Some very slick small tools that might be helpful as teaching tools (and other uses). You have to like something with the tagline “your free, preposterously easy instant discussion space” (almost as good as “software that doesn’t suck”)
QuickTopics is a simple platform for web based brief discussions on a single topic (un threaded), that can also have people participate by email. I found it by stumbling through a blog (the url has vanished from my leaky biological memory) where an instructor was using it in a teaching blog as a way for students to respond to weekly topical issues he posed on the blog.
QuickTopics can be very handy:
For any one-topic group discussion, use the QuickTopic free bulletin boards instead of just email! Your messages will be in a private central place, and each of your friends can opt to participate by email or just use the web forum. That’s because QuickTopic’s super-easy single-topic web bulletin boards are also fully email-enabled: you can get and post messages via email. Use it on your web site too. Thousands served.
There is great beauty in a simple tool!
From the same folks is another nifty web-gadget, Quick Doc Review
You’ve authored a document and you’d like your peers to review it. Quick Doc ReviewSM gives you an instant private space for gathering comments on any HTML document (Microsoft Word documents too). Your group can comment on each paragraph, using QuickTopic’s easy private forum. Comments are all in one central place. Much better than mailing documents around and consolidating feedback. And it’s private, but still easy to access.
You can start your document review in about one minute. It’s even easier for your readers — they don’t have to register or sign in.
It pretty much provides a platform to post a paper or a draft and invite people to porvide comments, feedback directly linked to each paragraph.