Collaborize: Creating Powerful Communities in Your Online Course
Discussions are vital in your online course–they build your online community by engaging your students and letting them interact with each other. And if you’ve yet to use a simple, intuitive discussion tool that complements your course, try Collaborize. Collaborize is a suite of free web tools–Collaborize Classroom, Collaborize Workplace, and Collaborize NPO–“that helps your group identify, refine and respond to important questions, topics and ideas by adding structure to your conversations that drive to results and outcomes.” Watch how Collaborize can work for you:
In this post, we focus on Collaborize Classroom, but all tools in the Collaborize suite can benefit you depending on your needs.
Why Collaborize is Right for You
You’ll benefit from this tool if you’re seeking to extend conversation from the traditional classroom into an online environment, or to complement your current online course. Because Collaborize Classroom was developed by Democrasoft and teachers, the tool focuses on features that support academic collaboration. Following social networking principles, Collaborize benefits students because they can converse about course topics, ask and answer questions, collaborate on projects, vote on issues and ideas, and see results.
Start your free Collaborize if you want
- An easy-to-use collaboration tool that sets up in minutes.
- A simple interface for you and your students.
- To pose and display various question types, like forum, open ended, multiple choice and yes/no.
- To attach photos, videos, and documents to your questions.
- A built-in messaging system to easily communicate with students.
- To track students’ activity on the site (i.e. number of logins, votes, comments, replies, etc.).
- Your own URL.
- A web-based application so you avoid installations or software.
- Neat features like receiving daily activity reports and choosing discussions to follow more closely.
Added Benefit: Collaborize Classroom Topic Library Here’s a free resource where teachers can download, share, and archive their most engaging lessons. The Topic Library houses thousands of peer-reviewed topic-based lessons shared by teachers from all around the world.
Go to wecollaborize.com to choose one of the three Collaborize tools and set up an account. Collaborize Classroom is also available from any of Democrasoft’s Educational coalition partners, including Teachers Without Borders, Gifts-In-Kind International, and Kids in Need. iOS users: check out Collaborize’s apps Collaborize Classroom and Collaborize Classroom Pro.
Read why Google Certified Teacher and CUE Lead Learner Caitlin Tucker prefers Collaborize Classroom in her blog post Discussions: Shifting Students from Passive Observers to Active Participants. Also check out Free Polls, a shared place for users to create polls and widgets using Collaborize. Browse the examples on the Free Polls homepage, and then create your own poll (and design its widget or just share it!).
Share Your Experiences
Do you use Collaborize? Tell us how Collaborize has benefited or could benefit your higher ed course. Share with us in the comments section below.