Commercial systems
  • Groove "desktop collaboration software". This is potentially a big player in the field - founded by Ray Ozzie (who created Lotus Notes) and financially supported by Microsoft. The home page claims it "effortlesslly keeps people, information, and PC's in sync; online or offline, real-time or anytime - it just works" and that it is "10x better than email alone for sharing files or working with others on documents, tasks,  projects and decisions". It costs about $99 and a free preview edition is available. For a critical review, read Robin Good's (2003) Groove: Ten good reasons not to buy, which complains (among many other things) about the way Groove hogs processing power and bandwidth and its un-intuitive user interface. A positive take on using Groove in education is provided by Rick Lillie of Cal State, as described in this (unfortunately marred by marketing-speak) article on the Groove website and (more neutrally) on Lillie's blog. Lillie uses Groove in combination with web pages, SharePoint, electronic books, printed books and MSN Messenger.
  • Windows SharePoint Services, is a heavily promoted Microsoft's product providing workers with a common environment in which to share information and documents.
  • Macromedia Contribute. Potentially another big player. At $75 a shot, "Contribute enables a large group of non-technical participants to collaborate on a shared project. In other words, not only does Contribute excel as a tool for updating publicly available web pages, it also enables non-technical users to share hyperspace, collaborating on documents through a browser-like editor from anywhere in the world."
  • Socialtext is an online collaboration system incorporating collaborative document editing via wiki blog-like features together with conferencing features.


Collaborative learning environments sourcebook

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