The coronavirus crisis is having a worldwide impact. It also will have a large impact on DUPC supported projects and partners and consequences on the implementation of the projects. In the coming months it will certainly impact the way teams were used to collaborate. The DUPC programme encourages projects and individuals to be creative and seek and explore options for distance collaboration and education in order to reduce impacts on the projects as much as possible. The programme wants to support projects and partners in this. DUPC already supports online education development through various activities, and this is the moment to actively share curriculum and experiences gained. In the coming days a platform for sharing experiences and helping each other will be put online.
Deadline to apply for the free online training on 'planning and designing an online course' is this Sunday, 12th of April 2020 and will start 16th of April - 6 weeks, 24 hours.
In these times it is important to keep the communication going with your project partners. You might have cancelled meetings or workshops, which can be replaced by online sessions. There are free and paid tools that you can use for that. You might already be familiar with distance communication options and maybe some or your colleagues or project partners already make use of the options (or similar) mentioned below.
Most of us are familiar with Skype. Skype is a great free tool for distance communication. It supports chat, voice and video calls, conference calls, sharing of screen and sending documents. You can join through the Skype Desktop tool, from the mobile phone app or through a browser. The performance in terms of connection can be a bit less than other tools however.
Another option is the free version of Zoom. Zoom has an intuitive interface and good performance. With the free version of Zoom you have unlimited sessions with one person and max. 40 minutes with up to 100 participants. Zoom, however, has serious issues with security and privacy and is therefore not recommended as corporate solution, find more on these issues here.
If you’re looking for a free and 100% Open Source solution Jitsi is a great tool. On your computer it runs from the browser. For the mobile phone there’s an app. It allows video conferencing, chat and screen sharing.
Many organisations use Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business. There are however other tools available. Find here two options (similar to each other):
- Go to meeting – €14,33 per month (invoiced per year)
- Zoom – PRO version € 14, - per month or € 140,- for a year. Read about the security and privacy issues here.
You might have good experience with other tools for distance communication, please let us know about those. Also your institution might have good options available that you can use. Feel free to share your experiences with us.
If small items (e.g. such as the above mentioned platforms or other options, speaker, microphone) to support your distance communication are beneficial for your project work and this is not supported through your organization those are eligible costs under your DUPC project and can be invoiced (including receipts) to IHE as part of the normal invoicing procedure.
When working from home, you might not have a stable internet connection. You might need data bundles. Sometimes the internet of different providers is needed, because they are all intermittent.
When your authorities advise social distancing, we advise not to invest in modems to connect multiple participants in the same room, but instead choose for individual modems (USB dongles) or use tethering from your mobile phone.
If you experience or have experienced challenges with regards to distance communication please let us know so we can see if the programme can address these challenges.
- Check out the Webinar ‘Tips and tricks for effective distance communication and teamwork’ (9 April 2020).
Distance teaching is the way now for most education institutes to continue the education. IHE is already offering a variety of online teaching products, including open course ware, and you might as well. As a programme we want to support partners further in their online teaching developments by sharing our experience and learn from you. Dr Hans van der Kwast will kicked off this activity with a webinar on:
- Webinar ‘Distance teaching’ (26 March 2020)
Have a look at the earlier webinar on 'Open Education for Water Professionals'.
On the 16th of April a free online training will start on 'Planning and designing an online course'. For more information go here.
Let us know what your experiences are with distance communication and teaching and what you would like to learn more of by sending an email do firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit the eLearning and knowledge platform to find more and the latest information.