CPD23 Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

This week CPD23 is all about collaboration and file sharing using Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox. I’ve already spent some time experimenting with each of these tools because it was my job to write the CPD23 exercise for this week – this meant that a bit of preliminary research was necessary!

I think that my favourite out of these three tools is probably Wikis. I like the way that Wikis can easily be used to create a web page of useful resources which can then be edited and updated by multiple users. I also like the fact that Wikis can be used to publish information from many contributors in a single location on the web – an example being the Library Routes Project. I think that there is a lot of scope for the use of Wikis in collaborative online projects such as this.

As for Google Docs and Dropbox – these appear to be very useful tools for file sharing and for collaborating on a single document, and I can definitely see myself making use of them for this. The fact that you can upload your own personal files to the web and then use these tools to access them from any location is also very convenient; however, I’m not so certain that I will make use of this feature as I feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of storing important files, such as essays and dissertations, on the web.

At the moment I keep all my files on my USB stick, which I take with me everywhere. It may sound old-fashioned, but I feel that my files are safer on my USB stick than they would be if they were floating around somewhere on the web – I’m not sure that I would trust Google not to accidentally delete them! I’m so used to using my USB stick as a storage place and back-up for all my work that I can’t really see myself using Google Docs or Dropbox as an alternative. After all, it’s really no more hassle to plug in my USB stick than it is to log on to the Google Docs or Dropbox websites, and I have the added security of knowing that my files are always safe in my pocket! Having said that, it’s always a good idea to back-up your files in as many different places as possible in order to prevent losing them, and Google Docs/Dropbox could provide another way of doing this.

Getting back to collaboration though, I think that all three of these tools have the potential to be really useful for people who are working together on a project and I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to explore them – it’s highly likely that I will find them useful for group project work in the future.

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