Tools for Online Group Work

Last week, we posted several helpful tips on working with groups online for projects, papers, or other classroom activities. As promised, this week I will be posting some excellent (and free!) web-based tools that can greatly help with organization and communication among members when it comes to working with groups in an online environment. Here are a few tools you can share with your students that will definitely provide them with the foundation for a great group project:

GoogleDocs

This is perhaps one of the best collaboration tool we have come across. It is highly functional, easy to use, and very convenient when members have Gmail accounts. Users are able to collaborate live on the same document with group members and utilize instant messaging chat features-it’s a great alternative if you are unable to meet in person, which is often the case with online classes!

WriteBoard

This free online tool is really neat and easy to use. A user begins a new document and then invites the collaborators. They make their edits and it is tracked just like in Word and Google Docs so you can view who did what. Then you can track the revisions and everything as well!

Collanos

This tool is great for group projects and serves as a central location for everyone to gather and store their documents, organize tasks, and more!

OneNote

OneNote is  tool that is not normally free, but students can use the Web App version through SkyDrive (which is a little more limited, but still has many of the great features!) or they can connect to a campus computer using Citrix XenApp to access the full version. With OneNote, group members are able to create notebooks and share them with others-since it is web-based, they can access it from anywhere. All group members are then able to work on the document live!

Improving communication and access may be just what your students need for successful group projects so be sure to share our tips and tools with them!

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