Saturday, April 01, 2006

Real Time Collaboration with "Ace"

Thursday's Critical Thinking workshop also gave some colleagues and me an opportunity to field test the Ace Collaborative Editor.

According to its developers Ace is

a platform-independent, collaborative text editor. It is a real-time cooperative editing system that allows multiple geographically dispersed users to view and edit a shared text document at the same time.

What makes this plain text editor a truly amazing tool for collaborative writing is its use of bonjour technology. Bonjour is "a general method to discover services on a local area network. This technology is widely used throughout Mac OS X and allows users to set up a network without any configuration" (Wikipedia). We used the Windows version.

Thus, using Ace and logged in to our usual campus wireless computer network, my colleagues and I were able to perform a seamless, real time collaboration on a sample assignment we developed in response to Bill Condon's presentation. No single person had to take notes on our brainstorming session. Instead, everyone at our table, each one using a different computer, was able to type directly into the same text document at the same time.

I plan to use Ace in my fall course in "Collaborative Writing in Elecronic Environments" in tandem with some Xtreme programming protocols adapted for writing assignments.

This should be fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan

let us know how its going with ACE and report us any errors you might experience thus helping to improve ACE! We'll keep developing...

Thanks for using it ;-)

(one of the ACE developers)