Online collaborative workspaces

These workspaces are Internet-based portals that allow technical and non-technical users the ability to share and view documents, exchange ideas, and communicate relevant information. These digital tools are becoming increasingly popular due to the mobility and disjointedness of today's workforce, along with the increased speed, availability, and reliability of Internet access. Virtual Classroom Software Systems, Learning Management Systems, and Wikkis often either contain or function as Online Collaborative Workspaces.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous communication


Wikipedia notes that collaborative workspaces provide for both instantaneous (synchronous) and delayed (asynchronous) communication. Synchronous collaboration utilizes the newest technologies such as video teleconferencing and shared whiteboards to provide a true "real time" communicative environment. While asynchronous collaboration is not "live" communication, it still utilizes modern digital tools such as discussion boards, wikis, and file sharing to facilitate team work and project completion from disparate locations.

Second Life

Second Life is a virtual world created by Linden Lab that allows users to interact in a 3D environment. This software allows real time communication as well as interaction with the created environment without the constraints of physically meeting in a location. Proponents of Second Life claim that it could be used as a meeting place for education and business as well as the other social interactions that already occur daily.

K-12 example:

One strength of the Internet is the ability to connect vastly different cultures so they can share their experiences. Relatively simple technology such as email, blogs, wiki, and the internet can be used to foster culturely rich environments where students can exchange ideas about their cultures and languages. One site that serves as a portal for many cultures is ePals. Taking the idea of pen pals and adding the immediate response that online technology provides is the basic approach of ePals.
The ePals Classroom Exchange maintains what it calls "largest community of collaborative classrooms engaged in cross-cultural exchanges, project sharing and language learning." ePALS also provides "school safe" email, blog, eMentoring, and web browsing options. The website reports that they have connected over 6 million students in over 190 countries.

Internet Forums

By far the most popular form of collaborative workspace on the Internet is the Internet Forum. According to the wikipedia entry on Internet Forums, forums are a "facility on the World Wide Web for holding discussions and posting user generated content, or the web application software used to provide the facility. Web-based forums, which date from around 1995[//citation needed//], perform a similar function as the dial-up bulletin boards and Internet newsgroups that were numerous in the 1980s and 1990s. A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users. Technology, computer games, and politics are popular areas for forum themes, but there are forums for a huge number of different topics [1]" Internet forums are also commonly referred to as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, (electronic) discussion groups, discussion forums, bulletin boards (but see also dial-up bulletin boards), fora[2] (the Latin plural) or simply forums. The term "forum" and "board" may refer to the entire community, or a specific forum (for example, "off-topic") within the community.