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3.3 Networking and collaboration tools

Google Docs and other elements of the Google Apps suite (as well as a range of other similar tools) allow teachers to share materials with their learners and work on them together in real time, or asynchronously. This can enable strengthening of the teacher-learner online relationship, which is particularly valuable in the early stages of a course. In addition, a range of collaborative networking tools can be used to foster group working and a sense of community between learners on an online course. Instant messaging apps can foster backchannels (Week 1 of this course introduced backchannels [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). Activities using Twitter or Pinterest to search for information, or using Diigo to gather together relevant internet bookmarks, can help bring an online group together with a shared objective, as well as exposing that group to a wider community in a relevant subject area.