University of Washington – Center on Human Development and Disability
Medical Home Partnerships for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs
and Their Families
August 31, 2009 Deliverable
G. Autism Grant Activities
Task G.1. Provide results of technology information sharing
G.1. Report of results
TECHNOLOGY COLLABORATION RESEARCH
PURPOSE: The Department of Health, Children with Special Health Care Needs Program collaborates with local and state partners across Washington to improve health care and related services for children and youth with special health care needs and their families. As active partners on many DOH-CSHCN activities, Medical Home Leadership Network project staff saw a need to learn more about new effective ways that our project and the many groups collaborating across the state could use to work together with minimal travel or training costs. We proposed as a DOH contract activity that we would begin to explore low cost electronic collaboration options for ourselves and other DOH partners.
Faye Louie, Medical Home webmaster, led the effort under the guidance of Kate Orville and Kathy TeKolste, MHLN Co-Directors. Together, we developed the following parameters for the electronic tools we investigated:
; Employed by the University of WA, local or state public health, early intervention programs, family
organizations, health care programs etc primarily in WA state (e.g. not wealthy and probably with limited
tech support available)
; Beginner or medium-skilled technology user
; Easy to use
; Low budget
; Recommended by similar users
; Electronic Workgroups
; Online Discussion
; Document Sharing and Collaboration
; Group Conference Calls
; Online Meeting/Conference (webinar/presentation sharing)
; Video Conferencing
; Additional Distance Learning Tools
; Social Media (blogs, social networks, etc.)
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 1 of 13
Expected Size of User Groups
; Document Collaboration: up to 10
; Group calls: about 1 – 20 (up to 100)
; Webinar: about 10 – 20 (up to 100)
There are an enormous variety of tools available at all levels of complexity and cost. It was impossible to explore every option. Faye identified a range of tools in each category and the relevant questions to ask in determining which tool to chose for any particular task. We then we narrowed down our investigation to a more indepth exploration of several tools within each category that were recommended by non-profit technology users (such as the organization TechSoup.org) and relatively easily accessible to our target audience. The report includes detailed information about each of the highlighted options.
This project took place over two months so there was not time to do indepth testing of each chosen tool, but we have begun testing individual tools such as those for document sharing and collaboration. One interesting outcome has been how a tool that looks very useful and relatively easy on paper, such as MS Office Live for document sharing, can prove itself to have a much steeper learning curve in real life. We initially thought this would be the tool we would recommend for collaborating on documents but identified a number of sizable barriers to its use when we used the tool to develop this report.
Readers can use this report to identify logical starting points for experimenting with new electronic collaboration tools. The MHLN project staff will also continue to explore individual tools. We look forward to ongoing dialogue about these and other tools.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 2 of 13
In the interim while searching for tools that will help us collaborate better with folks
across the state, we have developed what we call “electronic workgroups”. This
category does not necessarily classify as a collaboration tool per se, but is mainly
used as a one way communication for groups to get information. We have set this up
for both open and password protected pages.
Depending on the level of interaction and editing needed, a more suitable solution for this type of sharing may be to use an online discussion tool or document sharing/collaboration tool, both of which are listed below in the next sections.
Online discussion tools are great to support collaboration, have a discussion or
exchange ideas on a particular topic anytime on the Internet. Some tools include:
; Discussion Groups
A listserv is an electronic mailing list that consists of email addresses for a group
in which the sender can send one email message and it will be distributed to all subscribers of the list. It can be used as a tool to distribute a message or encourage discussion on a particular topic to those subscribed to the list. Posts may or may not be moderated. Posts may also be archived in threads for viewing at a later time or to view and follow a particular discussion (threads consist of emails that are a series of responses to an initial email).
We currently have set up several listservs set up through UW Mailman services:
; “mhln_teams” (130 MHLN team members and state and local partners),
; “medautism” (circa 60 clinicians and others interested in medical issues around autism, especially
diagnosis- moderated by Dr. Chuck Cowan),
; “wffn” ( xx members of the Washington Family to Family Network),
; “devscr” (11 members of a developmental screening workgroup- listserv currently not being used)
; “yakdevscreen” (12 members of workgroup focused on developmental screening efforts in Yakima).
