Technical Support / Guarantee of Functionality

Problem Information and Communication Technologies play a key role in the VCL project as they serve as the main or even the only communication channel. For this reason, it is necessary that all tools and platforms function as well as possible throughout the entire project. Also, difficulties with using information and communication technologies can lead to communication problems within groups or with tutors. Such problems can escalate and cause problems if o support is offered to the users.
Framework main part of the communication and collaboration takes place in a virtual environment; participants have to use mandatory platforms or tools
When choosing suitable tools for communication and collaboration during a VCL project, later administration and technical support should already be considered. Following factors should be taken into account:

The stability of the selected tools, especially when a large number of students takes part, needs to be tested beforehand. Problems with tools that occur during the project can have significant negative effects on the group work, they can even stop the collaboration altogether. Previous test are especially important if local solutions are used that could have difficulty handling a large number of simultaneous accesses. Stability of the selected system should be considered more important than features, as missing features can be compensated by using further tools (e.g. allowing the participants to select tools with this feature themselves).

-Knowledge of responsible individuals
Individuals who will be responsible for administering the course and hence deal closely with the selected tools need to have the necessary knowledge and experience that will enable them to administer the tools quickly and efficiently. In this case, it is better to select tools that are already familiar to the participating staff, especially if there is little time to exhaustively learn and test the systems.

-Back-up/Emergency plan
The risk of system down-time should be explicitly considered and back-up strategies and emergency plans prepared / put into action in advance.

Besides administration, it may be also necessary to support participants who are less familiar with the selected tools. Proving introductory workshops will decrease this need, but cannot eliminate it altogether. Participants should be informed about potential contact person who can help them if they experience difficulties and they should be actively encouraged to use such offers (some participants are shy about their limited tool experience). Furthermore, alternative tools should be considered in advance in case some participants have serious access problems (e.g. some governments tend to block social networks from time to time).
References Selection/Use of Various Tools / ICT
Introduction of the Participants to the Tools / ICT