Monday, October 6, 2008

Teamness case study -Training the students of the Faculty of Medicine

This post is the first one in a future series covering Teamness case studies with our users.

We plan to have these interviews with different people from various industries to get insights on how Teamness may be used to help with all kinds of projects.

Our first guest in these series is Cosmin Moldovan, Medical Doctor and General Surgery Resident at Witing University Hospital and Assistant to the General Surgery Department in Titu Maiorescu University, Faculty of Medicine, Bucharest.

To get started, please introduce us to your work.

My work has basically tree sides:
  • One is related to my practice as a general surgery resident at Witing University Hospital.
  • A more academic one, involving the training of the Students of the Faculty of Medicine and the preparation of the medical nurses.
  • Last but not least, I'm currently involved in a few governmental-funded research projects that involve tight collaboration between my University and other highly appreciated research centers in Romania.
We take care of students training from the 3rd year - Surgical Semiology, and from 4th and 5th year - General Surgery. At the end of the studies, we conduct the thesis of the students related to general surgery. We're using Teamness to collaborate with some of these students on their diploma theses.

Why did you choose Teamness as your collaboration platform?

Teamness is still a startup, but it offers everything we needed, and the current plan is free.

Another big advantage was the Romanian interface and the support that we can get in Romanian. Some of the persons involved in our projects are not very comfortable with English interfaces, so this came in very handy.

Regarding my work in research projects, it is vital to have a collaboration tool that you can rely on and Teamness came very handy with its on-line all-over high availability.

How many persons are in your projects and how many projects are you managing at this time?

Regarding the preparation of the thesis, we have a project created for each thesis. One or two students may collaborate on the same thesis. At the moment we're using Teamness for 8 such projects, involving 14 persons. In each of them, the participants are:
  • the coordinator, which is one of the two professors in charge
  • the assistant, which is me, in most of the cases
  • the author or the authors, which are the students
As for the scientific researches, I currently take part in 2 major projects, both involving three major research centers and universities, besides my own. In our university there are 4 persons assigned to each project and between 10 to 15 scientists from each other partner for each project.

Although our scientific ventures started back in 2006 and are due to December 2008, we have rapidly adopted Teamness as a major – but not unique – tool for our collaboration a few weeks after the service become publicly available.

What are the roles of every participant and how do you use Teamness for them?

The author gathers material, like images, short videos, quotations from various books and she/he stores these data usually as messages in Teamness. There are also translations made by the student from different specialized sources or texts that she/he writes, which we encourage to store as whiteboards, because this type of data is more subject to changes and it's easier to monitor who changed what and when.

The assistant reviews the data entered by the students and adds comments, makes suggestions or corrects some texts. Then tasks are added for what the student must focus next, which are tied to milestones. The assistant also sets tasks for the professor to see what is needed to be further reviewed, usually a subset of the data.

The coordinator supervises the activity using the dashboard. A neat thing here is that you can easily commute between seeing the activity for all the theses or only for one. The coordinator also checks student's drafts on certain stages and sets new tasks for the student, but also for the assistant.

Every month we all have a meeting in person, which we set via a milestone, with points to be discussed established as tasks tied to that milestone.

Are there any particular features that you value the most?

We like the ability to view all the activity on the dashboard, filter it by person and also view the activity across all the projects.

It's also nice that we can tie tasks to a milestone and see what we shall do until what time.

Being able to see the differences between two versions of a whiteboard is also valuable for our work. I also use RSS feeds to be informed about the activity.

What would you improve in Teamness?

Being at the beginning, there are a lot of things that can be improved or added, which I believe will be introduced in the future.

A thing that we would like to be included is granular access permissions, to be able to provide selective access to different areas of the projects for different members.

We are, however, very satisfied to be able to use a product without any setup, just based on email invitations.

Thank you very much for your time.

Thank you.

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