Tips for Online Assistants

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Many of the people that Online Assistants will be asked to help will be older people or people with some disabilities.

One of the first hurdles to overcome is ‘how does someone without an email address create an account for online (or face to face) training?’.
There is one approach that is quite simple:

  • Set up a free Gmail account for your church for this purpose, e.g., stfaiths@gmail.com
  • It’s not widely known that an easy way to get multiple versions of that address delivered to the one inbox is to include periods (‘.’) or plus signs (‘+’) in the first part of the address.
  • So in our example, if you wish to set up a safe ministry account for Fred Bloggs and Mary Smith simply type stfaiths+fredbloggs@gmail.com and stfaiths+marysmith@gmail.com into the email field when creating their safe ministry account and our system will recognise them as unique email addresses but information for both addresses will end up in the stfaiths@gmail.com inbox.
  • This is a great way to leverage this for our purpose. It will also work with any existing Gmail account, e.g., for couples who share a Gmail address.
  • Using this simple method, if you are the Online Assistant, you can very easily help people with no email address create a Safe Ministry Training account for online or face to face training, and monitor the emails the system will send them.
  • More information on this technique can be found here: https://www.labnol.org/internet/multiple-email-addresses-in-gmail/17426/

Here are a few other suggestions to help smooth the path for people with limited internet skills/abilities wanting to do online training:

  • If someone struggles with technology, don’t attempt the training on device like an iPad.
    The smaller screens will just add to the challenge.
  • For a better experience with such people, we recommend using either a desktop or laptop computer – ideally with a LARGE monitor to make viewing more comfortable.
    All laptops these days allow the plugging in of an external monitor.
  • Consider having a morning at one location with internet where two or three devices can be set up, and two or three people doing the training at a time, with an Online Assistant overseeing the session.
  • If you are experiencing unreliable internet, try and arrange to have the device connected by cable to the router rather than Wi-Fi.
    Wi-Fi is great for email and browsing the web, but was never designed for more serious usage (with some rare exceptions).