Coordinating assignments and collaborating effectively on your projects can be a huge pain without the right tool. You need to have an efficient way to communicate, share notes, share documents, share files, and more in order to work together effectively and maximize productivity.
Photo credit: Irochka edited by Andre Deutmeyer
Here for you today I have selected a set of interesting new tools that bring all those features together into one easy to use interface as well as a new innovative independent platform for teaching and learning.
In today's issue of the Sharewood Guide, I have brought together eight new hot online collaboration tools. From new Skype alternatives to file sharing services, the online collaboration tools showcased here today were selected with one thing in mind: to make your job easier by facilitating communication and information exchange between you and your team.
This is my list of selected online collaboration tools for this week:
WiZiQ is a web-based platform for anyone who wants to teach or learn live, independently of schools, universities, exams or certification degrees. Teachers and students use WiZiQ for its state-of-the-art virtual classroom, to create and share online educational content and tests, and to connect with persons having similar subject interests. In the Wiziq virtual classroom you can interact online using PowerPoint presentations and documents as well as text chat and full audio and video sharing. Not only. All sessions on WiZiQ are automatically recorded so that you can revisit and even search for a certain topic anytime at your convenience. Last but not least WiZiQ lets you easily share your teaching contents online so that it can be easily embedded on sites and blogs.
Collanos is a new online collaboration tool targeting non-enterprise organizations that provides users with and single, consolidated workspace that allows you to integrate and share any of your project related content with your team members. From simple documents to images, music, and even video, any type of media can be shared through the Collanos workspace. To facilitate collaboration between team members, Collanos allows you to send instant messages to others and create alerts so that you know when updates have been made to different parts of the project. Collanos does not yet have built in voice communication, but they are planning to add voice chat functionality in the future. Collanos is built on a a peer-to-peer solution that allows you to work on your computer both online and offline. If you have no choice but to work offline, there is no need to worry. Once you get online, your workspaces synchronize automatically with your team members. Best of all Collanos Workplace is completely free to download and use.
Broadchoice Workspace is an online collaboration tool that provides fast, easy messaging and file sharing between members of your team to help you stay in sync in real time. To collaborate with a group of people, you can create a space and publish content into that space. Spaces serve as your online communication and collaboration area, and a different space can be created for each of the projects you are working on. Through Spaces you can track your different projects, sales opportunities, or even create your own community. Spaces have access controls that allow content owners to publish securely to a private group or open it up to other users within the organization. If your organization uses Salesforce, Broadchoice Workspace integrates seamlessly with your Salesforce contacts so that you can quickly and easily open new channels of communication and collaboration with them. Additionally, Broadchoice Workspace is mobile, although at the moment it only works with the iPhone. If you want to try Broadchoice Workspace out, it is free for the first 30-days, after that you have to sign up for one of their subscription plans, unless you qualify as a non-profit, in which case it is free for you even after the initial 30 day trial.
eLecture provides a virtual classroom software product which allows you to conducte live interactive lectures over the internet, with students/participants attending the lectures virtually. eLecture allows broadcasting of near real time audio and video from the lecturer's camera as well as screen capture of the lecturer's desktop. Students/participants can submit feedback, post questions and receive answers via eLecture's built in text chat. Lecturers can limit the number of participants and number of questions each participant can ask. eLecture also has built in multi-lingual support for English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese. If you are looking for a solution for corporate training or distance education, then eLecture is worth checking out.
Unfortunately eLecture is a Windows application for the time being. Before you go download eLecture, realize first that it comes in two parts. If you want to broadcast your lecture, you need to download the Electure Server and install the program onto your server. Once installed, you can begin broadcasting your lecture. But in order for participants to view your lecture, they must download Electure Console.
The best definition of VoxOx that I have seen is "Skype on steroids" because that is exactly what VoxOx is. Like Skpe, VoxOx offers free VOIP services to its members when you are calling computer to computer. When calling from computer to land / mobile phone then you will have to dish out some cash but not much. Also similar to Skype, VoxOx allows you to instant message and share files with people that you are talking to.
Where VoxOx differentiates itself from Skype is its integration of social networks like Facebook and MySpace into its communication platform so that you can instant message friends on those networks without having to enter those networks directly. VoxOx also provides you with the ability to send and receive text messages from VoxOx to and from a mobile phone. VoxOx is free so check it out.
Vyke is not technically an online collaboration service as much as it is an online communication service. Like Skype, Vyke is in the business of providing VOIP services to its members. But what separates Vyke from Skype is their focus. Unlike Skype which focuses primarily on PC to PC VOIP, Vyke does not serve the PC to PC market. Rather they are focused on providing mobile to mobile, mobile to PC, and PC to mobile VOIP and text messaging services. Vyke is free to download, and you only pay if you use Vyke to call to fixed line phones from your mobile or PC device.
Stinto is a new collaboration service that allows you to create your own temporary chat room instantly. After you have created the chat room, your friends and colleagues can join and you can begin plotting and scheming to your heart's content. Once you have finished making your plans for world domination, your chat room is deleted automatically after a set period of inactivity, thus erasing all trace of your evil plans. If world domination doesn't float your boat, you can also participate in more innocuos activities like conferences with business partners, planning for the evening with friends, and gamer meetings.
Limewire is a P2P file sharing service that has been around for a long time. Normally an established service like Limewire would not be covered here, but Limewire is alpha testing their newest version... Limewire 5. And one of the features that is being included in this newest update is the ability to set up private torrent networks. Which means that only your friends and others that you invite will beable to access this network and download the torrents that are being offered there. This feature allows you to very quickly share files - large and small - with team members, friends, and family without having to worry about strangers getting their grubby hands on your data, home movies, etc.
Would you like to suggest other online collaboration solutions? Would you like to share your own experiences with any of the solutions reviewed? Please leave a comment below.
Originally written by Andre Deutmeyer for MasterNewMedia and first published on January 4th 2009 as Online Collaboration Tools - New Technologies And Web Services - Sharewood Guide Jan 04 09