Online Collaboration

There are many tools and services that can help us collaborate with others.Choosing tools to collaborate

These may be tools that help students work on projects together, build collaborative presentations, create team-built wikis around research topics, share calendars for scheduling, teleporting visitors into your classroom (well, ‘videoing’ them in at least) and more.

Of course, many of these tools can also be used for individual work, with the advantage of being able to share work with classmates, instructors and others for review, reaction and input. Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with connecting and sharing, so there are a few extra tools focused on those ideas too.

Working in your online classes provides unique opportunities for collaboration, utilising the structures available in Interact2 at CSU (Blackboard LMS) and online meeting tools. Significant advantages of collaboration are a key feature of the CSU ONLINE LEARNING MODEL and part of our strategy to improve student experiences.

In this video Dr Joanne Jung shares her years of experience teaching online courses with the aim of improving the teaching environment for professors and the learning environment for students. By replicating, customizing, and incorporating the best and most effective practices of what a great lecturer does in on-campus classes, reimagined for an online delivery system, Jung shows how a higher level of learning and transformation can be achieved through collaboration in online learning communities.

Collaborative Brainstorming

  • TitanPad – This is one of the simplest ways to share a document. Based on the EtherPad project (now taken over by Google), just click on the Create Public Pad button and start writing. Share the URL and others can jump in. Handy for collaborative note-taking in a class, sharing ideas and of course, writing.
  • Padlet – Online sharing space. Add comments, images and more. Easy to launch a space and contributors can post without needing to login. Export content in various formats like PDF and CSV. Here’s a Cool Tools padlet for you to test out.   (Formerly called WallWisher)
  • TodaysMeet – Such a brilliantly simple tool. Create a “room”, share the URL with students and they can comment without creating an account. Pose a question and give them time to provide feedback. Answers can be saved to a shared document to share with the whole group.
  • Popplet – Brainstorm individually or collaboratively. Create a popplet board, add notes, images, videos and more. Link groups of content and ideas together. The free plan gives you 10 popplets. Popplets can be embedded in a webpage to share your ideas with others.
  • Stormboard – Another brainstorming/whiteboard tool that can be used individually or collaboratively. Some useful education templates included. Free educator plan being offered until July 31, 2017.
  • Six Tools for Collaborative Brainstorming – A Comparison Chart

Wikis – Wikis can be used for so many things. Create research guides; students can collaborate on research projects; outlining and drafting research projects; collaborative writing projects; gathering and sharing data from around the world by setting a page to be editable by anyone; student portfolios.

  • PBWorks – PBWorks is also very popular with educators, offering basic accounts for free and the ability to add students without requiring email accounts.

Share your desktop

  • JoinMe – This handy service lets you show your computer desktop to others simply by sending them a link that they’ll open in a web browser. What they’ll see is your desktop. It’s great for showing someone how to use a library search tool or some other online or desktop tool. Click on “start a meeting” to get started.
  • – offers the ability to create “invite-only” rooms, vet incoming participants, turn-off/on all participants video and mic (to help minimise data use/bandwidth requirements and reduce background noise)

Try this

Now jump into an online tool with a friend or colleague and try out some online collaboration!


Explore further

Top 200 Tools for Learning: Best of Breed – This list is updated every year and educators vote on the best tool.

Directory of Learning & Performance ToolsA treasure trove of so many tools! Tools for all of us, not just for the education world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. This has been a very interesting ‘thing’! I have learnt a lot. Thank you so much for all the work you are putting into this program.

  2. I am looking forward to diving deeply into Things 5 and 6. Good for PD at CSU but also for my community and pro bono work in the Riverina of southern New South Wales.

    I need, now urgently, to develop collaborative E-spaces for my pro bono efforts on several fronts, so I will turn to this on my weekends!

  3. There is so much available these days. People in my course seem to rattle off names of apps and games, ALL of which I have never heard of. This has been a steep learning curve for me. Glad I am doing the course, as I feel I could get left behind.

  4. There seem to be so many available – and always a new one to be curious about and check out!

    I think I shall practice saying “How interesting! Tell me more!” and hope that works to impress people with my formidable command of trends!! (smile)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *