Silver Unit 3 IT Using Collaborative Technologies (ITQ: UCT)

Relevant LINKS


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This is the ability to use IT tools and devices for collaborative working and communications, such as web or video conferencing, instant messaging/chat, on-line 'phone and video calls; online forums, social networking sites, wikis and other centralised depositories for documents, blogging, RSS and data feeds, bulk SMS or on-line work management tools.
The requirements for Silver Level are for candidates to show that they can safely use IT tools and devices to work collaboratively by preparing and accessing IT tools and devices, playing a responsible and active role in real-time communication and contributing relevant information.
Any aspect that is unfamiliar will require support and advice from others.
Example of context: Typical collaborative work activities may include – setting up a profile on a social networking site, taking part in an on-line conference or chat session, working on a shared web page.


Activities supporting the assessment of this award

Example of work at this level

Assessor's guide to interpreting the criteria

General Information


QCF general description for Level 1 qualifications

  • Achievement at QCF level 1 (EQF Level 2) reflects the ability to use relevant knowledge, skills and procedures to complete routine tasks. It includes responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance.
  • Use knowledge of facts, procedures and ideas to complete well-defined, routine tasks. Be aware of information relevant to
    the area of study or work

  • Complete well-defined routine tasks. Use relevant skills and procedures. Select and use relevant information. Identify whether actions have been effective.

  • Take responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance as needed


  • Standards must be confirmed by a trained Silver Level Assessor or higher

  • Assessors must at a minimum record assessment judgements as entries in the on-line mark book on the certification site.

  • Routine evidence of work used for judging assessment outcomes in the candidates' records of their day to day work will be available from their e-portfolios and on-line work. Assessors should ensure that relevant web pages are available to their account manager on request by supply of the URL.

  • When the candidate provides evidence of matching all the criteria to the specification subject to the guidance below, the assessor can request the award using the link on the certification site. The Account Manager will request a random sample of evidence from candidates' work that verifies the assessor's judgement.

  • When the Account Manager is satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to safely make an award, the candidate's success will be confirmed and the unit certificate will be printable from the web site.

  • This unit should take an average level 1 learner 30 hours of work to complete.

Assessment Method

Assessors can  score each of the criteria L, S, H. N indicates no evidence and is the default starting position. L indicates some capability but secure capability has not yet been achieved and some help is still required. S indicates that the candidate can match the criterion to its required specification. H indicates performance that goes beyond the expected in at least some aspects. Candidates are required to achieve at least S on all the criteria to achieve the unit.

Expansion of the assessment criteria

1. The candidate will stay safe and secure when using collaborative technology

1.1 I can follow guidelines for working with collaborative technologies

Candidates should follow any acceptable use policies set for the working environment. They should with help, support achievement of working outcomes through following such guidance as is necessary for positive results. They should respect copyright, privacy and security in relation to collaborative working. (PLTS).
Evidence: Direct observation by the assessor. User accounts

1.2 I can identify risks in using collaborative technologies and why it is important to avoid them

Candidates should understand that collaborative technologies can provide direct information links from them to people they don't know and who might not have good intentions towards them. The risks of disclosing personal information are real. In general, assessors should advise against using real names and publishing information that would enable someone to know the physical location of the candidate and especially not locations and times.
Evidence: Assessor observations, questioning, assessor devised tests, content of web pages and on-line discussions.
Additional information and guidance
There is the story of Little Red Training Shoe on the INGOT Learning Site that illustrates  some of the dangers.  They should not arrange meetings with anyone they know only from connection through a collaborative technology. They should be aware of the possibilities of data loss/lack of access to data through power cuts or other systems failures and general security issues. This work can build on the safety requirements given for Entry 3 IPU criterion 1.4 and other work related to security in the IT security unit below. 

1.3 I can carry out straightforward checks on others' online identities and different types of information

Candidates should demonstrate that they can search for people to see what general information is available about them, taking account of accuracy and potential bias. With guidance, they should show some ability to cross-reference information to look for confirmatory or conflicting evidence of accuracy and truth. 

Evidence: Assessor observations, content of web pages and on-line discussions, day to day documentation of work. 
Additional information and guidance
Identity can be individuals or organisations. This work can be related to searching for information and checking its validity and accuracy. The overall aim is to show candidates that they can not simply accept on-line information on face value and they need to check. This can link back to safety and security issues in the IT security unit below and the requirements for the Entry 3 criterion 1.4. A good level of cross-referencing competence, checking validity and strategies for authenticating information indicates work beyond level 1 and in keeping with the general description of QCF level 1, structured guidance will be needed.

1.4 I can identify when and how to report on-line safety and security issues

Candidates should report any instances that they know contravene the agreed acceptable use policy to their assessor. They should know that they should report any serious issues outside the scope of the learning or work environment to the service provider. (PLTS)

 Evidence: Assessor observations, internally set tests.
Additional information and guidance
This does depend on opportunity but assessors can set up a simulation or role play exercise where candidates can demonstrate that they know how to take the appropriate action and follow local procedures for reporting safety and security issues. If the community knows that action will be taken it is a significant deterrent to misuse of systems. 

