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In other words, I am interested in the scenarios where the ideal thing to do would be for a face-to-face chat while writing on a black board or a piece of paper, but when it is difficult to do so (both of you have to teach, and you are on different continents).
In other words, I am asking about situations where real-time, instantaneous interactions are preferred (and so option 3, e-mail, should be reserved as a last resort).
The most annoying part as I recall were the online whiteboards which could crash or behave strange, not have enough writing area or didn't allow saving the content.
Correction: Google docs drawings may be used as an online whiteboard and allows one to save the content.
(sorry for making an example in which I'm personally involved) Works perfectly for this particular purpose.
In particular, it's much better than two persons trying to program in front of a single computer.
The reasons for this are many and varied, but one relevant one is simply that my speed-of-thought is actually much slower than (I suspect) many people's so even in short-distance collaborations the "together time" is spent in I suspect that a good collaboration would use something akin to all three of those: the real-time for the brainstorming, the forum for the more thoughtful discussions, and the wiki for recording the bits that stand the test of time.
I have been using SKYPE with the webcam pointed at my office whiteboard.
This isn't as nice as all parties being able to write on the same surface, but it's a great improvement over just talking and is very easy to do.The scribble tool can be found under the shape button. Stingy as I am I've only used free online whiteboards so I really can't complain.The best of these I've found were twiddla, scriblink and skrbl.The fancier ones use a screen as a writing surface.I imagine that makes it feel more like writing on paper, but I'm waiting for those to merge with computer tablets.
What needs to exist is a system that's akin to this site's functionality that could be used on a personal or university server and allow multiple people to contribute (via password-protected entry to the web-site) together to a notebook page which contains $\La Te X$ markup and does it in a clean fashion.