A forum is an online discussion site, like a bulletin board that is online. It is similar to a listserv in that it can be used as a tool to post information or questions and to elicit discussion. One significant difference between forums and listservs is that listservs automatically deliver new messages to the subscriber, while forums require the member to visit the website and check for new posts. Forum users access posts by going to a website that is organized in threads (by date and subject). Because members may miss replies in threads they are interested in, many forums now may offer an "e-mail notification" feature, whereby members can choose to be notified of new posts in a thread.
Discussion groups can work like listservs and forums with the added ability to support uploading and commenting on documents. The disadvantage to this type of tool is that after editing a document, each user must remember to upload their updated version before others can view the changes. If documents are edited frequently, information could easily get out of sync. Examples of such tools are: UW Go Post, Google Groups, and Yahoo Groups.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 3 of 13
For more in-depth collaboration on documents, see the section below on document sharing and collaboration.
Document Sharing and Collaboration
The traditional ways of emailing documents and versions back and forth have been
cumbersome and difficult to track. Using online collaborative editing tools may help
save time and stay organized. There are a lot of tools and options available for file
sharing and collaboration with multiple people, but we concentrated on the select few
low budget, easy to use or recommended options:
; UW ShareSpaces http://www.washington.edu/lst/web_tools/sharespaces
; Google Docs http://docs.google.com
; Zoho Docs http://docs.zoho.com/jsp/index.jsp
; Microsoft Office Live http://www.officelive.com/en-us/
; Writeboard http://writeboard.com/
; More advanced tools: Wikis or Project Management Tools
UW ShareSpace Google Docs Zoho Docs MS Office Live Writeboard Cost Free Free Free (1GB) Free Free $3/month (5GB) $9/month (15GB) Tech skill Easy Easy Easy Medium Super easy Ease of use (requires some installation for options) Space/Storage Unlimited Limits but sufficient varies 5GB total Unlimited, but to -but each file not to (see below for keep files organized, exceed 1GB details) buy “Backpack”
Version Control YES YES YES YES YES save versions auto save versions
Check-out NO N/A N/A YES YES System (to not necessary b/c of not necessary b/c of locked to block edits warning but can prevent real-time editing real-time editing while being used override simultaneous editing) Real-time NO YES YES YES NO editing need to download, can edit with others and chat but not upfront. Will online checkout make changes and at the same time need to download system and leave upload new version MS Shareview comments without integration editing writeboard Chat/ NO YES, but seems to YES YES YES, Discussion be limited to Built-in chat feature Built-in chat feature Leave comments Feature spreadsheets only without editing actual text Account Sign-UW NetID required Google Account (can Create Zoho Account Must create NONE up needed (can collaborate with use existing email Windows Live ID to users are sent a link those outside of UW address as account edit documents. and password to edit with name) For more information the document ProtectNetworkID) about Windows Live ID, see: www.passport.net
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 4 of 13
Most simple of the options, UW ShareSpace is a convenient place to share files with a group. Everything is available online; there is no need to install extra software to use this service – just login and start collaborating.
UW affiliates can set-up and use this service for free, and those outside of the UW community can use many tools from Catalyst by creating a ProtectNetwork ID. For more information, see:
The downside of this tool is that since it does not have a check-out system – more than one person could
download the document and make changes, then there would be problems of needing to incorporate both edits or decide which version is more updated.
Google Docs is a tool for collaborating on web-based word documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other form applications in real time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time and users can see changes immediately or chat with people who are viewing the file. With preliminary testing, it seems that the chat feature is only currently available while working on spreadsheets. Real-time editing in word may also get a little confusing if more than one user is accessing the file at the same time. Further testing is required to figure out full functionality of the real-time editing and chat features.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 5 of 13
Open documents are automatically saved to prevent data loss, and a revision history is automatically kept. Files are created within the application itself or imported (one at a time), but note that original formatting of the document may not be preserved. It is not ideal for elaborate formatting or layouts and there may be loss of formatting when converting back and forth between Microsoft Office software. It can however be saved and exported in a variety of formats (OpenOffice, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Word). Another work-around may also be to collaborate in a text based (less formatting heavy) format, then when final edits are incorporated, add in formatting features, convert document into PDF format (to preserve formatting), then upload for final reviews/commenting.
Google Size Limits
At one time, users can have a total of:
; 5000 documents (not to exceed 500KB) and presentations (up to 10MB)
; 5000 images (not to exceed 2MB each)
; 1000 spreadsheets (up to 1MB)
; 100 PDFs (up to 10MB)
Learn more here: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/intl/en/tour1.html
Similar to Google Docs, Zoho Docs uses its own interface for document and file collaboration. One distinct feature of this tool is that it allows uploading of zip files and these files can get unzipped and stored in defined folders.
