Hello and welcome to the seventh issue of “Mini OER Learning Snacks”!
In recent years, Cloud-based collaborative word processing tools have been on the rise, for example Microsoft 365 or Google Docs. With these tools, different people can work together on a document at the same time. For this reason, they could easily fulfill the collaboration aspect of OER. However, being subscription-based services, they are not accessible to everyone.
The ideal word processing tool for creating OER would require no accounts or subscriptions, work on multiple platforms and devices, has a user-friendly interface, and allows real-time collaboration as well as easy sharing.
Here are some online collaborative writing tools that more or less meet the above-mentioned standards:
Even though Cryptpad offers their services for free (paid subscription possible), the company does not profit from user data. CryptPad has been supported since 2016 by French and European research grants such as BPI France, NLNet Foundation, NGI Trust, Mozilla Open Source Support, as well as donations and subscriptions to cryptpad.fr.
With the Rich Text tool, users can work on a document at the same time while staying anonymous. Documents created by non-registered users are deleted after 90 days of inactivity. If you plan on saving your documents, it is advisable to create a free account.
Etherpad works just as other collaborative writing tools with an advantage that it can be installed on a server, which means the users can have complete control over their data. Nevertheless, you don’t need to set up a server and install Etherpad in order to use it. Just pick one of the publicly available instances that friendly people from everywhere around the world have set up.
Hedgedoc, formerly known as CodiMD, is a collaborative writing tool which uses the Markdown language. There is also a slide mode for each document, meaning that you could create both a text document and a presentation at the same time. Hedgedoc is intended to be installed on one’s own server, but you can visit the demo server to test the functionalities. If you can’t set up your own server, HackMD offers a pre-installed Hedgedoc instance for free.
Our prompt this week: Of the three options above, which one would you like to try out? Do any other tools come to your mind that you would also recommend for creating OER documents?
As usual, an archive of the Mini OER Learning Snacks can be found here on our blog.
Phuong & Nele