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January 23, 2013

Gaucho Plus Training – You’ll Leave Wanting More

Gaucho Plus training has finally made its presence in the CTLE at GCC. This is a good thing because there are many confused people on campus. I’ve been running an informal poll asking everyone if they know what Gaucho Plus is. So far my tally is about 29 no to 3 yes. Although all three  yeses have not signed up to use it yet. They’re not sure how. So training is needed. If you’re looking for a recommendation, I highly recommend you attend training and get signed up. It will be worth it in the end.

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.05.33 PMI attended the Gaucho Plus training today, and it was pretty good, but there was surprisingly a lot not on the agenda. I think it’s difficult to train people on how to use Gaucho Plus with out really training them on how to use Google Plus or even explaining what G+ is. It’s like training faculty on how to use the Canvas messaging system, without training them how to use Canvas or even explaining what Canvas is. It didn’t really make sense, especially since every question participants asked dealt with Google Plus, but Mark, our awesome technology trainer, made it work.

Mark did a great job of getting everyone signed up for Google+, which was difficult considering every step of the way Google is asking for you to engage with Google+. It prompts you to add friends and create circles. Poor Mark had to keep explaining that this training was not about that. We’re here to learn Gaucho Plus. “Okay, but why do I have a grey head for a picture? How do I fix that?” Ha! Again, not part of the training, but he was nice enough to go off script to show us all how to personalize our profile pictures.

Then back to Gaucho Plus. Next we learned about joining communities, but half the group hadn’t gotten invites to join the community Mark wanted to use, CTLE. Everyone was just a bit confused despite having been sent (maybe/maybe not) invites to various communities. It would be great if everyone got individual invites like I did, but I’m sure that would be a lot of work for one person to invite hundreds of people to 20 different communities. But that would have eliminated our troubles today, and it would make it easier for people join as those communities would actually show up in everyone’s community area (see image). We managed to make it work with the help from Raechel in marketing. I was able to track her down on G+ and ask if she could add the workshop participants to the CTLE community.


So we all got in and got a great explanation for how the communities work. It was fun listening to all the questions. Most people’s concerns are about being spammed or overly notified, but Mark explained about the digest email everyone will get. He also showed how the little box that lives in the right corner of both our email and G+ pages provides notifications for when there is new news to view. We all played with that by leaving comments and +1ing posts. We learned that +1 is akin to liking a post on Facebook. Although on the Google+ side it’s also a way to save that post in a special area of G+. It’s like your own personal bookmarking service.

That was it. We got a really good overview of Gaucho Plus and Mark did a great job, but my overall impression was that most faculty aren’t going to go through the trouble just for Gaucho Plus. Once they learn all that Google Plus has to offer, they’ll see the value. G+ is a complete package: communicating, video conferencing, sharing, connecting, and much more. Gaucho Plus is only a small piece of that, an important piece, but I think we need a bit more to sell this concept. Luckily G+ has a bit more, and I’m going to make it a goal to sell it.

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