TAO/Online collaboration

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Collaboration: working together, online and in real-time

In contrast to software focusing primarily on communication – which are presented in the subsequent chapters – you will find some hints on actually creating and working on material on this pages. There is a magnitude of available solutions so to make a beginning we just aimed to present some that were used in the TAO project. However you should feel free to use this site to promote the tool of your choice!

„Office“ tools – especially if they enable cooperation on documents in real-time – often come in very helpful. Often there are services available for free:


Etherpad Pro on piratenpad.de.
A text editing / creation tool, that provides only less options for formatting. This can be seen as an advantage as the user's have to focus on content and are not distracted by fiddling with the outer form. Every document is simply shared by sending its respective link to others. All work on the text is recorded and therefore no information can be deleted by accident and no versions of a document have to be saved for later refernce (this aspect resembles working with a wiki very much). Using EtherPad there are also options for creating resticted workspaces for teams, called EtherPad Pro. The software is open source and can be installed and used free of charge on your webserver, but there are also sites that provide free EtherPads you can create as you need them, e.g.:
An example EtherPad for testing purposes can also be found here https://zawiw.edupad.uni-konstanz.de/demo-pad. If you are interested just follow the link and try it out.

Google Docs

Graphic created with Google Docs.
Is a free “office suite” accesible via a web-browser. Files like text documents, spread sheets or graphics are saved on [w:en:Google|Google's]] servers an can be shared with other users or for public cooperation. Compared with a nowadays conventional office programs there are some features you might miss, but all basic features are implemented and addtional ones are being developed and it also enabled simultaneous real-time access of multiple users. To create new documents an account registered using a e-mail address is needed (you do not need an actual Google Account). The service can be found here http://docs.google.com/ and here you will find an example of a graphic created in TAO here: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1B2EwgHpT9Cah-ZrZFptFqlv6fRzyKUyGoe48eeHXKew/edit

Besides working on documents there is always a need to exchange files during the recent years there appeared a lot of services providing such, for example the very notorious service Dropbox[1] or offers included in accounts that the members of your group may already use as they served completely different purpose than sharing files in the first place; e.g. you can obtain “online storage” at Google's Drive[2] or Amazon's Drive[3].

Moreover there are lots of other implementations to enable exchanging files, web-based solutions such us owncloud, NextCloud Seafile, Syncthing and Pydio.

Services hosted on the servers of your organization supply more confidentiality and maybe more reliability and can provide more capabilities.


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  1. https://www.dropbox.com
  2. https://drive.google.com
  3. http://www.amazon.com/clouddrive