Collaborative Tools

INTRODUCTION:

By now, you should have worked on a plethora of new tools:

  • Blogging
  • Social networks
  • Bookmarking
  • Presentations

This week,  we are going to be working on Collaborative Tools.    What are collaborative  tools?  Exactly, what it says –tools allowing you and others to collaborate.  You may even be familiar with the old methods of collaborating such as pen and paper, blackboards, and even telephone conferencing.

The Collaborative tools we will be exploring are great for working on group projects where group members may be not be able to meet up all at once and where they may need to work independently-but on the same project.

TOOLS:

Our first collaborative tool is:

Google Docs

Google Docs is a service located within the Google Drive  (similar to the cloud)  that allows you to create and share your work online and access your documents from anywhere.  It allows you to manage documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys, and more all in one.

Google documents is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents, and collaborate with other people in real time. Here’s what you can do with Google documents:

  • Convert most file types to Google Docs format.
  • Add flair and format your documents, with options such as paint format, margins, spacing, and fonts.
  • Invite other people to collaborate on a doc with you, giving them edit, comment or view access.
  • Collaborate online in real time and chat with other collaborators.
  • View your documents’ revision history and roll back to any version.
  • Download Google Docs to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip files.
  • Translate a document to a different language.
  • Email your documents to other people as attachments.

To learn more about Google documents, check out the Google documents getting started guide.

Here’s an excellent video on how to create a survey using Google Docs.

And an interesting link to the 52 Greatest Google Doc Secrets for Students that you may also find helpful.

DISCOVERY ACTIVITY:

Create a Google Document on a project you and other particpants might be working on together, share the document, and invite them to collaborate.

TOOLS:

Our second collaborative tool is:

Wiki

A wiki is a set of web pages written by the people who use it.  It’s basically a website that allows users to add, remove, and otherwise edit and change content.  Each article has a discussion page where editors and readers can talk about the document.   By looking at the history of a page, users can track any changes and compare the versions of a document.  The ability to interact and easliy operate makes using a wiki a great collaborative tool.  Most of you are already familiar with the most famous example of a wiki – Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Here’s a good video explaining what a wiki is in plain English.

You can create a wiki to fulfill any need that you might have for any community of people that might contribute. But remember, your wiki should not be too narrow in focus.

Places that you can start a wiki for free:

Wikispaces – free and paid options

Wikidot- free and paid options

PBWorks-free and paid options

Here are some other examples of a wiki:

LibraryWikis- A wiki about wikis used in libraries.

Library Success- Ideas and information about libraries.

DISCOVERY ACTIVITY:

Visit some library wikis and get some ideas for your library wiki.

TOOLS:

Our last and final collaborative tool is:

Doodle

Doodle is a collaborative tool that simplifies the process of scheduling any event.  It works across any time zone and synchronizes your calendar with other calendars: Google, Exchange, Outlook, and others.  Doodle is a smart assistant that helps saves time for millions and helps brings people together.  What’s also great is that Doodle is free and doesn’t require registration by either the initiator or the participants of a meeting poll.

Watch this video to learn more about Doodle.

Functions and Products

Doodle offers a wide selection of online solutions that radically simplify the process of scheduling appointments, ranging from the group event “poll” that doesn’t require registration to the professional booking service.

MyDoodle (free)

The free account for power users. Once registered, connect your calendar and keep track of all your polls.

Connect calendars (free)

Connects your calendar with Doodle. Start and answer meeting requests directly in the calendar interface.

MeetMe (free)

Your main contact center to coordinate your meetings. Partners, colleagues, and friends want to meet you. Show them when you are available and how you want to be contacted.

Premium Doodle (charge)

An ad-free professional version of Doodle for individuals (Solo) or companies and organisations (Business or Enterprise). A premium subscription offers premium functionality and theming possibilities.

Doodle mobile

Enables you to use Doodle on the go. By using your mobile device, you can respond to a meeting poll, initiate a poll, and see all of your polls at a glance. In addition to the mobile Web app, Doodle also offers a native app for iPads and iPhones.

Doodle in Google Apps (free)

Integration for professional use: Make Doodle available in your Google Apps cockpit.

BookMe

Prevent unexpected phone calls at inconvenient times. BookMe lets your customers book professional services online.

DISCOVERY ACTIVITY:

Go to Doodle.com and schedule an event for you and at least two other participants.

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Fall of 2012.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Theresa Boware for Project Connect. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

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