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Concordia’s second half-day Office 365 unconference will focus on opportunities for collaboration

SEPT 25: Staff and faculty are invited to take part in interactive and learn-on-your-own sessions
September 14, 2020
By Helene Guillemette

Concordia held its first successful Office 365 unconference on August 21. More than 650 faculty and staff members took part in the interactive sessions and many more in the learn-on-your-own programming. The second half-day event will take place on September 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a continued focus on improving digital skills and adopting online collaboration tools.

Concordia selected Office 365 as its institutional platform and the unconference is a great way to find out how it can help the university work more efficiently as a community.

The unconference — an event organized, structured and led by the people attending it — aims to help all faculty and staff better understand and use the Office 365 suite of applications, including Teams, Planner, OneDrive and SharePoint.

Whether it’s learning how to edit and share documents as a team or publishing information using one of the tools, there are many ways to improve digital skills. At this time more than ever, staff and faculty rely on digital capabilities and tools for most day-to-day tasks and decision-making. 

First half-day: new ways of working remotely and lessons learned

Topics in the first half-day included health, safety and wellness in the digital age; working with colleagues using Microsoft Teams; and discussing digital capabilities development with employees.

Many participants appreciated having the opportunity to devote time to building their digital skills and to create their own schedule based on their interests.

“By offering a mix of activities — live interactive and learn-on-your-own sessions open to all faculty and staff — we wanted everyone to be able to create a learning path that would fit their needs. The response was very positive,” says Paul Fournier, director of digital strategy.

He adds that the university decided to embrace innovation with this unconference. While the first half-day successfully demonstrated the broad scope of applications and new ways of working remotely as intended, it also provided the project team with lessons learned. These will be implemented for the September 25 event.

For example, since a few participants were not able to join some of the sessions of the first half-day, the organizers decided to add direct links on the Cspace page to facilitate registration and attendance. They will also make many unconference sessions longer to dive deeper into the topic and allow a longer question and answer period at the end.

Video recordings of the first half-day sessions have been added to the event’s Cspace page and staff and faculty can view them at any time.

Second half-day: a flexible approach and a focus on collaboration

The September 25 unconference will also include a mix of live interactive and learn-on-your-own sessions for all levels of digital skills and interests.

“This will provide staff and faculty much flexibility and the possibility to learn at their own pace,” says Guylaine Beaudry, vice-provost of digital strategy and university librarian.

France Bigras, associate vice president and CIO of Instructional and Information Technology, adds that the event will build on the knowledge gained from the first half-day.

“This will enable us to learn more about the new tools and how they can bring more efficient collaboration across all units and departments.”

Interactive sessions will include a session given by Marie-Pierre Aubé, university archivist, and Julie Daoust, interim lead for Records Management, will present on how to effectively organize and manage files. There will also be a session about creating interactive presentations using Sway, presented by Sonia Aguilar, documentation and training analyst, and Reham Mahdi, training coordinator.

Angela Bruni, service adoption specialist, will lead a session on how to gain productivity by using Teams. Another presentation will focus on the new network for managers of frontline employees. It’s a new forum for frontline managers and employees to provide timely support and share tools, materials and best practices. It will be presented by Natalie Camirand, organizational development manager, and Mahdi.

Learn-your-own sessions will range from sharing documents using SharePoint to planning projects with Planner and storing information using OneDrive.

Similar to the first half-day, there will be an “Ask us anything” live drop-in Q&A and support session during the unconference, with group challenges and trivia activities wrapping up the last hour.

Staff and faculty are invited to consult the Events page on Cspace and start planning their activities. To attend the plenary session or any of the interactive sessions, simply click the “add to calendar” button that appears in each session description box. This will add an appointment for the session to your Outlook calendar. 

Interactive sessions are limited to 300 participants on a first-come, first-served basis, so joining the meeting early is recommended. Learn-on-your-own sessions are available at any time by following the relevant links. 

Learn more about what Office 365 can do for Concordia staff and faculty during the
second half-day unconference, taking place virtually on September 25.



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