EduBrite platform provides several tools you can use to implement a collaborative learning environment. Collaboration options are available at a Group level or at a Course Session level. Group level option can be used to collaborate with entire group of users and course session options can be used for collaboration among learners enrolled in a course session. We will focus mostly on options in the context of a group in this article but those are applicable to a course session as well.
You can create multiple groups (or multiple course sessions) in the microsite, and add members in the groups. Permission can also be given to all users so anyone can create a group. Groups provide complete control of administrative activities to owner/admin of the groups, thus they can decide about the policies they like to enforce in their groups, without affecting other groups. Members in the group can use following tools to collaborate with each other:
Enabling Collaboration in Group
Enabling Collaboration in Course Session
To enable these options, go to Course Session Overview page and click on Edit->settings menu.
And then select appropriate checkboxes to enable/disable the features you want.
Similarly you can check Learner's permission tab and check the boxes that apply.
Group - Sharing Updates
Any member can post brief update which will be visible to all the group members. Relevant updates for any user is visible on their Dashboard page after they login. Group specific updates are available on Overview tab of the group. Updates can be deleted by Group Admin/Owner or the user who posted the update.
Group - Forum
Each group has a built in Forum where users can post topics and engage in discussions on those topics. WYSIWYG editor is provided for adding any posting in forum, which supports text formatting, links, upload/insert images and uploading other kinds of files, adding youTube videos etc. Any post can be saved in Draft state for intermediate save, and posts can be published only when it is ready. Forum topics can be deleted only by the Group Admin/Owner. Only group members can post anything in the forum. If the group is publicly visible and allows read access to non members, then all site users can view forum data even if they are not a member of the group.
Poll provides a mechanism to conduct short suveys for the group members. Each poll can have one or more questions. Questions can be multiple choice or open response type and can be declared mandatory. Poll also has optional features to allow change in vote, view stats of the poll. Poll can be created with a start/end date which makes poll available only during that period.
Group - Resources
News, articles and files can be created by group members and would be shared with all the group members. Permission to create/update resources can be enabled/disabled for learners, If disabled only admins can create/update resources.
Articles and news are similar to Wiki pages, which users can create to collaboratively create a knowledgebase for the group members. All members of the group have the read/write access, while acces to non-members depends on visibility of the group and whether group allows view information by non-members (can be changed in group's settings). Each news/article maintains a version history, and provides compare/rollback to any previous version. WYSIWYG editor is provided for creating the news/article, which allows rich text formatting, upload/insert images and other files, insert you tube video, link to other articles/news in the group or link to external web pages etc. Editor also supports background save every 2 minutes while editing.
Documents, presentations, PDF and other types of files can also be uploaded in the group's resources section. Files don't allow updates, and are viewable inside browser.
Categorizing Files and Other Resources
You can also categorize the files and articles to make them browsable using categories. After uploading the files, click on Properties link, and enter any number of comma separated categories. As you start typing, auto complete action will show you existing categories from the group and you can choose from them or just enter a new one.
You can specify categories for news and articles by editing them and opening the Properties tab, or by clicking the properties button in the editor.
Once you have entered the categories, they would start appearing in the left navigation on Resources tab. You can click on them and browse the resources in any category.
Dashboard resources panel
Resources panel is available on learner's dashboard. That provides list of resources from user's groups. Category dropdown is available in the widget to filter list on selected category. Download option is also available for uploaded files.
A custom link can be added in left navigation to access group resources list if needed, resources page link is <site>/oltpublish/site/document.do?dispatch=getUsersResources
Events can be used to not only create online exams/survey for the group but they can also be used to create offline events for collaboration purposes.