Conceptboard (@ConceptboardApp) is an on-line, open-source collaboration tool that gives users the ability to share and discuss documents, provide feedback, develop ideas, and organize projects and meetings all in real-time with colleagues or students. The program, based in Stuttgart, Germany, provides users with a nearly infinite amount of space on a virtual whiteboard to add content, comments and more. Dan Toma (@toma_dan), Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Conceptboard, adds, “(Conceptboard’s) usability is limited only by the imagination of the users.” When asked about how Conceptboard compares to other online collaboration software, Toma notes two main advantages. “First of all it makes the users think in a non-linear way and second of all it engages them in virtual team management.”
I am currently using Conceptboard to collaborate with a co-presenter on a workshop to be presented at the NASPA conference in Phoenix this March. Lisa Endersby (@lmendersby) is a Student Experience Advisor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and our workshop discusses the need to create a more collaborative and connected campus. “The information and ideas we work with on Conceptboard come alive – making research and writing a much more dynamic, engaging process,” says Endersby. “I’m impressed,” she continues, “by the use of Conceptboard in collaborating on research projects as a single space to house multiple ideas and pieces of information.” The software allows us to communicate quickly and easily, live and in real-time, even though we are separated by several times zones and an international boarder. And this is exactly was Conceptboard was created to do. According to Toma, “We are all aware that in today’s ever changing global environment, the need for professionals that can ‘think outside of the box’ in a non-linear way and be able to manage, at the same time, cross cultural and cross continental virtual teams is greater than ever.”
Another gem of the program is its adaptive nature. “I appreciate that concept board can appeal to many diverse learning and communication styles,” Endersby noted. “I often find myself wanting to see the big(ger) picture or hear myself ask ‘can you show me?’ and concept board allows those I’m working with to do both.” Users of different abilities are able to use Conceptboard in a variety of ways, and mold their experience to what they need out of the program. It is a game changer when looking at the development of collaborative campuses and projects. Endersby explains, “Working collaboratively becomes more effective and efficient when there is a space to share & discuss ideas in real time that can also capitalize on our own strengths in learning and communicating.”
Basic users (open-source category) can create and share up to 25 boards. Plans with increased functionality are also available for small monthly fees, and the company is exploring an educational licensing option that is currently in beta testing. Overall I find this software extremely helpful, and hope you will as well. Find out more at www.conceptboard.com, and make sure to find the on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Keep the conversation going and share your favorite open-source programs on Twitter by using the hash tag #openoasis.
– Matt Brinton, TKC Chair