Main Forum

Writing Tools

Writing Tools

by parker owens -
Number of replies: 17
I think we should do this using a wiki. That way we could make notes on topics even if we aren't writing them. The book might just write itself that way!
In reply to parker owens

Re: Writing Tools

by Sylvia Currie -
Parker, I split off your last post to a new thread to discuss writing tools. I really like the idea of working together in a Wiki, and the example Robin mentioned earlier made the whole process seem so streamlined. The Wiki tool here in SCoPE probably isn't robust enough for this project. The only other tools I have any experience with are:
http://docs.google.com/
http://www.wikispaces.com/

Both of these have good features but I don't want to push us into a Wiki tool that we're not all happy with. Do any of you have Wiki experience and preferences to help us narrow down our choices?

Some important features are:
  1. Easily organize and navigate separate chapters
  2. Export options
  3. Track changes
  4. Page change notification
  5. Enough free disk space
  6. Images
  7. Free
  8. A way to manage editors/ permissions
  9. ???






In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Writing Tools

by parker owens -
pbwiki is the only one I have experience with. It could work, but we'd have to add on the chapter pages and create links to them.
In reply to parker owens

Re: Writing Tools

by Jeffrey Keefer -

I have also used this tool http://pbwiki.com/, yet have little to compare it to.

A reframing question--if we are working on chapters independently, do we really need a wiki, or is this simply for transparency as opposed to collaboration?

In reply to Jeffrey Keefer

Re: Writing Tools

by Sylvia Currie -
Jeffrey asks:
"..if we are working on chapters independently, do we really need a wiki, or is this simply for transparency as opposed to collaboration?"

I think a wiki will be useful for a final format as will as collaboration. If we can see work in progress with other chapters then it's easier to adjust our own content and writing. Having said that, there are other publishing options. A new thread!
Sylvia

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Writing Tools

by margot mcneill -

Hi Sylvia,

Just thought I'd post a comment about our experience with using a wiki (in Moodle) for collaborative work - because there is no track changes facility, we found that the team members weren't really confident to move or delete much.

We used the wiki during our online meetings and made the changes as we went and left the 'edit' to one person. We found it good for developing ideas - the development of the list of chapters which people could add to could work well.

I don't have any suggestions for which wiki to use (experience based on only one tool) but just wanted to post a cautionary note.

Margot

In reply to margot mcneill

Re: Writing Tools

by Emma Duke-Williams -
I think that Wikispaces has good tracking - and, as far as I know, it's possible to set different levels of access.

However, I wonder if for a book, something like Google Docs, or, which I personally prefer right now, Zoho, might be better. A way that might work would be that all collaborators have viewing rights to all documents, and just editing rights on those that they are involved with.

One thing that might need to be considered is the ease of Export in a format suitable for printing; or is it going to be an online book? I've only exported from Google Docs (Zoho being quite a new "re-discovery"), and that needed quite a bit of tweaking to get it into the right format for a proposal that we were submitting.
In reply to margot mcneill

Re: Writing Tools

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks for that cautionary note about the Moodle wiki tool, Margot! These are the kinds of features (or lack of) we need to check into.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Writing Tools

by Michael Griffith -
Hi - I found this useful comparison tool http://www.wikimatrix.org/ which allows you to compare wiki functions....
For my money wikispaces will probably do for our needs at the present time. Maybe someone else would like to run this comparison program to see if they come up with different results.
Cheers
Michael
In reply to Michael Griffith

Re: Writing Tools

by Sylvia Currie -
All so helpful! I'll sure be learning a lot from all of you. cool I already have accounts created all over the place. So far wikispace is looking really good. I'll look into this further tomorrow.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Wikispaces

by Sylvia Currie -
Wikispaces

I have our wikispace set up. Right now it is just with a draft table of contents. I set out invitations and Barbara was in there seconds later editing cool If you didn't get an invitation let me know.

After tinkering with other tools wikispaces seemed to be the best option. I experienced some problems importing and exporting from google docs, so although that's a nice feature it may cause more headaches than it's worth.

I just realized though that "protected" pages in wikispaces means living with google ads. I'm actually so used to google ads as a gmail user that it doesn't bother me, but how does everyone else feel about it?

Another option is to look for someone to sponsor the book project by providing free hosting. Robin mentioned Stewart Mader's book earlier. Robin and I attended a presentation by Stewart, and I believe that book is hosted as a special arrangement with company Adaptavist.com.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Wikispaces

by Francesc Balagué -
I like wikispaces, but also I have enough hosting space that we can share if we need, I also agree that wikispaces sidebar ads  doesn't bother me. To set up a wiki in our private hosting will be a little more complicate but as you prefer...

cheers!

francesc
In reply to Francesc Balagué

Re: Wikispaces

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks for the space offer, Francesc. One nice feature about wikispaces is that we can export our content quite easily, so if we need to move our work, or use a different format we can. BTW, I'll be sure to backup regularly! For now we can just carry on with Wikispaces.

Here's my dumb question. Are you all able to create new pages in wikispaces in our blogging to enhance learning space? I think you do, but I can't seem to tell what kind of access you have without creating a second account.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Wikispaces

by Francesc Balagué -
Yes Sylvia,
we can create new pages, the link address will be http://bloggingtoenhancelearning.wikispaces.com/new_page
I'm not sure about if we have to use common names (chapter1, chapetr2...) or is not important, for the new pages...
In reply to Francesc Balagué

Re: Wikispaces

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks, Francesc, and good question about how to name the pages. For now I created pages by lead author's last name. I figure the chapter numbers will change, and so might the titles, so the only thing certain is that our names won't change :-) (Well, unless you decide to switch the lead author role with someone else.)

Wikispaces allows for page name changes so I can make any adjustments we need to make. Later I'll change the page names to chapter1, 2 etc when we know the order.

Also, everyone should feel free to edit/add new topics to the table of contents, assign yourself as lead author, and add new pages as needed.

I hope my page naming and organizing logic works for everyone!
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Writing Tools

by Michael Griffith -
I suppose you all do know that wikispaces (http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers/) is currently hosting an advertising-free space for all K-12 educators....
This could be very useful
Cheers
Michael
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Writing Tools

by Michael Griffith -
Sorry to inundate you... but some may be interested in this review of wikis that was just sent to me be a colleague:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/biztech/working-the-wiki/2007/03/05/1172943353105.html
Michael