Dear Block Grant Directors and Managers:
As the COVID-19 Situation continues to develop, I want to share with everyone some of the distance and technology resources available to all block grant agencies and their staff. The hope is our technology capacity can help enhance the ability of the prevention community and block grant providers to achieve daily activities during possible social distancing measures.
Of course, as with many of your programs, we have access to Go to Meeting and Go to Webinar. Within Go to Webinar we can stream events to 500 participants at a time. We also have redundancy by using the Enterprise Version of Zoom to conduct web conferences and webinars. In reality, we can stream multiple events at the same time, reaching 1000 people. Of course, we have the video file of all events as a backup, either locally or online, via Go to Services or Zoom. Mobile access is a standard feature of both systems. Information about Go To Products can be found at: https://www.gotomeeting.com/. Documentation supporting Zoom is located at: https://zoom.us
As part of the NCTTA Website redesign, we built in Live Streaming Capacity through our servers using YouTube and Vimeo. Our reach will be real-time and virtually limitless with integrated text chat features without requiring the general public to bother with logging in or navigating complicated registration processes. Usually, we’d use Go to Webinar and/or Zoom as our streaming background, but there may be cases where we have to host and stream our own video with an online chat. Google and Vimeo will back up all videos automatically outside of North Carolina for security. We have professional-grade HD and 5K video cameras and audio equipment that require delivery onsite to a needed community location. Our systems also leverage standard webcams what we all interact with daily. These features work better via mobile devices honestly than your traditional PC in terms of ease of use for the general population. YouTube is well known, their live video streaming less, learn more at: YouTube.com. Vimeo is our preferred professional video hosting and streaming service. Visit Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/. Want to see one of our cameras? Visit the MeVo site at: https://mevo.com/mevo-plus/
Moodle, our online learning management system is up and active as well. If there is a need to move into a formalized online learning environment and track training progress – we can use infrastructure that one will find on any college campus across the nation. We modeled our system selection and design based on national online standards that will support the workforce development needs of our colleagues. Our system is hosted in Mount Airy, NC, and has a secure back up in New York State. Mobile access is also available. Learn more about Moodle at https://moodle.com
Finally, we established a virtual office instance in Mount Airy and New York State. The virtual office instance rests on the NextCloud Platform. NextCloud acts similar to Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Google Apps, and #Slack with a variety of file sharing, communication, and employee support functions that enhance collaboration. The system also supports large scale video and audio chats that can be initiated by the user on the fly without any further intervention by NCTTA Staff. We currently have a slow rollout of NextCloud occurring with PFS 2018 Grantees. NextCloud is the most complicated and expensive system to roll out large scale but could be the most powerful if needed. I’m a big NextCloud fan; the options and features are limitless. We have NextCloud mobile apps that connect directly to our servers for on the go use. Information about Next Cloud can be found at: https://nextcloud.com
ZenDesk is our web platform that serves as the backbone of the NCTTA HelpDesk System. The NCTTA HelpDesk, as you know, services documents, manuals, videos, and other resources to users via a searchable catalog. Most of ZenDesk operates in the background as a trouble ticketing system, but the HelpDesk front end is integrated into Ecco as a searchable resource and hosted on the NCTTA Hompage. We will be happy to create searchable categories for your materials (similar to your very own filing cabinet) and host any digital content quickly that can be distributed via one link. Curious about ZenDesk? Visit https://www.zendesk.com
We’ve spent much time and invested significant resources in building digital capacity that our entire prevention system can leverage anywhere, at any time, based on need. In this case, the definition of technical assistance is truly technology-based. Leveraging live streaming and online learning environments is not easy, is time-consuming, and requires more effort than traditional face to face experiences. Yet, if there are needs and a collective team effort, the NCTTA team is willing to help the best we can in filling gaps.
We wish everyone safety, security and good health in coming weeks.
Contact us if you need assistance or support!