Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reflection on Google Docs

        Recently, I have been given assignments which required collaboration with colleagues. These colleagues were great distances away or have hectic schedules that made meetings impossible. Our mission for the assignment was to create a MythBuster research report, which evaluated different testing methods for the given myth. By majority, we opted to use Google Docs as our main source of communication and work plans.


It was mainly selected due to its ease of accessibility. Face to face meetings were virtually non-essential because Google Docs provided everything we needed. We were able to talk in the side chat box and work on the document at the same time without much conflict. Work was progressing smoothly until we reached a point where we had trouble using some of the tools available such as the highlighting function; It wouldn't highlight a specific sentence. We then had to spend extra time to learn the tool better so we could use it. An unnecessary Google Docs drawback was the non-user friendly highlighting tool that consumed too much of our time. Based on my personal experience, I have listed out a few of the pros as well as cons of using Google Docs.


Pros:
  • All users will be able to access the document at the same time.
  • Work will have full privacy - Only shared members can edit the document
  • Most recent changes will be updated immediately.
  • Auto save function - Prevents from losing the information even without saving it intentionally
  • Different color cursor for each users to avoid confusion.
  • Sidebar shows users that are online on the side.
  • Chat box are available at the side for communication purposes - Conflict can be resolved instantly. Other users will be able to inform the writer about the changes required
  • Saves time and better flexibility - Face to face meeting can be avoided with everyone pack schedule
Courtesy of www.learningdomain.com

Face to face Meet Up Vs. Using Google Docs

Cons:
  • Update delays between writer and viewer - Defers greatly on each users Internet speed
  • Highlighting function isn't user friendly - It takes skill to highlight certain sentences instead of the entire document.
  • Document could be deleted unintentionally - i.e. When dragging the cursor, bits and pieces of the document will be deleted
  • Less tools are available compare to the actual word document or others.


It was overall a great tool and the Pros outweigh the Cons. Google Docs has features that are useful for collaborating, instant communications and a document sharing. We managed to save a lot of time without having to meet face to face. We were able to complete the assignment before deadline even with its disadvantages from using Google Docs. One also need to keep in mind that your internet speed will affect the update delays between writer and viewer. This tool is really helpful for collaborations with group members that are great distances away or might have heavy schedules. It will be used more frequently in the work field. I will need to master this tool and its respective functions to work more efficiently in the future.




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