SINC sites are one of the most helpful aspects of Stony Brook. Students have a quota of free printing each week and they have access to the web for whatever they wish in between classes. But sometimes, printing or accessing the web may not be smooth sailing.
The printers may jam or not have enough paper. The internet may drop or certain programs will not open. This is where the “Teaching, Learning, and Technology (TLT)” team comes in.
According to Stony Brook’s TLT website, they “are responsible for helping students, faculty and staff members utilize the technology available at Stony Brook University & in SINC Sites.”
But what happens if a consultant does not have the answer to a problem? The answer is to ask another consultant. Usually, the other consultant is at a different SINC site. So instead of running to that building or picking up the phone, they simply use SB Connect.
SB Connect, according to the TLT site, “is a powerful system used for online collaboration and Web conferencing.” It is the Stony Brook brand name of Adobe Connect, an Adobe program used for web conferencing. It has been used by TLT Consultants to communicate through webcam since 2008.
Basically, a consultant will log in to SB Connect where they are connected to the webcams of other consultants in the other 17 SINC sites. While connected, they can share files and documents, have polls and private chat with another consultant. In cases where a new consultant is faced with a problem not easily resolved, he can simply let his fellow consultants know with a few taps on the keyboard what was wrong and how they can resolve it. Consultants can also share their screen with other consultants if they are receiving an error with a program. No running. No phone calls. Just typing and clicking.
Senior biology major Parth Pancholi, the senior consultant of TLT, finds the program beneficial to his job as it allows him to make sure the consultants are working.
“I can see if a consultant needs help or looks overwhelmed,” he said.
“It’s a little bit like Skype,” Jennifer Adams, the Educational Technologist for TLT and faculty liaison for SB Connect, said. “The only difference is, since we have our servers here on campus, you can have a hundred and four people at a meeting. We recommend no more than 6-8 doing video at the same time.”
In addition to conferences, SB Connect can also be used for classes, group, study and peer tutoring, Adams said. Every course on Blackboard has a chat room associated with it. It is up to the instructor if they want to make use of the program.
An old professor of Pancholi’s used the program to provide extra help and review sessions for students on nights before tests or when assignments were due. The professor would tell the students what time to connect to SB Connect and she would answer their last minute questions through chat.
“It leaves the professor to, in a very painless way, be able to interface with so many students,” he said. “It was actually very helpful.”
Students can log in to SB Connect anytime, but only through the supervision of a professor, under their account. Since there is no limit on file sharing, students do not have their own accounts, in case of improper usage of the programs. “You could put up a movie,” Adams said.