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Research Exhibition Guide: Collaboration Tools

Find everything you need to prepare and succeed.

Communication and Collaboration Tools

There are many different methods of communication and collaboration available to students.  The best method for you and your group will be the method members are willing and able to use consistently. 

Discuss and agree on a method within your group at the beginning of the project/assignment.


Using email might be the least complicated way to stay in touch, especially if you start with a group email (including all group members) and then always "reply all" to keep an ongoing email chain going. 

  • as long as senders choose to include previous emails in the chain, a record of the communications will be kept automatically
  • choose either your school email address or a personal email address (be sure to be consistent)
  • email easily allows files of various types to be sent back and forth
  • sharing email addresses is preferable for some students rather than sharing a phone number for texting


Some students prefer texting over email, and it can work fine as a primary means of communication if a group text is used AND all group members agree to use it.

  • most device providers allow users to keep texts, so that would provide a record
  • texting won't work for sending files back and forth, but that might not always be necessary depending on the project/assignment
  • not all students want to share their personal phone number with classmates

Microsoft OneDrive

All Central Penn students have the ability to use OneDrive to save and store their files.  Since OneDrive is part of Office 365, you can share Word, Excel, and/or PowerPoint files (among other types).

If you haven't used OneDrive before to save files, it is available with the other Office apps once you're logged in to your school email.

  • OneDrive by itself will not let you communicate with your group members, so you'll need to use email, text, or another method to do that.
  • OneDrive allows you to share files, without giving editing permission, if you just want others in your group to see your work
  • If you want your group members to be able to edit a file you share with them, be sure the "Allow Editing" box is checked before sharing.

Google Options

Google has multiple apps that allow varying degrees of communication and collaboration.  Although a Gmail account is required, Gmail accounts are free to create (and many students already have them).

Google Hangouts

  • With Hangouts, group chats can be created--and Google will keep a record of the conversations
  • Hangouts does not allow for sending files back and forth

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides


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