The implementation of technologies in learning, research and businesses has come a long way. This has been facilitated through Information Communication Technology (ICT) web 2.0 tools and its capabilities. For instance, researchers need to embrace the change necessitated by Information Communication Technologies as a way to fully understand the ever evolving world and knowledge repositories (Lee, 2016). Today, many students are resorting to the internet to access information used to complete research tasks and assignments. However, they experience challenges in regards to access of quality and credible information since there is no comprehensive screening process allowing people to put anything on the web. As well, technology is critical for modern business and public as supported by the widespread use of Smartphone, emails, web conferencing and the internet. This report discusses the adoption of web conferencing by comparing and contrasting Skype for business and ezTalks while examining their applications and suitability for business enterprises. As well, this report discusses myriad skills required to conduct online research and challenges experienced.
Today, businesses are in the process of improving digital communication skills of their employees using technology. There has been exponential growth in recent years in regards to the need for web conference providers. This has been occasioned by globalization, growth of multinational entities and the perception of the world turning into a global village. According to Binder (2016), web conference services have transformed business activities based on proof of these capabilities to save time and cost of conducting meetings and collaborations in real time, regardless of location of participants. As a result, business enterprises are constantly on the lookout for suitable web conference tools and providers by considering factors such as quality of video and audio, recording and playback capabilities, data and file sharing, security, and confidentiality of information. With the help of technological advancements, businesses are able to access suitable packages specific to their needs regardless of organization size.
Skype for Business is provided by Microsoft Corporation, a company involved in the design and manufacture of products and services related to computing while ezTalks endeavors to fulfill customer needs in order to provide web service communication framework that creates maximum value for clients. It is purported that Skype is suitable for small, medium and small scale businesses because this provider can support up to 250 participants in a single meeting (Echo, 2018). Skype is perfect for organizations with many employees. Unlike Skype, it is noted that ezTalks supports up to 100 people in a single meeting and thus suitable for small businesses (Echo, 2018). Therefore, ezTalks provider is suited for organizations with small number of employees. In regards to capabilities, ezTalks has a broad array of collaborative tools making it one of the best web conference service providers in the sector (Echo, 2018). In addition, it is capable of providing high quality High Definition videos and audio conference tools, file sharing, whiteboard, recording, and playback capabilities. On the other hand, Skype provide quality audio and HD video calls, though cannot match the quality provided by ezTalks. Furthermore, based on memory storage, it is outlined that Skype provide businesses with large storage space of up to 50GB for email and 1TB for files unlike ezTalks that provides limited storage of up to 300GB for its clients (Echo, 2018). Nonetheless, ezTalks compensates for this inadequacy by proving additional tools and capabilities that includes private chat platforms, meeting organizations, scheduling, management and control features. Fundamentally, it is clear that these providers are usable across diverse platforms such as Mac, Windows and android, though Skype enjoys the support of its Microsoft office suite such as Microsoft PowerPoint to enhance meeting experience unlike ezTalks.
The bottom line is that Skype for Business is suitable for large organization because it is relatively more expensive compared to EZTalks software. This view is supported by Corliss (2019) who asserts that Skype for Business is often rated 4 out of 10 scale based on average cost of VoIP software compared to EZTalks that is rated 2, a much lower average VoIP cost. This is the main reason why new start ups and small business prefers to use EZTalks as their web conference service provider. Besides, Corliss (2019) agree that Skype for Business is suitable for large businesses that need to hold massive online meetings, share files and performs myriad functions on a large scale. Notably, both Skype and EZTalks software share similarities in relation to security. It is worth nothing that both encrypts sensitive data at rest and implements HTTPS across its pages and platforms (Corliss, 2019). In addition, both software reports real-time security threats and breaches and retain customer information after each service cancellation.
Conducting Research Online
Today, students are turning to the internet to collect information for use in different research tasks, assignments. In light of this, there is need to develop excellent online research skills to help them collect quality and credible information from the internet. As well, there is growing need for instructors to update their online searching and research skills to help them settle on topics before assigning students. Today, there is a tendency for instructors and student to look for availability of adequate information before settling on a topic for research. This has posed several challenges as supported by Goldberg et al. (2003) who notes that web research is different from traditional library research. The printed information materials found in the library have comprehensively been evaluated by professional experts before they are published and made available to users. Conversely, on the web, people put anything they want without following due procedures of screening process as there are no well defined standards to be followed. As a result, there is need for extensive online research skills that helps a researcher to retrieve, collate, evaluate and examine credible information for use.
First, online researchers require skills to evaluate information resources based on accuracy, validity, importance, appropriateness parameters. In other words, a researcher must be able to locate information materials that are accurate and appropriate to specific topics under investigation. This is useful in the formulation of objectives and facilitates collection of enough information used to review literature. However, in trying to do so, Goldberg et al. (2003) notes that researchers may be faced with the challenge of not taking enough time to evaluate information resources, and believe to be proficient internet users which affects their confidence and credibility of research they conduct. Thus, researchers need to independently develop benchmarks used to evaluate resources before they use them.
Second, online researchers need to demonstrate impeccable searching and retrieval skills to aid in developing and refining search terms to yield better results. In other words, there is need to ask good questions and narrow search terms and queries to retrieve specific information. However, researchers continue to face challenges in refining general and specific terms in order to fully complete a task at hand. For example, a topic like assassination of Martin Luther King Jr may require a researcher to collect general information about the individual before narrowing down to Luther’s assassination. Here, the two search activities may yield a lot of confusing information making it difficult to decide the appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria. Thus, researchers must learn on how specificity can help yield specific results.
Third, online researchers must demonstrate persistence skills to enhance their patience when it comes to retrieval of data. This means that online researchers need to go further than the surface in order to collect broad array of information. In addition, online scholars must demonstrate resilience by persisting on data retrieval regardless of challenges faced. According to Tomei (2011), scholars are likely to face the challenge anchored on the tendency to stop at the first result pages, as they consider them credible not knowing that quality and accurate information may be available in subsequent result pages. Also, when researchers fail to get information, they may be frustrated to an extent of stopping a search. Therefore, there is need for online researchers to show persistence and endurance to continue with the process of collecting data without frustrations.
Lastly, online researchers need to develop plagiarism avoidance skills. Closely linked to this, they need to learn on how to respect intellectual property rights of creators and authors of information available on the internet. Credible research is only possible if researchers acknowledge sources and information used to complete research and assignment tasks. Failure to recognize other authors automatically leads to plagiarism which is a serious offence in the scholarly world. According to Monteith (2004), there is serious challenge in trying to collect and use information freely available on the internet because most people think that using information without respecting authors and creators is morally acceptable in the shortly world. Nonetheless, this challenge can be mitigated by learning the different methods to avoid plagiarism while integrating theories and personal synthesis on research arguments.
This report is consistent with arguments that ICT provide business and scholars with valuable capabilities to develop and enhance digital communication and online research skills. This report has established that web conference service provide tools used to conduct meetings and collaborations regardless of location. Specifically, Skype for Business and ezTalks are the most used software in the business world. Regarding functionality and suitability, the former is used in large businesses with many employees while the latter is suited for small business with few employees and operating on a small budget. Consequently, the report notes that online researchers require excellent searching and retrieval skills, material evaluation knowledge, ability to demonstrate persistence and patience, and robust plagiarism avoidance skills.
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