To keep our team connected and active virtually, we have a number of online communication channels we use to share documents, videos, events, and chat. Many of these you probably have experience with, but regardless, below is a description of each platform, what you would use it for, and how to sign up or join. All of these platforms are free for our members to register for.
Teamsnap is the platform we use to schedule meetings. On it, you will find dates of upcoming meetings, outreach events, locations, links and other relevant information.
How to Join
Please ask a current member to help get you added to Teamsnap.
Most member’s only interaction with Teamsnap will be to view meetings. We also encourage members to use the attendance feature to select which meetings you will be able to attend, and which you can’t. If you do some digging, you will find other features like chats, emails, and alerts. We ask you don’t send communications through these, however, as it is more obtrusive than Discord, where all messages should be sent through.
Discord is the platform our team uses to make announcements, do polls, chat, and more. It is set up with “channels,” either in “Information” “Engineering” or “Business” categories. Most channels are open to teamwide chat; however, there are also a few channels specific to certain members. Those on the leadership committee have a channel for leadership members, and the announcements channel is intended for leadership to post announcements. You are also able to chat directly with someone or can tag them in a post. You can choose to tag a person, a group of people (i.e. @mentors), or a channel (@everyone or @here). There are many other features that may be useful, which can be found online.
Discord is one of the most important tools we use to communicate, and thus it is valuable to have notifications enabled. For most members, we recommend turning on “Only @mentions”, which will notify you when someone tags you or @everyone, but not for normal messages. You can also set channel-specific notifications. For example, if you are mostly involved in video production, you can choose #video-production to notify you of all messages, while other channels only send messages with you tagged in them.
How to Join
The most important thing to keep in mind on Discord is to try and reduce notifications whenever possible. Thus, you should limit mentions (tagging @person or @everyone), to only those the messages is directed towards. @everyone and @here should be rarely used, and mostly by those in leadership. If in doubt, ask a mentor or someone on leadership if it is appropriate to do.
It is also important to keep chats grouped to the topic. If discussing an engineering design, use #build-and-design, if it’s coordinating an outreach event, use #outreach, and if it’s unrelated to FRC, you’re welcome to post it in #random. Furthermore, if a discussion is between two members and not looking for outside input, send a direct message instead of posting in the chat. In addition to reducing clutter, it also enables notifications for faster responses.
Google Drive is the platform where all electronic documents are stored. This includes agendas all the way back to 2017, planning documents, finances, attendance logs, etc. If your school district uses Google Drive, you are able to sign in through that. If not, you can sign in through a Google account.
How to Join
When creating or uploading a document, it is important to put it in the correct folder. The folder hierarchy should be self-explanatory. For example, if you wanted to upload a sponsorship letter for use in the 2020 off season, I would create it in FRC > FRC 2020 Off Season / 2021 > Fiscal. If you find a category not currently included in the folders, you are free to add one.
Also, it is important that unless given permission to edit a file, any suggestion is done by a comment, so the author has the option to accept the change or delete it.
Our website is a great tool for people not involved in our team to get more information, as well as newer team members learning more about us. It’s also a way for us to share information with judges
Zoom is our video communication platform for virtual members, and for meetings during times we are unable to meet in person. It offers features such as screen sharing, live chat, etc. We’ve all been through the pandemic… I’m guessing you know what Zoom is!
How to Join
Please check the #Links tab on Discord, or the zoom link that is posted on Teamsnap.
When attending a meeting, we would love to see your face! However, we understand that sometimes wifi reception isn’t strong enough for that, or you’re not at a good point to turn the video on, and that is fine. For larger team meetings (10+ students), we recommend leaving yourself on mute if you’re not planning on talking for a period of time. However, for smaller meetings or meetings you’re more involved in, it is fine to leave the mic on, and can even help to encourage conversation. If you are in a noisy environment, such as a car or public place, we ask to mute yourself whenever possible to prevent background noise.
If scheduling a meeting, it is also important to coordinate with our mentor Vicki to ensure the meeting room will be available at that time.
You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you have any accounts on any of those platforms we invite you to follow us! If you want to manage the team’s social media, we discuss that more later.