will be conducted online. Further details will follow in due course.
Enhancing TU coLAB together
The community is also an important source in the continued enhancement of TU coLAB. When we find plug-ins of interest to TU coLAB, we pass this information on to the community and ask them to test the plug-ins. Just because we think a plug-in is good does not mean that everyone else will think the same. The variety of opinions and feedback helps in spending the budget on useful plug-ins that will actually then be used widely. And as a result of that, potential uses in TU coLAB can be expanded further.
We want to continue developing TU coLAB together, trying out new applications and reviewing what is there already. For this reason, we are continuously asking people in our community for their opinion. With this in mind, we are currently running a survey, opens an external URL in a new window amongst TU coLAB users. This is also advertised on the homepage and is available to all users.