More information and a demo can be found at: http://docs.zoho.com/jsp/index.jsp
Other than document collaboration, Zoho also has many other useful collaboration applications: http://www.zoho.com/.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 6 of 13
Microsoft Office Live Workspace
Office Live Workspace is basically an online extension of Microsoft Office, and is a service for storing and sharing documents online. Documents may be managed from remote locations without a flash drive. Files cannot be edited from within the workspace, but clicking on "edit" will open them up in Microsoft Office.
Installations: In order for workspaces to be accessed directly from Office, users of Word, Excel and PowerPoint must install an Office Live Update. Use of a workspace can be enhanced by installing Silverlight,
a plug-in that makes it easier to upload multiple documents and collaborate with others on a workspace. The workspace has a check-out system to prevent simultaneous editing; documents are "checked out" and "checked in”. To edit real-time (screen share), users can install SharedView.
Files/workspaces can be shared with up to 100 people. Unlike Google Docs, comments or activity can be seen directly on the screen without extra tabbing or clicking. MS Office Live Workspace seems to be more robust than Google Docs and has more functionality. And because it is a Microsoft product, users do not have to worry about document conversions or formatting problems.
Files may be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection (even if Office isn’t installed). However, to edit documents, users must have Microsoft Office and a Windows Live ID. Also note that there may be some barriers in sharing documents if a user only has an email address that is “reserved” (not your own
registered domain- for example, UW email addresses will not work because the “u.washington.edu” part of the address “belongs” to the UW). Users may find that they must create a Windows Live ID in order to view and edit documents. More research needs to be done to find out if this Windows Live ID can be somehow connected with a user’s current or work email address. This may be a huge drawback in using this tool.
Learn more here: http://workspace.officelive.com/en-US/Learn-More
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 7 of 13
Writeboards, probably the most simple of the options provided, are sharable, web-based text documents that
you can edit, roll back to earlier versions, and easily compare changes. Writeboard is a basic tool and a more
simplified version of Google Docs and Zoho Docs (does not support editing of PowerPoints or spreadsheets,
etc.). Each “writeboard” is assigned a URL and people can be invited to edit the text document online. It is
very simple and fast to setup. However, it does not have an option for folders or organization (unless a
Backpack product http://backpackit.com/ is purchased). It also cannot export or import files to/from an
external source (except for the copy/paste functionality). Writeboard is a good option for simple and quick
collaboration on short text documents. A nice feature is that users can subscribe in RSS and be notified of
changes to a writeboard.
Note that anyone with access to the writeboard can leave comments without editing the actual writeboard text.
This allows users to collaborate, discuss changes before you make them, or just converse about the text
without making changes.
A more advanced tool similar to Writeboard will be looked at in the next section on online meeting/conference,
called ShowDocument, which supports document, whiteboard, text and browser sharing, all from within a
View a quick tour of Writeboard here: http://writeboard.com/tour/
If more information needs to be shared than what can reasonably be structured within documents or you need to provide reference information to a large group of users and have them contribute to content, wikis are a good option. A wiki is a website that allows users to refer to and collaboratively edit a document inside a web browser.
This wiki website can be edited by anyone with the proper permissions, to keep everyone in your group up-to-date and actively involved. It is ideal for groups of people who are connected by a common interest and need to collaborate. Pricing varies depending on the type or level of account. Some examples include:
; Wikispaces http://www.wikispaces.com/site/features
; Wetpaint http://www.wetpaint.com/page/Wetpaint-Features
; PBWorks http://pbworks.com/features.wiki
Depending on the need and level of usage or functionality, in the future, we may also consider looking into more sophisticated project-based management or collaboration tools. These solutions may include the ability to track
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 8 of 13
tasks, facilitate discussion, calendaring tool, and can be useful for storing commonly used documentation, policies, procedures or editing files all in one convenient package. Note that some of these tools may be more suitable for intranets (ie: day to day staff operations) or more official groups with long term or ongoing projects. Some tools are free, others may charge a monthly fee. See examples below:
Project Management/Collaboration Tools
; Google Apps Education Edition http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/
; BaseCamp http://basecamphq.com/
; Central Desktop http://www.centraldesktop.com/ (provides an array of tools for team collaboration,
including document archiving, wiki-style editing, discussion forums, scheduling, project status tracking,
and web meeting tool)
; GoPlan http://goplanapp.com/
; Project Desk http://www.projectdesk.net/
; DotProject http://www.dotproject.net/
; SharePoint Services (installed on Network for employees as opposed to work with collaborators)
Group Calls (conference calls)
To meet with remote parties, group or conference calls are often a convenient option. Calls may vary and can include project meetings or updates, regular team meetings, presentations of a particular subject matter, guest speakers, and other communication or collaboration.
