Passport: A World of Collaborative Tools at Your Fingertips

WashU IT’s Passport campaign is coming soon! Later this year, we will debut a campaign in which we highlight tools that empower the ingenuity and productivity of our faculty and staff. Passport will emphasize integrated communication and collaboration tools that are currently available but underutilized by our community. At present, these tools include Box, Forms, Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype for Business, and this list will likely grow as new connections become apparent. Each of these tools can work alone or in tandem to create new spaces of engagement and creativity for our faculty and staff.

Passport will highlight several areas where these tools may be especially effective. For example, the tools featured in Passport can benefit workflows in collaborative research, grant applications, working with sensitive and confidential data, committee work, interdisciplinary programming, advising and mentoring, scheduling, student recruitment, and student assessment. Throughout the year-long campaign, we will highlight specific workflows and tools that can be immediately adopted by WashU faculty and staff.

Passport will make the complicated task of scheduling courses easier by providing an itinerary to guide your journey through our collaborative tools. The seamless integration of Teams, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Forms, and Excel will allow faculty to work together from anywhere in the world, on almost any device, to plan course offerings and create schedules. Working together, these tools allow for richer communication than e-mail and document attachments alone. For example, Teams, which is integrated will all other tools in the Microsoft Suite (e.g. Excel, Forms, OneDrive, and Word) as well as many other external services such as Box, allows for a dynamic system of documentation for the entire scheduling process. In Teams, multiple users can simultaneously discuss and modify documents, making revisions to the existing schedule easy. In addition, Teams and Skype for Business allow collaborators to easily participate in conference calls from any location. Because these tools automatically archive conversations and save them to the cloud, once a scheduling workflow is established, it is simple to replicate it by joining the existing Teams channel.

Throughout the year, we will provide updates on the campaign with more detailed information about specific workflows that will enhance and ease the productivity of faculty and staff. WashU IT encourages faculty and staff to direct questions, suggestions, and comments about this project to Quint Smith. We are excited to share the many ways that Passport can work for you.