The art of collaborative writing
Mastering scholarly writing can be challenging and first-year students often grapple with understanding the requirements and strategies for producing academic texts. When asked to collaborate around texts, students encounter new challenges. Today, co-authoring of texts has become a regular practice in higher education, and students are expected to not only master digital tools, collaborate online but also to take responsibility for the co-writing relation.
As university teachers, we know that co-writing texts can function either as expanding everyone’s writing skills or as an encumbrance. Thus, we have in project ORWELL produced five short videos to support students when they are about to start a collaborative writing process. The content in the videos is based on relevant research literature but also on extensive interviewing as well as collected surveys from students. We found that we cannot disregard the social and emotional aspects of collaboration. One key aspect to a successful collaborative writing product was transparent communication combined with respectful attitudes towards each other.
To sum up, the videos don’t give writing tips, instead, they supply students with the tools to set a firm base for the co-writing process.
Video 1. The aim of co-writing
- Presents rationales for co-writing
- Give examples of benefits
Video 2. The professional student
- Explains some general ground rules for successful partnerships
- Talks about individual responsibility
- Lists desired behaviors and attitudes
Video 3. Matching writing partners.(The document Match form shall be used in close connection to the video)
- Explains the importance of setting up a contract on beforehand.
- Demonstrate the “Match form” (to be used by students)
- Shows how the match form constitute the base for a contract.
Video 4. Digital collaboration when writing
- Exemplifies how digital tools can be disruptive or supportive.
- Gives examples of digital collaborative tools; for writing, for discussing or for brainstorming.
Video 5. DocuViz – a tool for visualizing the editing process
- Presents a plug-in to be used with Google Docs
- Show examples of how to interpret graphs from the plug in.