Originally posted on Division by Zero:
For the last 10+ years I’ve taught topology using a modified Moore method, also known as inquiry-based learning (IBL). The students are given the skeleton of a textbook; then they must prove all the theorems and solve all of the problems. They are forbidden from looking at outside sources. The class types up their work as they go. At the end of the semester they have a textbook that they wrote. It is a great way to learn, and at the end of the semester the student are thrilled to hold a bound copy of the textbook that they created.
When I did this first (as a student) it was a Word file shared on a floppy disk. When I started teaching the class this way it was a Word file emailed between participants. Later I rewrote the textbook as a LaTeX file. I’ve experimented with various means of collaboration. Most recently I used a shared DropBox folder to house the file. This way all of the students could collaborate on the ever-growing document.
This approach worked pretty well, but there are a few downsides. The document occasionally got forked. This happened when two or more students edited the document at the same time. It would take a while to merge the content back together. Also, a student must have LaTeX installed on his or her computer or must be willing to work on one of the computers in our building.