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Sophia Juarez on the Best Free Tool Around for Collaborative Outlining

My name is Sophia Juarez and I’m a secret list maker – and not just any lists, but glorious, hierarchical, outlined lists. In seventh grade social studies Mr. Schneider had a new lesson each week on creating outlines for our class notes. I’m not sure why learning this task was relegated to 7th grade social studies, but it has stuck with me ever since. I outline everything, or make lists or make lists within outlines or outlines within lists. Some people’s brains work well when making mindmaps (see Dana Dehart’s July 2011 post). For better or worse, and I know it isn’t fashionable to say so, I’m a fairly linear thinker. Outlines fit better to the way I work. This is where thinklinkr comes in. It’s the best free tool around for collaborative (and non-collaborative) outlining.

Rad Resource – Thinklinkr: Thinklinkr does ONE thing, but it does it really well – it helps you to create an outline by yourself or with collaborators working from different (or the same!) location. Here are three ways I have used thinklinkr:

  • Course Note Taking: I partnered with another registrant in a short course I took and we created a common shared outline of the key points from the reading before class and then during class we could both work in real time on the same document to create in-class notes. When I couldn’t be there for a class (I had pneumonia), I could watch her outline during class and ask questions as she went.
  • Presentation Preparation: Before presenting survey findings, I outlined the key points I wanted to make and then shared those with my the team leader to make sure I was on point and emphasizing the right things.
  • Purchase Decisions: I outline the pros and cons of any major purchase, and occasionally use thinklinkr just to make my shopping list because it is handy.

Lessons Learned – Pros:

  • Very easy to learn to use
  • Promotes collaboration with multiple users able to update an outline simultaneously
  • Incorporates checkboxes that may be checked off when completed – a key distinction from Google Docs that I find useful when making a sequenced or to-do type outline
  • Revision history shows exactly WHO changed WHAT, WHEN and then you can back up to any previous version
  • Has a live chat option which can be useful during real-time collaboration, especially in a classroom or other ‘silent’ situation
  • Free option is all I’ve needed

Lessons Learned – Cons:

  • Doesn’t export easily to PowerPoint – I use it to outline presentations and can’t get it to sync
  • Free option makes only public outlines – your outlines will be findable on the web – if you want private outlines, you’ll need a $5/month pro account

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4 thoughts on “Sophia Juarez on the Best Free Tool Around for Collaborative Outlining”

  1. Sheila Robinson Kohn

    Thank you for publicly admitting your linear thinking! I too love outlines and lists for their clear sequencing and hierarchies. Give me a nice neat table or chart any day over something with circles. I may not be considered creative, but I’m organized! 🙂 I can’t wait to try Thinklinkr.

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