by Alice Ho
Are you aware that Skype for Business is installed on our computers? It is a great tool for communication and collaboration.
If you have used Skype for personal use, you may be familiar with the features Skype provides such as voice call, video call, Instant Messaging, online meeting, screen sharing, etc. Skype for Business (previously known as Lync) encompasses all the same features and has many more advanced functions that are needed for a large organization setting.
As a librarian, the screen sharing feature makes it possible to assist remote users more efficiently. It allows us to see exactly what students are attempting and to demonstrate rather than describe either through conversation or text, how to accomplish a task, be it a citation creation or a search strategy in a specialized database.
Skype for Business is perfect for group meetings, allowing users to invite up to 250 users to one meeting. The presenter can share his or her desktop, files or PowerPoint presentation as well as record and play back a meeting. There is a quick start guide on setting up online meeting on Microsoft website:
Skype for Business can be a great tool for distance learning classes as well. Students can see and hear each other by using a webcam and microphone; instructor can share his or her screen to demonstrate. Students will need Microsoft Office 365 ID to sign in. Check out this website created by an educator in Belgium on distance learning using Skype for Business: http://www.timmers.me/distance-learning/
You can also download Skype for Business apps to your mobile device to stay connected. For more information, click the Skype For Business link under Training on the ITS website.
Skype for Business is a powerful tool and has lots of potential for distance learning and office collaboration. If you are looking for a tutorial to get you started, check out the video Up and Running with Skype for Business on Lynda.com. It will help you understand how to use Skype for Business more effectively.