Here are a couple of options:
; UW Meeting Exchange or Meet-Me Conferencing
http://www.washington.edu/itconnect/phones/conferencing.html See Appendix A for comparison chart.
; Free Conference Call http://www.freeconferencecall.com/
; Instant Conference http://www.instantconference.com/free-conference-calls-recording.aspx
Sometimes, in addition to talking over the phone, it is nice to have some type of visual (presentation or handouts of the discussion). Instead of sending large attachments through email or having the user spend time downloading large files on a website, you can upload and share your PowerPoint presentations, word documents or PDFs on SlideShare for free: http://www.slideshare.net/. (Users can still have the option to download the whole
presentation for reference or print out).
However, when conference calls require more interaction as well as adding a live visual presentation complement, a presentation sharing tool or webinar is a good option. See more information in the next section on online meeting/conference.
The MHLN project will continue to use the UW Meeting Exchange option because for a couple of dollars a month we have 24 hour access to a conference call line for up to 20 ports. This has been convenient for MHLN team conference calls, autism multidisciplinary team planning calls, developmental screening work group calls and more since the call-in number and conference code remain constant and access requires no pre-planning except a reminder email to participants.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 9 of 13
To save time and money, online conferencing tools provide a good option for conducting trainings and meetings online. Similar to conference calls described above, where you can have multiple parties on the telephone at once, online conferencing add an Internet component. The basic function of online conferencing tools is to provide an online “meeting room”. Typically, a moderator creates this virtual room and participants enter via a particular web address. Once a participant joins a meeting, they can see everything the presenter displays and may be able to interact with others in the “room”. Features vary between applications and may include: desktop sharing,
document or slide sharing, text chat functionality, use of emoticons and polls, video capability, audio component (via VoIP or dial-in number), ability to record the meeting session, etc.
Usually by logging into a website, users can sit at their own computers and connect with other participants via the Internet. Users can view slides, view the presenter’s desktop, chat, or depending on how complex the software, can even collaborate on whiteboards during the session. The different levels of tools include:
; Simple desktop sharing (Desktop and Application Sharing Software)
; Basic webinar tool (Online Seminar Tools)
; More complex webinar tool (E-learning Environments)
Desktop and Application Sharing Software
For straightforward sharing and simple interface, a desktop and application sharing tool may suffice. This type of tool may have fewer features than an online seminar tool, but
they may also be easier to use. Typically, presenters install software on their
computers, and share information on their screens with others at a specific Internet
address (the user may not need to install separate software). Here are some examples:
ShowDocument Screenstream Glance TeamViewer Website http://www.showdocument.chttp://www.nchsoftware.com/http://www.glance.net/site/whttp://www.teamviewer.com/(to get om screen/screenshots.html hatis/features.asp products/benefits.aspx more info) Cost Free Free Try for free for 7 days. Free for private use. After that, $10 per day or Otherwise, pricing starts at $50 per month or higher $699 one-time fee price structure. Platform PC, Mac, Linux Presenter: PC Presenter: PC and Mac Presenter: PC and Mac Participant: PC, Mac or Participant: PC and Mac Participant: PC, Mac, Linux Linux Installation No installation for host or No No No for users? user (but host install program) (but host install program) (but host install program) Notes -share in web browser -share desktop -share desktop -share desktop -most simple of the options -available to share document, whiteboard, text editor, or browser -quick user login to join
Online Seminar Tools
An online seminar or webinar tool is a real-time, interactive online presentation that combines lecture, demonstration, Q&A, and participation. These tools typically include features as chat, slide-sharing, ability to promote participants as presenters, and integrated voice conferencing. These tools can be used to present to a group of people and also facilitate interaction among participants.
Rev. 11/26/2010, page 10 of 13