Introduction of the Participants to the Tools / ICT

Problem Participants can have different experience in working with information and communication technologies, but in order to improve the collaboration in the group, participants need a common skill foundation.
Framework different background in working with information and communication technologies (e.g. using tools und platforms, virtual communication, privacy)
In order to ensure a common basic skill level in using the necessary tools and platforms, participants should receive a preliminary introduction. The aim of such an introduction is twofold: it provides the participants with necessary skills if they do not have them beforehand and it can serve to introduce efficient or task oriented use of the tools. Although students often have experience in using information and communication technologies privately, they can still find it challenging to use ICT in a project.

-Basic introduction
basic introduction provides information regarding the general purpose and use of selected tools or platforms. The presentations do not have to be necessarily connected to a particular VCL use scenario. Because the basic introduction provides general information, it does not have to be given in person and can be recorded or provided in text form.

-Suggestions regarding task-oriented use of tools
Regardless of participants’ previous experience with ICT, a VCL project may require a particular procedure in using selected tools (such structuring a forum, formatting a presentation, structuring results, connecting outputs etc.). In this case, participants need to be introduced to these aspects beforehand. The exact use of particular tools and their interplay may vary from project to project. The introduction can be provided in person, pre-recorded on provided in the form of a textual discussion.

Even if a tool introduction is provided, participants may still experience difficulties, such as technical problems or mistakes in using tools. For this reason, a contact person should be available (esp. in the beginning of a VCL project) to help to solve these issues. Unfortunately, some participants choose to discuss their difficulties only within their groups or they do not discuss them at all. This can cause serious communication problems. If the participants discuss their problems in groups, they can be helped by other participants or their problems can be noticed by organisers or e-tutors. Sometimes participants do not communicate their difficulties (problems with logging in, problems using a tool etc.) at all and the problems are only manifested through non-participation on low-quality input. Making students aware of potential difficulties as well as support offers can help prevent this, as can early monitoring of the group work.