At the age of 17, I started law school. The week prior to starting, I dragged my dad to PC World; he purchased me a black Samsung Notebook and in addition Microsoft Office 2011. I would be lying if I recalled the price of it, but it wasn’t cheap
Before progressing any further, I should point out that 17-year-old me was not tech savvy, I was a novice who had grown up handwriting essays and notes.
During my induction week, I was provided with an email address and password, and advised that lecturers’ main point of contact would be email; so, I bookmarked the URL to my university’s 365 Exchange, and that was me a law student.
I spent the next 5 years using my email account as a personal remote storage system; typing my essays and notes, saving them locally before quickly emailing them to myself before heading into university, where I would print the documents out, submit them or distribute them. This became a process- an illogical, unsafe, and timewasting process. However, most students I knew were doing the same, or similar.
However, when I reflect on being a student the only thing that tarnished my experience was surprisingly not the all-night cramming sessions, exams, or even the coursework. It was group work. Lecturers would joke, knowing the implications of assigning group assignments. I could handle the one group member who refused to pull their weight, as I favoured the utilitarian approach; rally together and get it done, for the greater good.
What I found unbearable was trying to organise time together. Further, group assignments presented an array of hurdles that had to be overcome; Although trivial, the first hurdle was merely trying to find a table in the library: big enough for your group, yet in area that allowed for conversation. However, you were required to meet, as the question had to be divided and assigned and collective brainstorming was essential. You then had the task of trying to piece 5 individuals work together, in a coherent seamless manner. Communication was difficult, you had a Facebook group, but sharing files/images/presentations was no easy feat. The normal solution was to arrange a meeting in the library, each handing each other a hard copy of your section, and emailing a copy over to the person who had offered to lace the assignment together. I mean, we always got there in the end, but group work tested more than your research skills – it tested your patience.
In retrospect, I had a 0365 license, my university had a section of the website explaining the features, but I never got educated on how to utilise my Microsoft license. Therefore, along with most other students I improvised, using my own methods. I didn’t know I could download the Microsoft Office applications onto my laptop for free (sorry dad) I didn’t understand OneDrive’s capability, or know that SharePoint even existed (co-authoring and instant access to group members work would of saved headaches).
Moreover, Skype for business would have eradicated the need to meet in the library; I could have chaired the discussions from the comfort of my couch. Further, the group member who didn’t pull their weight, if you really wanted? You could audit the activity of each group member through conversation history, versioning etc and provide that to your lecturer. The Microsoft license I had would have saved me so much time, stress, and money -if only I knew how to use the applications correctly.
What scares me is that team work continues into the work place. The reality of team work is that it does encourage innovation and increases productivity. Companies need to help staff help themselves. Team work is about collaboration, and collaboration really does solve a multitude of problems, and with the right tools it can be an enjoyable experience.
That is why, as a Microsoft partners have a duty to educate their client base to ensure they are getting the most out of their licenses. We are hosting an array of free Cloud Workshops, email me if you think you would benefit from attending firstname.lastname@example.org