1.5 I can identify methods that are used to promote trust

Candidates should understand that things are not always what they seem and it is quite easy to make a web site look like something that it isn't. Equally individuals can take other people's identity if they know some key information. The candidate should be able to identify spoofing branding, identity theft and grooming as three key methods of promoting trust.

Evidence: Documentation on web pages or day to day files, internally set tests.
Additional information and guidance 
Brand names are one of the most widely used methods of promoting trust. Candidates should understand that it is quite easy to make a web site look as if it belongs to a trusted brand when it is really something else.  The promotion of trust can be bogus and designed to entrap victims as well as positive in the sense of giving consistent and clear information. There are many instances of people claiming qualifications and titles that are entirely made up - how can these be authenticated with some certainty? Authenticating a qualification through an on-line database with a secure and definite URL is much safer than relying on a paper print out that could easily be forged.  
Social networking sites often have facilities to recommend others but there is no guarantee that such recommendations are genuine. One person could get several friends to recommend them or even the same person using several ids. Greater numbers of recommendations or recommendations that can be confirmed by people you know or trust are safer. A web site with a telephone number and a physical address is more trustworthy than one without because you can contact the people directly and so could the police. Links between web sites and professional bodies will also give more confidence that they are genuine.  Any in-depth knowledge and understanding of scams such as phishing, pharming or similar activities indicates that the candidate is operating beyond Level 1. 
It is important to instil in the learner at this stage that nothing is ever 100% certain or safe. The important thing is to reduce risk as far as reasonably possible and weigh up the benefit against the risk in deciding whether and action is worth taking. This applies to life in general and not just the use of collaborative technologies. (PLTS)

2. The candidate will set up and access IT tools and devices for collaborative work

2.1 I can set up IT tools and devices that enable me to contribute to collaborative work

Candidates should demonstrate that they have the capability of getting on to a collaborative network by initiating the systems and procedures for access. This can be setting up an account on a web site, forum, mailing list or similar collaborative technology, Setting up a mobile telephone account might be relevant to some candidates.
Evidence: Assessor observation and links to evidence of participation in collaborative work, internally set test/task.

2.2 I can identify the purpose for using collaborative technologies and expected outcomes

Candidates should demonstrate that they have a clear purpose in using collaborative technologies through their general work. This can be related to identifying purpose in the IPU units.

Evidence: Documentation of planning in web pages and document files
Additional information and guidance
Their planning and documented discussions should indicate expected outcomes such as learning from other people, sharing information, developing resources, taking part in discussion and debates. (PLTS) Their work should include identifying the benefits of using social networking as a collaborative tool and any limitations. eg It helps share ideas with other people you might never otherwise meet, the lack of personal contacts mean misunderstandings happen that would not in a face to face meeting. In keeping with Level 1 descriptions, structured support can be provided through provision of lists, tables or other structured information from which the candidate can identify their purpose as part of their planning. Any extensive more self-sufficient discussion indicates attainment beyond level 1. 

2.3 I can identify which collaborative technology tools and devices to use for different communication media

Candidates should provide evidence that they can identify some aspects of the technology that provide specific advantages or benefits.

Evidence: Planning documentation in web pages and document files, internally set tests
Additional information and guidance
Examples could be a shared web page or Wiki so that all participants can contribute to a web information project at any time and in any place with an internet connection. Skype enables very low cost video conferencing on an international scale, Google Docs enables collaborative work on documents presentations and spreadsheets. Mobile telephones enable direct voice to voice communications and text messaging but they are relatively expensive. Candidates should be able to name specific hardware and software technologies that can support their collaborative work, eg  a Smartphone, netbook, headset, content management software, forum, Voice over IP.  The INGOT learning site provides the facilities for collaborative working such as setting up a shared web page and discussion forums. It is not mandatory to use it, but its use will enable the requirements to be met.

2.4 I can identify what terms and conditions apply to using collaborative technologies

Candidates should be able to identify acceptable use policies and similar contract and conditions of use for collaborative technologies.
Evidence: Planning documentation in web pages and document files, internally set tests
Additional information and guidance
At level 1 it is not expected that candidates will fully understand the details of every complex set of terms and conditions and assessors need to provide a "safety net" while candidates are learning. In most cases the fundamental set of conditions is the Acceptable Use Policy and the INGOT learning site version is designed to be simple to understand yet effective in enabling the sharing of resources. Terms and conditions on other sites eg Google Docs are much more complex and issues of ownership of information can become complicated. At this level, identifying the need to respect any software license conditions, local policies, or community policies for the use of collaborative technologies and acting accordingly is sufficient. 

3. The candidate will prepare collaborative technologies for use

3.1 I can use given details to access collaborative technologies needed for a collaborative task

The candidate should show that they can follow a set of instructions to set up an account on a collaborative networking site, forum or e-mail list, registering an id with a suitable password and/or follow instructions to enable the collaborative technologies to be put to practical use.
Evidence: Assessor observation and evidence of collaborative working.
Additional information and guidance
They should show they know how to agree terms and conditions of use and any implications of those conditions. Anything beyond following basic instructions indicates operation above Level 1.

