Friday, June 1, 2012

Using Evernote to coordinate research with a research assistant

 I have a wonderful research assistant this summer, Tricia Juettemeyer.  She is very Apple savvy and suggested that we use Evernote for a portion of a project I am working on related to copyright law and the Open Education Resources (OER) movement.  A lot is happening in the OER space in recent months and most of the information about it is available on websites.  (That makes sense because the OER movement is focused on making educational resources freely available over the Internet!)

I have been using Evernote just as a good way to take a variety of notes and be able to organize them on the fly.  I have the basic (free) version of Evernote and so does Tricia.

As Tricia collected links that fit the research criteria, she “grabbed” the URL and often the first page of the site and added it a note.  Of course she can write her own observations or even call out items for me so I won’t miss them!  She also then “tags” the note with tags that are relevant to the project sub-topics.  All of her Evernote notes for this project she keeps in a particular “notebook” in Evernote.  She has “shared” her notebook with me.  By sharing it, I have access to all of the notes in that notebook.  I can read the notes she made, along with any of the content from any particular page she has copied into the note.  If the source is something I want to continue reading I can then touch the “source URL” and the webpage opens automatically.

We had a little bit of difficulty figuring out how to share the notebook initially.  And, since we both have only the free version of Evernote, we are not able to access functionalities that would be nice.  For example, I am not able add notes to her notebook, nor can I modify any of her notes.  We think both of these actions are possible if you upgrade to the “premium version” of Evernote.    But, at $4.99/month (each!), that price was too steep for us!

Even without the upgrade to “premium” – the experience using Evernote on this project, so far, has been a positive one.  It also came in really handy when my laptop crashed while I was in Munich, Germany earlier this month – the night before I was giving a talk on OER!  Thank goodness I had brought my iPad along!

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