This week’s Things were all already familar to me, and all would be usful tools for organising collaboration with academics outside the immediate vicinity. Thing 18 covered webinars and hangouts; Thing 19 covered online scheduling using Doodle, and Thing 20 considered file sharing, using Google Drive and Dropbox.
I have never used any of these in an academic context, but Doodle is an invaluable tool, and I have used it for work, for coordinating Students’ Union committee meetings, and even for pinning down large groups of very busy friends at the best possible time for everybody.
I have also delivered webinars as part of my work within the Student Recruitment team in the past, presenting to and chatting with prospective students and applicants around the world. The ability to connect with deliver quite complex presentations and information through webinar platforms would be very useful in collaborating with other researchers in far flung places. Hangouts might be a useful way for keeping up to date with a supervisor on sabbatical abroad, enabling the sharing of notes, work, and ideas in real time.
I use Drop Box to back up some of my personal files, and used the collaborative functions of Google Drive to great effect in my time with the Students’ Union newspaper. It is easy to track changes and leave comments for colleagues, and while I prefer the to use the version of Microsoft Word online provided with my university Live Mail account for collaborating with direct colleagues, the fact that Google Drive offers access for free makes it practical for collaborating with anyone, no matter their budget or their institutional provisions.