LiveBinders - Collaboration Goes Live and ePortfolios Revisited

As mentioned in my first post about LiveBinders, I am working with our Literacy Coordinator on an ePortfolio solution for our Humanities classes. As we finalized our setup this past week, I was pleased to discover that LiveBinders recently introduced their collaboration feature. A quick look at this new and exciting feature after the jump.

As we go head first with some progress monitoring, we decided to develop a template for teachers to use in collecting and comparing student work samples throughout the year, and with students in other classes. We debated whether to use Google Sites or another Web 2.0 tool, but ultimately decided on LiveBinders for the reasons discussed in the first post.  This week, we set up a binder for each of three teams of teachers who all teach the same subject. With the new collaboration feature, we are now able to share each binder with the individual team teachers so they will have individual access and the ability to add items in the preset tabs and subtabs.

Reminiscent of the easy collaboration setup found in Google Apps, LiveBinders simply asks for an email address and all users must have a LiveBinder account. Thus, although it does not allow for anyone with the link to edit (as is the case with Google Docs), the ability to collaborate with users on a binder or a portfolio is probably the most impressive (and essentially required) update for the web 2.0 tool. Once shared, the binder appears in your shelf, and you can sort based on binders you own, those you've shared, and those that have been shared with you. I found it very easy to collaborate, and I'm optimistic that our teachers will feel similar.

One part of the interface that took some getting used to was how only one item is allowed per tab or subtab. This can make it a little too easy to upload a document and supplant the existing one in the same tab. We also had a brief scare when we couldn't copy a binder or share the portfolio with new collaborators. This turned out to be a small glitch and the very helpful and responsive technical support team from LiveBinders informed us that this will be fixed in a future update. Lastly, I've experienced some browser crashes, but we believe that this was due to multiple users working in the same subtab at the same time. Even Google Apps experiences some difficulty with this scenario from time to time.

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