Thing 20: File sharing and online storage

robinson crusoe

You’ve set the date, you’ve had your meeting, and you’ve set SMART objectives: it’s time to start sharing resources. Now we’re going to look at tools which support online collaboration and file-sharing. As well as among groups, there are also benefits to using these tools for your individual work.

It can be frustrating to work on group documents; keeping track of versions is difficult, and emailing updates around every day can be time consuming. Being able to store and edit documents online can help solve these problems, and tools such Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), WeTransfer and Dropbox make it possible.

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Thing 19: Online scheduling and polling

In the last Thing we looked at tools for collaborating with others online. It’s a lot easier to get everyone together online than in the real world, but it can still take a lot of organising. But fear not! There are tools for this too. Here we will look at some easy tools for running scheduling polls and other simple surveys.

One of the most popular scheduling tools is Doodle. Doodle is free, easy to use and doesn’t require any registration (although it offers added features to registered users). For this Thing, please explore Doodle and, if you can, give it a try for scheduling something.

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Thing 18: Webinars, Whatsapp and Video conferencing

Despite their prevalence in Hollywood images of academia, meetings in council chambers, lecture halls full of academics, and communication by owl-post are on the decline.

As collaborating online becomes cheaper and easier than the physical equivalent – and as the technology becomes more reliable and flexible – it’s important to know what your digital options are, for teaching, meeting and networking in real time.

siege

“Competition for room bookings at the institute was becoming ever fiercer.”

 

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Thing 17: Crowdsourcing

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“ARE YOU READY… to meticulously annotate 12,000 documents of 18th-century French paleography?!”
Photo by Marc-Olivier Paquin on Unsplash

 

Researchers in a variety of disciplines are tapping into the possibilities of crowdsourcing and what it can accomplish. This can mean crowdfunding to support scholarly projects (such as a recent campaign to pay for the restoration of Mary of Gelderland’s unique medieval prayer book), or a relatively passive involvement, such as SETI@Home, in which participants allow the project to harness the power of their computer processors when not in use.

More active varieties extend to ‘citizen science’– calling on the public to volunteer their involvement. At one end of the scale, this may mean massive data projects like those Zooniverse hosts, which have attracted over 1 million registered users thus far. Participants are given tasks which are relatively low-skill, but which humans perform better than computers – such as identifying animals from captured video. Current Zooniverse projects range from providing checks on census data to mapping vibration patterns on steelpan drums. Crowdsourcing isn’t limited to the sciences; the Transcribe Bentham project at UCL asked members of the public to transcribe Jeremy Bentham’s letters, and proved wildly successful.

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