Collaborative web portal – Agora

Agora is a web-based collaborative portal for anyone associated with the university and university college sector. Agora allows you to share documents and files with others, and both open and closed groups are available. Share information and discuss various topics, both in forums and on an interactive board. The service is subject to control by the higher education sector, and all content shared is managed in accordance with the Privacy Act. Group collaboration is made much easier by providing participants with a structured way to manage documents, far superior to the options available through regular e-mail and mailing lists.The service is, to the greatest extent possible, based on open and flexible components that enable further development of high-quality collaborative services for the higher education sector.   
Target group: 
This service was primarily developed to ease collaboration in working and executive committees, as well as prioritization councils in connection with collaboration on joint administrative systems. The needs of these groups also apply to a number of other groups, and the sector consequently requested this service to make collaboration easier. Institutions wanting to implement Agora, must have UNINETT as their Internet service provider, i.e. they must be connected to the research web. 
Conditions: 

    In order to log on to Agora, you must have a Feide username and password, and your home organization must have included the Agora service in their  Feide portal.

  • If your organization has not yet implemented Feide, contact our service coordinator to explore other log-in options
Description of the service: 

The need for a dedicated place online to communicate and share information and documents within the university and university college sector has been evident for years, and as a response, UNINETT launched the web-portal Agora in September 2011. The portal was originally developed with smaller groups in mind, but the demand soon proved to be much bigger.

Functions:

  • Front page – general information and contact information, list of activities with new updates. From this page, users can join and/or create groups.
     
  • Forum  – this is where users can discuss or inform, by posting threads and creating and defining categories. Group owners can create e-mail notifications including content or links to content, if desired.
     
  • Documents – this is where users can share and edit documents of all types, of course with version control and locking options. This function can be made available directly on a user’s device by using WebDAV
 
  • Board – This is Agora’s version of the more widely known concept wiki. A board is an efficient way to work if the following circumstances are present:  
-It is possible to edit the material through many minor changes.
-The content must be available for edit by many different people.
-The content can be divided into several different sub-boards, and it is natural to click back and forth between them, just like with web pages.  
-Structure is important – some pages are superior, outlines, starting pages, whereas others contain more detail.
 
Background for choosing the name "Agora": The agora was central in all ancient Greek cities; it was the central marketplace and forum for the city’s citizens. This hub of communication is the connotation we have tried to evoke in choosing the name Agora for the portal.
Some user support is offered through documented guides and best practice documents, as well as through our general user support listed on the front page of Agora.  
Costs: 

Currently, Agora is funded by internal UNINETT funds, collected as part of the service fee for finance management and administrative services and joint services. This means that Agora is perceived as being free of charge for all users.

Organization of the service: 

This service was developed and is operated by UNINETT. The service is continually developed, based on change requests submitted by users. The steering committee comprises the management team in UNINETT’s department for joint administrative systems.  

Contact info: