Every day I collaborate online with team members that are in another country. There are several online collaboration tools that make online meetings easier. I have selected seven free (7) tools to present.
Skype is a great application for free Skype-to-Skype calls. It has also the subscription option that lets you call to landlines and sometimes mobile phone for a monthly fee. I heavily use Skype everyday. It has the option to share your desktop and you can send files easily by dragging and dropping them into the message area. With Skype you can keep a log with all your text messages and conversations. I have used Skype customer support and my experience was not a very positive one. I hope in the future to fix that.
With Microsoft Office Live you can share the documents you want with your peers. It is a free service from Microsoft. It comes with 5GB of space. Each individual file can be up to 25MB. You can give access to the users you want with right to view or edit the files. You can organize your files into folders, create lists and add notes. If you are on the move it is a convenient place to store your files.
3. Google Docs
Google Docs is a free service offered by Google. With Google Docs you can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online. Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. You can share and edit simultaneously the files with other users that you invite.
Dimdim is a browser-based web conferencing service. It has both free and paid options. You can show presentations, collaborate via whiteboards, chat, talk and broadcast via web cam with absolutely no download required to host. I have used the free edition of Dimdim to host an online meeting. The results were satisfactory but you must know that in the free version you cannot save what you write on the whiteboard. The good thing is that with the free option you can have up to 20 participants to the meeting. Dimdim has also an open source edition.
Vyew is a free web conferencing tool. It has also paid options that adds new features. The good thing is that you can save your online collaborations. You can host unlimited meetings and the free option allows for 10 concurrent users. It has voip, video and chat options. You can upload files or your desktop image. If you have an online business they have also an affiliate program (commission based). I signed to their affiliate program after evaluating their service.
Twiddla is a web conference tool with a grate whiteboard. They offer voice chat for the free edition. All feature are free for educational purposes. I have used Twiddla and I found it very easy to use, no downloads and works with all browsers.
Dabbleboard is an online collaboration application that’s centered around the whiteboard. It has both free and paid plans. It is a fantastic whiteboard tool, ideal for sharing your ideas with your team or explaining concepts to remote team members.
There are a lot more very good collaboration tools. I added only those that I have used.Most of the tools I mentioned here I have used in conjunction with Skype. If you know any real good collaboration tool that I have not tried yet please leave a comment.