About the concept of AGORA
What is AGORA?
The Agora as market place and meeting place of the Greek polis is the eLearning and eScience platform for the humanities in Hamburg. Under its ancient name, a modern, web-based platform is available at the University of Hamburg, which takes into account the specific needs of users in the humanities. AGORA supports asynchronous and location-independent communication and coordination of closed groups–especially of courses, but also of committee work, administrative organization and research projects. With your own AGORA room you can also organize your files, tasks and notes. The “caretakers” of AGORA, the AGORA support portal and their users is the eLearning office team of the Faculty of Humanities.
Why use AGORA?
Ease of use
AGORA's webbased user interface is designed to be intuitive. Actions like creating your account, logging in, downloading materials, joining online discussions etc. can be performed most easily.
AGORA is suitable for all your collaboration and teaching purposes. Use it as a student or teacher, or take advantage of the advanced communication and documentation features in your scientific research team.
AGORA implements collaboration processes and workflows as transparent and nonhierarchical as possible. This design greatly eases online cooperation and makes AGORA a tool for your needs, not the master of your processes.
AGORA is based on CommSy, a community system hosted by the Regional Computing Center. The use of AGORA is free of cost for all members of Hamburg University.
User support / Teaching support
The AGORA Team provides you with help whenever you need it. The team consists of members of the Humanities faculty who are experienced in technical as well as didactical terms. So do not hesitate to ask, send them an e-mail or visit during open office hours!
What does AGORA offer?
At the heart of AGORA are password-protected project rooms in which participants can work together and exchange materials. Ease of use with outstanding functionality and optimal support for seminar and project groups–these are the objectives for the AGORA platform. Here is a selection of further AGORA functions:
- Time-controlled content management
- Categories spread over all workspace rubrics for a structured repository
- Community rooms for the Departments
- Modular design
- Convenient configuration options
- Interactive user interface with language switch
- Get organized with categories and paths, find things easier through tag clouds
- Separated 2nd level group rooms within project rooms
- Personal room overview and controls
- Threaded or flat discussion forum
- Full-text search includes uploaded files
AGORA engages in the conceptual and technical development of the webbased community system CommSy in order to even better meet the specific needs of users in the Humanities. Ongoing development is driven by our experience gathered during the course of the projects e-Port/NarrPort (e-science) and Gst.Litwiss (blended learning).
What does AGORA offer for blended learning? One vital part in all Humanities curricula should be collaborative practice in scientific research, analysis, discussion and writing techniques. AGORA stands for blended learning, meaning a webbased infrastructure to support and assist collaborative learning processes in seminars and courses. As such, AGORA adds not only technical benefit, but also makes learning and teaching in a cooperative and communicative way much easier.
What does AGORA offer for e-science? Our experience shows that in Humanities-based projects goals, workflows and software requirements often change rapidly. These parameters are subject do discussion and, possibly, revision at any point. Therefore, CSCW-environments in the Humanities context are supposed to be flexible, modular by design and highly interoperable. A neat integration of a great diversity of tools and modules is as important as usability. AGORA supports ongoing development of the CommSy-software further in these respects.