Section 1: Importance and challenges
Online collaboration over the internet is among the most important trends in the highly advancing world technologies. It refers to a platform that makes it possible for a certain number or group of people to be working together over the internet real-time or synchronously. It normally facilitates performance of tasks or work by people that are geographically dispersed regardless of the distance between them. This has facilitated activities in the business environments and even in learning institutions due to offering of open and distance learning. Therefore, online collaboration has its various significance that encompasses both the positive and negative.
The computer-supported online collaboration has a geographical location advantage since it allows for sharing and working from any part of the globe with just an internet connection. Business or organizations that have embraced the technology then reap various benefits due to the advantage. For example, a business may be intending to launch a certain product with the major participants such as designers and marketers dispersed in various locations. Thus, a collaboration tool can be used to synchronize every activity so that everything would go as planned. The tools could be established internally to facilitate internal affairs of the organization, as well. Within the organization, this computer-based tool enables the employees to work by their style, the way they want to, hence a chance to increase their productivity. In addition, employees will not need to send files back and forth to others because they can access all of them although this might be under different levels of access permissions. (“Is Online Collaboration the Future of How Companies Do Business?”).
Online collaboration has facilitated institutional learning especially with the big number of modernized schools that have embraced technology. Students now do not need to be within physical classrooms, but can be learn online regardless where they are. This makes learning convenient, from the comfort of their homes. The computer support creates a virtual classroom thus costs associated with commuting and transportation, and other expenses are avoided. Besides imbibing knowledge, online students can increase their digital literacy due to the exposure to the computer environment. To facilitate the interaction of the geographically distributed learners, there are various social sites and other collaboration tools that enables students to share what they have or engage in doing discussions (“Experiments in Mass Collaboration”).
Jesse Stommel in his Hybrid Pedagogy article has described how he used online collaboration tools to his advantage. He was able to use Google Docs with his colleagues to make editions to a document until they were almost producing an academic book. It is clear then that authors can find this computer-based system important in facilitating their works of art as they can co-work on a given material to produce top-notch and quality works. Collaboration enables authors to share ideas and write the same document real-time. They can coordinate efforts and share various brilliant ideas to perform various tasks simultaneously (“Theorizing Google Docs: 10 Tips for Navigating Online Collaboration”).
One of the main challenges facing online collaboration is that it requires high digital literacy levels to make it more effective. It needs workers or learners who can use various collaboration software tools that may involve technicalities. Another major drawback is the bystander effect. This happens when several participant working on the same tool identify an error and assumes another person will rectify it hence it ends up being forgotten (“Theorizing Google Docs: 10 Tips for Navigating Online Collaboration”). People have also blemished online collaboration due lack of physical interactions that enables better expression of people hence the preference to face to face interactions. Morever, the computer tools do not facilitate the formation of groups based on friendship to enhance better discussions due to the dispersion of people (“Challenges with Online Collaboration”).
Section 2: Overview or Summary
It has always been the norm that people have to meet in the same geographical location to work together, but it is not entirely the case with the current technology. It is possible for people to use the online platform to work together and privately avoiding other public members being in the mix. Common tools used for online collaboration include; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, video tools such as Skype, and word processors such as Google Docs. These tools have put different high-tech levels of security to keep off any information contained in them encrypted from the public eye.
The tools are easy to use and have prioritized dynamic communication as the most important element to enable collaborators to work efficiently (“Online Collaboration Tools – 5 Essential Tips”). Facebook, for instance, allows its users to open secured accounts and then it connects them through the ability to message and share files. With the messaging ability, it is possible to work synchronously the messages in the correspondence can go sideways instantly. Another important element is the ability to form groups where all the participants can access messages. In addition, it is possible to make video and audio calls using Facebook that makes communication easier.
Google Docs, on the other hand, works differently especially since it is not a social site. The collaboration tool is word processing software hence can be used to make word documents and their presentation. Simply, Google Docs works like a smaller version of Microsoft Office Package although it has an extra significance of being able to be used by two or more users in sync over the internet. A group of people can be able to use the tool simultaneously from various locations whereby they can be given permissions to edit, modify or delete by the administrator or file owner.
Mass collaboration is an assurance to a better online learning environment. The big number of institutions that have embraced the tool to facilitate studies of their learners depicts this. The online collaboration writing assignment is important since it has made me realize that the geographical location of a person does not matter since all is possible with computer technology. The research has shed light on how this technology is becoming embraced from schools to organizations thus I am now aware where we are headed in terms of technology (“Collaboration on the Cloud | Et Cetera | :: The Kathmandu Post ::”).
Section 4: Foreseeable challenges
Alienation from the physical classroom stands to bring various drawbacks to online collaboration. Most significant is physical interactions that are important to aid expressions. In addition, online collaboration writing may bring issues, especially where there is no an administrator to allocate a different task to the participants. This, therefore, gives room for bystander effects as most of the participants will tend to assume errors hoping or expecting the others to clear the errors. Another important element that becomes a pitfall to this computer-based tool is that they are technical to operate and needs the collaborators to be highly digitally literate (“Challenges with Online Collaboration”).
“Challenges with Online Collaboration.” Education Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2015.
“Collaboration on the Cloud | Et Cetera | :: The Kathmandu Post ::.” Ekantipur | Nepal’s No.1 News Portal | Breaking News, National, World, Business, Sports and Entertainment News. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2015.
“Experiments in Mass Collaboration.” Hybrid Pedagogy. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2015.
“Is Online Collaboration the Future of How Companies Do Business?” HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2015.
“Online Collaboration Tools – 5 Essential Tips.” Smartsheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2015.
“Theorizing Google Docs: 10 Tips for Navigating Online Collaboration.” Hybrid Pedagogy. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2015.
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