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Teaching Online in Texts and Technology

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Wordle: Collaborative Writing

Google Drive-ing With Students

Interested in using Google Drive in the classroom as a file sharing and mananagement system? This presentation will show you how!

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Discovering CoWord

Interested in using CoWord to turn MS Word into a tool for synchronous, collaborative writing? Watch this short video to learn how!

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Getting Started with Google Docs

This short tutorial provides an easy-to-follow introduction to using Google Docs.

Using Wikispaces Classroom

Thinking about using Wikispaces in your classroom? This introductory video will help you set up an account!

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Collaborating with Zoho Writer

Watch this video to see how an instructor teaches his students to use Zoho Writer for collaborative writing.

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Contributors

This page was authored and designed by Sandy Branham, a student in UCF's Texts and Technology doctoral program. 

Teaching Collaborative Writing Online

This guide is intended as a resource for instructors who are interested in designing and facilitating online collaborative writing projects. The resources presented here are useful to instructors who are teaching fully online, hybrid, or mixed-mode courses, but are also useful for teachers in face-to-face classrooms who are interested in engaging their students in online writing projects outside of the classroom.

This guide is separated into several categories: Books/Dissertations, Journal Articles, Tools, and Multimedia Resources. The books and journal articles focus on the design and facilitation of online collaborative writing projects in a variety of educational settings. Links are provided for books and articles that are freely accessible online, and the remainder of the resources are available through the UCF library. The Tools section of this research  guide contains a list of links to online collaborative writing tools, many of which are discussed in the journal articles included in this guide. Hovering over these links with the mouse will allow you to read a brief description of each tool. Finally, this guide contains a multimedia section on the left-hand side of the page that presents a collection of resources that provide introductions to several of the tools included in this guide.

Books/Dissertations

Gerben, Christopher A. Expanding Conversations: Cultivating An Analytical Approach to Collaborative Composition in Social Online SpacesDiss. University of Michigan, 2012. Web.

      This text explores the ways in which online social media platforms--which students engage with voluntarily and often daily -- facilitate and develop a number of postive writerly traits, such as using evidence to support an argument and taking responsibility for text as one's own. This study compares and contrasts traditional, academic writing with online writing in social media spaces and suggests how the collaborative nature of social media writing might be useful for pedagogical purposes. This research is of interest to any instructor considering the benefits of using social media in the classroom or who are interested in using their students existing knowledge of social media writing practices to influence their understanding of collaborative academic writing.

McGrath, Laura, ed. Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies. Logan, UtahComputers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2011. Web. 

      Providing a state-of-the-field examination of the role of collaboration in the digital humanities, this text is intended for anyone who is interested in collaboration as is relates to education, research, and administration. Although this text does not focus solely on collaborative writing, writing plays an important role in examinations of collaborative partnerships in the digital humanities that are designed for purposes of research, professionalization, teaching, and program development. 

Pozzi, Francesca and Donatella Persico. Techniques for Fostering Collaboration in Online Learning Communities: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. Hershey: Information Science Reference, 2010. Web.

      This informative text is an excellent resource for any instructor who is currently, or who plans on, creating and facilitating collaborative learning assignments in an online classroom. Pozzi and Persico discuss best practices for creating collaborative learning assignments from a social-constructivist perspective, asserting that high levels of instructional support are necessary for collaborative learning assignments to be successful in online environments. Chapter 4 of the text, "Using and Acquiring Shared and Unshared Knowledge in Collaborative Learning and Writing," focuses specifically on designing and facilitating collaborative writing assignments in online environments.

West, James A. and Margaret L. West. Using Wikis for Online Collaboration: The Power of the Read-Write WebSan Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Web.

       Focusing on the planning, design, and facilitation of wiki projects intended to enable meaningful learning and the co-creation of knowledge, this text walks online instructors through the entire process of using a wiki project in the classroom. Not only does this text help instructors to choose a wiki appropriate for their pedagogical goals, the authors also provide a number of pre-designed wiki projects that can be easily used or adapted by online instructors. This text is useful for anyone currently using, or intending to use, wikis in the classroom.

 

Journal Articles

Castek, Jill and Laura Kretschmar. “Online Collaborative Writing Platform Drives Student Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, and Ownership of Text.” Reading Today 31.3 (2013): 22-23. Web.