3.2 I can adjust basic settings on collaborative technologies

This will depend on the particular technology. Examples are given below but they are not exhaustive. Any reasonable adjustments to basic technology settings is acceptable.
Evidence: Assessor observation and evidence of collaborative working.
Additional information and guidance
Examples will include adjusting a web browser for different screen resolutions by zooming in and out with CTRL+ or CTRL-. Bookmarking often used pages, choosing a different theme, inviting links from collaborators to find their work more easily, choosing different content types eg public or private. Any other basic settings for collaborative technologies such as Skype, mobile telephones etc.

3.3 I can change the environment of collaborative technologies

This refers to the context and user interface and will vary with different technologies. Some examples are given below.

Evidence: Assessor observation and evidence of user-defined changes to their working environment.
Additional information and guidance
Trying out different themes or similar changes that will affect the general operating environment. eg removing tool bars in the browser to give more working space, changing from a WYSIWYG editor to a text and HTML view of a web page, accessing the work from a different web browser or from a computer running a different operating system.

3.4 I can set up and use a data reader to feed information

A data reader is any device that can take data as an input. A microphone, a digital camera, web cam and scanner are all data readers. The candidate should demonstrate that they can use relevant devices to source information for their collaborative work. 
Evidence: Content of web pages and document files, assessor observations
Additional information and guidance
With structured support they can process and organise the information into logical structures and feed that information into the collaborative work. At level 1 this will largely involve working to set patterns and instructions provided. Examples include, taking a digital photograph, processing the image and presenting it on a shared web page as part of collaborative work, installing Skype and initiating a video conference, recording a podcast and making it available from a Blog.

3.5 I can identify what and why permissions are set to allow others to access information

Candidates should understand that different users require different levels of access to systems. They should be able to identify Administrator, Authenticated User and Unauthenticated user as three specific roles used on most collaborative systems. 
Evidence: Content of web pages and document files, assessor observations
Additional information and guidance
Someone needs access to all accounts to administer the system but they have to be someone trusted. This is the admin. or administrator role.  If everyone has access to everyone else's account there would be no privacy. Some pages might contain confidential information whereas others can be shared publicly with public editing as with Wikipedia. An authenticated user is one that has an account. These people can be traced so there is some possibility of tracking them down if they damage the system or violate the acceptable use policy. An unauthenticated user is someone who can just use the system without logging in, sometimes it is called Guest. Usually an unauthenticated user is very limited in what they can do. It could be just that they can view general information pages but they might be able to edit public pages. There are many other possible roles and users can set their own permissions for their own pages. A private page might only be viewable by themselves and a few chosen friends. 
This is all part of using ICT safely and responsibly and should be related back to the appropriate guidance in other units. At this level understanding the role types guest/unauthenticated user, authenticated user and administrator is enough. Any knowledge of more sophisticated options indicates working at a level higher than Level 1.

4. The candidate will contribute to tasks using collaborative technologies

4.1 I can contribute responsibly and actively to collaborative working

The candidate should show that they follow the rules of ‘netiquette’, respect others contributions, avoid either dominating or not responding in a collaborative task. Contributions should be positive and at levels in line with the rest of the criteria in this and associated units
Evidence: Content of web pages and document files, assessor observations

4.2 I can contribute to producing and archiving the agreed outcome of collaborative working

There should be clear evidence of the candidate's contribution to a finished presentation of collaborative work, documented in their personal web pages or blog. 
Evidence: Assessor observations, documentation in blogs, web pages or document files

4.3 I can identify when there is a problem with collaborative technologies and where to get help

The candidate should identify problems that prevent them from working or compromise the quality or efficiency of their work and take action. This should be tempered by patience and appropriate behaviour.
Evidence: Assessor observations, documentation in blogs, web pages or document files
Additional information and guidance
This criterion is simply about identifying the problem. The assessor and peers are immediate sources of help, but internet searches are possible sources too. Candidates should be beginning to become aware that internet forums and communities eg the Drupal community are rich sources of free support. This has to be considered alongside general internet safety but a focused question in a forum of experts will often solve a problem quickly and at no cost to the user.

4.4 I can respond to simple problems with collaborative technologies

The candidate can follow on-screen help and knows who and where to ask for expert help (PLTS). They can check and fix simple and obvious problems themselves.
Evidence: Assessor observations, documentation in blogs, web pages or document files
Additional information and guidance
Examples could be to check power is connected, check settings are appropriate, check if the browser is out of date or does not conform to standards. At this level identifying that something is wrong and seeking help is reasonable but expect obvious things like no power, a disconnected screen or data cable to be picked up by the candidate. Candidates should behave well and with patience. If the candidate is particularly good at problem solving and helps others, they are operating at higher than this level and could be ready for Level 2. 


The assessor should keep a record of assessment judgements made for each candidate and make notes of any significant issues for any candidate. They must be prepared to enter into dialogue with their Account Manager and provide their assessment records to the Account Manager through the on-line mark book. They should be prepared to provide evidence as a basis for their judgements through reference to candidate e-portfolios  Before authorising certification, the Account Manager must be satisfied that the assessors judgements are sound.