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International collaboration protocol QAS
|This page was developed by the Queen's University Applied Sustainability Research Group.|
This page discusses how to run an international collaboration on scientific and engineering research in applied sustainability.
It includes links to software and services and provides an example project: Open source solar spectrum project
The desgin of an international collaboration will be divided into categories related to the development of an engineering project.
Project Scope and Description Definition
The first and most important step of the project is the clear definition of project scope. This will allow for the proper allotment of resources (both human and physical) to the varying aspects of teh project, and will ensure that project completion is possible. Especially in an international context, it is important to ensure that the scope and description of the project is well understood, and is aceivable with the resources available at each location. In order to ensure full comprehension by all parties, the project scope and descriptoin should be written down and sent to all parties in the project. In the case of a modificaiton of scope or description, these modifications should similarily be written and distributed.
Assignment of Roles and Responsibilities
The assignment of roles and responsibilites is required in order to provide a framework which can be used by members of the project to determine their expected contribution. In an international context, this is also very crucial when responsibilities are shared across borders in order to ensure that both groups are building off each other's work, and not re-creating it.
In addition, it is reccomended that each group has a team leader, who is responsible for communicaiton and organization within their group. In a project where a large portion of the collaboration exists over teleconferencing, having one speaker from each group can stramline communications and ensure that important points are being conveyed. It is important that all group members are present and contributing at each teleconference, however it should be the team leaders responsibtility to ensure that they get a chance to speak, and a clear time in which to do it.
Definition of project timelines and goals
The project timeline allows for the co-ordination of teams areound specific goals. A timeline should be laid out which clearly defines project goals and milestones, and every attempt should be made to follow this timeline. Similarily to project scope, the project timeline should be a written document distributed to all project members. If a change in the timeline or project goals is required, a new timeline should be developed and distributed to all memembers. Again, in an interantional context this is important to ensure that the responsbitilibies of each working group are known.
Regular meetings should occur in order to track the progress of the project and to ensure that all working groups are on track. In addition to meetings encompassing the entire project team, individual working teams focussing on specific projects should interact on a more regular basis to ensure proper task co-ordination.
Useful software packages and best practices for use
[www.skype.ca Skype] is a free software package which allows high quality voice and video calling over the internet. In addition, it has limited functionality for written "chat", and the abilitiy to screen share, which can be valuable when attempting to convey complex topics.
In order to share the screen of a local computer with participants in a video chat, follow the following steps :
[www.dropbox.ca Dropbox] is a free software package which allows automated syncing and backup of files between computers and into the cloud. This facilitates the sharing of project files, and ensures that only one, up-to date version of a file exists. Dropbox should be the sole method used to share files, as it ensures traceability of files, and reduces confusion around the correct version.
In order to set up dropbox, it must be installed on a local computer. Once installed, a Dropbox folder will be installed in the users My Documents folder. This
Teams are responsible for:
- In week 1, students choose a format for communication in both asynchronous and synchronous situations in private. You enable your advisors to see what is going on....(e.g. Emails are cc'd, blogs passwords are provided).
- In week 1, create a Gantt chart of tasks and the individuals that will be responsible for them
- Use a logged weekly full team meetings(voice)(private).
- Use a design journal/idea blog/chat room/wall, which is logged?(private).
- Share design iterations shared on Appropedia [project] and Thingiverse [designs] (public) – history file will track contributions.
- Building and testing the devices, with publishing full instructions/protocols.
- Develop method of sharing data access between universities and the public. See for example Pachube or consider ftp protocol – whatever is going to work.