UniConnect is a highly functional collaboration platform used by university institutions for research projects within all discipline areas and is funded by the voluntary payments of member institutions. UniConnect is based on IBM Connections, one of the leading Social Business Software solutions, and is hosted by the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany. UniConnect provides numerous, fully integrated collaboration applications like wikis, blogs, forums, microblogs, chat, task management and libraries within communities and is device independent, usable via standard web browsers or a mobile app for Android or iOS.
Researchers of enrolled research institutions can organize themselves on UniConnect using self-created and customable communities and share content with specified users or, if relevant, with all users of UniConnect. The fully integrated widgets for information and file sharing are ideal for supporting research teams made up of members from different universities regardless of location or time zone. UniConnect is being used for example: for the creation of joint grant applications using the document editor, the organisation of decentralized research project members by using the task management tool to allocate tasks and due dates and for file sharing in the libraries. Tracking updated files is supporting via versioning.
Use in teaching
Although UniConnect cannot be seen as an e-learning platform, it is being used in many university courses, for example for sharing documents and information with students in course communities. Academics and Faulty are thus using the same platform to manage their teaching and their research projects. Students of registered member institutions can also use all the functions of UniConnect. Furthermore, students have advanced technical possibilities to interact with each other and with the teaching staff while gaining valuable experience with a business-relevant collaboration platform. These skills are highly valued in the job market and cannot be realised through the use of traditional teaching software. This is one of many reasons, why lecturers are using the industry-strength business software platform UniConnect.
Student project work
Blogs are a chronologically sorted collection of long, potentially more complex textual information in the manner of online journals and can be used to share information with other researchers and/ or students.
A forum serves as communication tool to structure discussions on specific topics (e.g. to answer a question) and enables the exchange of textual messages asynchronously between multiple participants.
Notifications make information and experts immediately visible, making it easy to share conversations that would have otherwise been hidden e.g. in conventional email. Notifications aim at faster and more informed decision-making.
Each UniConnect user has a social profile, which consists of demographic and/or biographic information about the person. With these profiles a network of researchers can be establish on UniConnect and people can find and connect with each other.
A community (a virtual workspace) is providing a central collaboration point for a research team, with tools to manage membership, gather and share information and organize their work.
The Activities-widget is used to organize project work such as sharing information and resources, assigning and tracking to do items and organizing meetings.
Bookmarks are used to collect, organize, and share links to web pages of interest to you.
Docs are used to create and work synchronously or asynchronously with multiple other users on texts, tables or presentations.
Microblogs are chronologically sorted textual messages with a particularly short length and low complexity. They are used to quickly share news.
A wiki is a centralized collection of information that research team members can view and update.
Kudos Suite for IBM Connections
Kudos Suite is a third party software product that is provided by ISW, a Tasmanian IBM Business Partner. The application contains gamification widgets for IBM Connections. The UCT is happy to have ISW’s permission and support for adding the full “Kudos Suite” to UniConnect. Now users can see their achievements in the form of digital badges on their profiles for using UniConnect or they can use the “Activities” as a Kanban board.
Polls and Surveys
This tool is used to quickly and easily gather feedback from students or researchers in your community.
Communication in a research team is the very essence of the group’s success. But team members are not always in the same place at the same time. Therefore you need modern online tools to realize an efficient communication exchange. On UniConnect a multitude of such tools are fully integrated.
If community members cooperate then synergies (especially from multidisciplinary teams) can be generated. By using UniConnect several tools are provided to give a team the opportunity to work together, even though they are divided by time-zone or location.
To coordinate a group of researchers means to define courses of action, assign tasks and to set due dates. Task management on UniConnect gives an overview about what is to be done next and about the current status of the respective project.
If only research teams know what they know. The combination of content on UniConnect brings together different kinds of data to illustrate the given inherent knowledge within a community or rather to combine these valuable resources, which can form new knowledge.
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