      An examination of a collaborative, online writing project in a 5th grade classroom indicates that MixedInk, a no-cost, online platform, helps to facilitate students’ understanding of the writing topic, while also supporting the development of digital literacy. While using MixedInk for this collaborative writing project, students learned about concepts such as remix and developed an understanding of ideas such as shared authorship. Although this article presents research conducted in an elementary school classroom, the discussion of MixedInk is relevant for any instructor who is interested in using the platform for collaborative writing assignments.

Kai-Wai Chu, Samuel and David M. Kennedy. “Using Online Collaborative Tools for Groups to Co-construct Knowledge.” Online Information Review 35.4 (2011): 581-597. Web.

      In an examination of the use of MediaWiki and Google Docs in an undergraduate Information Management program, researchers determine that students preferred the intuitive nature of GoogleDocs while identifying MediaWiki as a more effective tool for knowledge management. The article offers a detailed comparison of the capabilities of both Google Docs and MediaWiki for collaboration purposes and is a useful resource for any instructor interested in using either of these tools to failitate online collaborative projects.

Kasemvilas, Sumonta and Lorne Olfman. "Design Alternatives for a MediaWiki to Support Collaborative Writing in Higher Education Classes." Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology 6 (2009): 45-64. Web.

      After using MediaWiki to create a wiki book as a component of a graduate course, the authors present several design alternatives for MediaWiki, arguing that the introduction of these additional elements allows for more effective facilitation of the collaborative writing process. The authors explain the design of a discussion tool, an evaluation tool, and a project management tool into MediaWiki and present the result of the introduction of these tools to a focus group. This article is of interest for instructors who are currently, or who are considering, using MediaWiki in their classroom, as it not only points out some of the shortcomings of the tool, but also provides alternatives for dealing with these downfalls.

Kittle, Peter and Troy Hicks. “Transforming the Group Paper with Collaborative Online Writing.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 9.3 (2009): 525-561. Web.

      This essay works to establish clear criteria for collaboration, distinguishing true collaboration from simply contributing a stand-alone component to a larger document. The authors provide a number of collaborative online writing assignments that take advantage of tools such as Google Docs and wikis to produce a variety of documents, including study guides, creative pieces, and inquiry-based projects. This article is useful for instructors who are looking for concrete examples of collaborative writing assignments, as well as for instructors who are interested in thinking through questions of how to best assess online collaborative writing.

Meishar-Tal, Hagit and Paul Gorsky. “Wikis: What Students Do and Do Not Do When Writing Collaboratively.” Open Learning 25.1 (2010): 25-35. Web.

      A study of graduate students tasked with the creation of a wiki glossary for a course on technology and learning reveals that students are more comfortable adding than deleting content in collaborative writing environments. However, findings from this study also indicate that students writing in the collaborative environment of the wiki provide substantial revision—more so than when writing with other tools. The study also indicates that individual students have preferences for certain types of editorial actions. Additionally, a small percentage of students were shown to contribute much more content and revision than the remainder of their peers. This research is useful for anyone who is, or plans on, using wikis in the classroom, as the discussion of the behaviors students do and do not typically engage in while using the wiki are beneficial knowledge when designing and facilitating a wiki-based collaborative writing assignment.

Skaf-Molli, Hala, Claudia-Lavinia Ignat, Charbel Rahhal, and Pascal Molli. “New Work Modes for Collaborative Writing.” Proceedings from the International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems and Web Technologies, Orlando, 2007. Web.

      This essay creates a categorical system for existing collaborative writing tools based on the following components: execution on one site, ability to send information to another site, reception of information by other sites, and integration of the tool on other sites. In addition to classifying tools according to these categories, the essay also identifies benefits and disadvantages of Google Docs, wikis, and Concurrent Version Systems. This essay is useful for anyone who is interested in comparing the benefits and disadvantages of collaborative writing tools. 

Wei, Carolyn, Brandon Maust, Jennifer Barrick, Elisabeth Cuddihy, and Jan H. Spyridakis. “Wikis for Supporting Distributed Collaborative Writing." Proceedings of the Society for Technical Communication 52nd Annual Conference, Seattle, 2005. Web.

      In an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of wikis for collaborative writing, wikis are identified as beneficial spaces to store and share information collaboratively, providing great benefits for projects with multiple or geographically-distributed authors. Disadvantages of wikis include the necessity to learn specific formatting tools and commands within the wiki, the creation of an unwieldy history for documents with multiple revisions, and primitive design features. Additionally, the opaqueness of the wiki environment may be intimidating to new users. This article is useful for anyone teaching or participating in a collaborative writing assignment, as it helps the reader think about how to best address some of the disadvantages while taking full advantage of the benefits of wikis for collaborative writing.

 

 

Tools