Right now there is a slew of web apps. From onlinespreadsheets to word processors and scrapbooks. When I was still in school, collaborating with groupmates who had different schedules was done through passing on files on diskettes and also via email. We didn’t IM much because our schedules were that disjoint. Nowadays, there are online word processors that allow sharing of files and editing as well – akin to the wiki, but not quite.
The academic year will begin again this June and maybe there are already a number of students who are using these tools to work on their group reports. But here’s the thing that get me: if these apps could be used for collaboration in terms of making group reports and papers easier, it could also lead to an easy way of massive copying of papers and all that. Imagine having just one person with a shared document viewable to the public.
I realized that some of the defaults on these collaborative tools is that the files are publicly visible instea of private then choose how you would share them. Nothing would stop people from plagiarizing, if they really want to do that. But of course, it just made me think that a lot of the times it boils down our individual use of technology. I forgot how many articles I have read blaming technology for some evil things but tools at the hands of people could be used for good or for evil.