So this week saw a little more progress on the virtual team collaboration project. A discussion thread was opened on Sulis so that we could all begin throwing around topic ideas. Early on, a few people voiced their agreement towards the idea of writing instructions for Instagram.
At first I wondered if Instagram could actually be classified as a collaborative technology. It is after all an app that just allows people to share photos and videos. But it is also a social networking service, and if you are a photographer it can provide you with numerous ways to work with other people. You can find interesting photos to edit, other photographers to follow, and free resources to use (such as textures, overlays, and photographs). There is even a specific account, @collabstream, which showcases all the collaborations that are added to the hashtag #collabstream, and some of these photos are simply amazing.
So with this in mind, we arranged our first group chat on Sulis to pin down some of these ideas. Except there was a major problem in that only the three Irish collaborators joined the chat. We had thought that holding the meeting at 9pm Irish time would suit the US students. Unfortunately, this time appeared to clash with some of their scheduled class times, and was probably too late in the evening for the French students.
At this stage, communication appears to be one of the biggest challenges for our project. With a large group such as this, we need people to be checking in regularly with Sulis and to be contributing to the discussions. We need to be sure that everyone in the team is always up-to-date with the project. Unfortunately, people’s lack of familiarity with Sulis might also be contributing to some of these issues. Sulis has a major limitation in that it does not send you reminders when someone posts to a discussion thread, so it is up to each person to remember to check in regularly with the site to see what has happened.
Despite these difficulties, we have agreed to use Google Docs as our collaboration tool. Google Docs allows users to create and edit online documents for free, and everyone will have access the same documents. It seems ideal for this project, as the whole Google suite is designed to facilitate collaboration with other users in real-time. We will set up a folder for our team to share over the next few days, and begin working on the documents over the next week.