ONLYOFFICE: How To Collaborate On Documents Within eLearning Platforms

Why Do You Need Document Processing For eLearning?
Summary: Functionality of various eLearning platforms often lacks one important component, namely document editing and co-authoring. Below we’ll take a look at how students and educators can fill in this gap with a web-based office suite, ONLYOFFICE Docs.

Why Do You Need Document Processing For eLearning?

For a number of reasons, actually. No matter if you are a student or a tutor, more than likely you know there are lots of activities connected with document creation, editing, and collaboration that you have to carry out during digital learning.

The best plan here would be to integrate online editors directly into the course structure. When participants are able to work with documents in the learning environment without being distracted by other applications, it greatly enhances productivity and involvement in the educational process.

Bringing Learning Scenarios To Life

We assume you have successfully integrated the office suite into your platform. What’s next? What factors should you consider to successfully perform learning scenarios during classes?

Functionality is obviously on the list. And here comes ONLYOFFICE Docs with multiple features and tools available which allow:

  • Writing research papers
  • Creating customized tests and filling out forms
  • Using academic formatting, such as footnotes and endnotes, headers and footers, table of contents, bookmarks, cross-references, etc.
  • Creating bibliographies for a thesis
  • Presenting infographics, charts, and tables during a lecture
  • Spell-checking
  • Performing bulk calculations
  • Opening eBooks
  • Translating texts
  • Correcting typography

Another aspect is format compatibility. When, for example, docx, xlsx, and pptx are used by default in your educational establishment, high compatibility with Microsoft Office formats helps avoid annoying workflow interruptions.

Working On Assignments Simultaneously  

Work within eLearning platforms often requires various group activities:

  • Co-authoring Word, Excel, and other files in real time
  • Making notes available to all participants during a lesson
  • Preparing group presentations
  • Reviewing documents and tracking changes
  • Leaving comments
  • Discussing essay ideas via the built-in chat right in the editor

If you need to work on a text doc with lots of people, it would be a good idea to switch to the paragraph-locking mode. In doing this, you can edit your part privately—all changes will be visible to other co-authors only after you save.

Since sending documents via email each time other students or colleagues make changes to a file is time-consuming, you also need to share files. Different permission levels set for each participant or group allow you to protect docs from unwanted attention.

For instance, in the combined ONLYOFFICE-ownCloud solution, you are able to restrict participants' actions. Thus, they will be able to add comments, insert data into the chosen fields only, or suggest changes. The last option can be really useful when a reviewer needs to assess a submitted assignment.

Protecting Sensitive Data And Collaborating Securely

Nowadays, lots of people are concerned about the safety of their confidential data when it comes to online collaboration. Students and educators are no exception in this case.

That’s why it is important to choose an open-source and GDPR (or any other applicable security legislation) compliant solution. If there is a possibility to launch an office suite on your own private network, you should definitely do it. Thus, you will have full control over the data which always stays "in-house" and don’t have to worry about privacy violations.

Along with the mentioned security measures, ONLYOFFICE documents are protected from unauthorized access with JSON Web Token. This technology ensures that participants cannot access more data than permitted to them, which is critical in case of external user invitation.

It’s possible to encrypt the traffic with HTTPS protocol. It protects your data from being intercepted and transformed as it moves from one location to another, for example, when uploading documents.

Moreover, you can restrict copying, downloading, and printing as well as enable watermarking to avoid unauthorized redistribution of your content.

Seamless Integration With Your eLearning Platform

Ready-to-use integration apps developed by ONLYOFFICE or its official partners allow you to easily connect editors with your solution:

  • Moodle: one of the most popular open-source platforms for education
  • OpenOlat: a web-based LMS for teaching, learning, assessment, and communication developed by the Swiss company frentix
  • Chamilo: a free LMS that includes eLearning and content management features; distributed under GNU/GPL license
  • HumHub: a free and open-source toolkit for launching your own social network
  • WebWeaver: a German web-based learning platform developed by DigiOnline GmbH

Among the available integrations, there are also Nextcloud, Seafile, ownCloud, Alfresco, XWiki, and many others. With open API available, it's possible to build a connector for almost any platform.

A Quick Start To Effective Document Co-Authoring

To be able to edit and collaborate on files within your platform, you need to follow 3 basic steps:

  1. Install ONLYOFFICE Docs (a free community version or a commercial build)
  2. Get and install the corresponding integration app
  3. Launch your eLearning platform and configure ONLYOFFICE

Digital transformation as one of the latest educational trends has become even more important amid the current situation around the globe. So, we hope you will find this article useful and that the provided info helps you achieve even greater results in your eLearning process.

eBook Release: ONLYOFFICE
Fast and secure web-based office suite for education with online editors, fillable forms, document and project management