Document Collaboration

What is document collaboration? 

Document collaboration programs allow for multiple people to access and work on one electronic file or document together.

What is the purpose of document collaboration?

Document collaboration programs facilitate two or more people to share documents with fewer limitations (for example, emailing documents is often limited to smaller file sizes). Additionally, programs also allow multiple people to work on or contribute to a document either asynchronously or synchronously. For example, co-authors can write a paper within one single document without needing to create multiple versions of the file. When programs allow for synchronous collaboration, multiple users can access and work on the document at the same time and any edits or contributions are displayed in real time. Users can see, edit, and comment on each other's work as it is added.

How to use document collaboration?

Document collaboration programs can be used in university teaching contexts to:

  • Share files with students
  • Provide feedback on students work through comments
  • Support collaborative group assignments
  • Share resources between colleagues

Tool Comparison

Google Drive Dropbox
Functionality 2 stars 2 stars
Accessibility 3 stars 2 stars
Technical 3 stars 2 stars
Mobile 3 stars 3 stars
Usage and Account Setup 2 stars 2 stars
Social Presence 2 stars 2 stars
Instructor Presence 2 stars 2 stars
Cognitive Presence 3 stars 2 stars

All Tools

Additional Resources

Kai‐Wai Chu, S. and Kennedy, D.M. (2011) Using online collaborative tools for groups to co‐construct knowledge Online Information Review, 35(4), pp. 581–597. doi: 10.1108/14684521111161945.

Carey, J. (2012). Dropbox: A Superb Classroom Tool [blog post] Powerful Learning Practice

Using Dropbox to Share Teaching Resources. Fractus Learning