Educators widely recognize that students do not learn well when they are isolated "receivers" of knowledge. Indeed, students must overcome isolation in order to learn to write. Collaboration helps students understand writing as a public, communal act, rather than as a private, isolated one. Collaboration therefore helps student writers to develop a sense of audience.
There are many ways to write collaboratively in the classroom.
It may involve running drafts by colleagues or having an editor piece together multiple contributions. Class assignments and deadlines may dictate some of this — or an instructor may simply let it happen organically. While individual writing emerges from several iterations of brainstorming, organizing, writing, and refining, group writing multiplies these efforts.
The process varies according to the group composition, experience, and constraints. In fact, as will be discussed below, almost all of the advice for collaborative writing centers on how to manage group workflow and dynamics.
Some believe that it is important to model writing collaboration Collaborative learning essay writing after the professional process as a student might encounter them in their career.
However, team writing in the professional context is not intended to be an educational experience. Professionals who are not able to contribute effectively may be dropped from a project with little fallout. The collaborative process in an academic setting is a valuable, predominantly educational, experience.
Many students are still growing in their ability to write and work with the writing of others. Generating a coherent product from multiple student voices and, at times, multiple academic disciplines may be demanding.
As Price and Warner write: In other words, challenging students to pursue a project — even in a manner that is not always smooth and does not always reflect the professional process — may allow them to become better at collaboration, writing, and other career-related skills.
Anticipating Obstacles is Important. These issues included task-related problems that directly affect writing quality. These students experienced difficulty in testing ideas critically, in evaluating alternatives, and in achieving closure on important items.
The tendency to introduce irrelevant discussion, failure to consider interpersonal relationships and authority relations, and outright conflict further compounded the bad experiences.
The affected students were less likely to want to work in groups in the future. Experienced instructors emphasize the importance of effective group communication as a foundation for successful collaborative writing experiences.
While it is possible for most group projects to be successful even if there is no intervention, Mead estimates that about one in four groups will experience some kind of conflict that requires instructor mediation.
Other techniques described below, such as monitoring students and ensuring proper group formation, can greatly improve the outcome of the group process.
Group Formation There are several considerations at play as far as group membership is concerned. Some instructors have found that students do better when they are assigned to groups. This ensures diversity, which leads to less groupthink and more substantive discussions.
For large projects that require a lot of out-of-class meeting time, students may want to identify peers with similar schedules, interests, or campus residences.
Speck recommends giving the students a sign-up sheet and leaving the room for minutes. Once groups are formed, other strategies may be useful depending on the expectations of the project. It is usually useful to conduct some initial icebreaker tasks to allow group members to get to know one another.
Another option is to have group members take a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Inventory, to help identify their strengths for their group members Deans, Preventative Organization Instructors can take several preventative steps to optimize group effectiveness and reduce the potential for conflict.
Some of these steps can be performed prior to assigning team roles.To illustrate that this is true, this essay will answer four questions: what is collaborative learning, how does collaborative learning benefit writers, how can tutors in the writing center use collaborative learning, and what are the potential problems associated with collaborative learning?
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