Monday, 1 April 2013

Collaborative writing with wikis

Here is a short summary of the main research project I am currently working with:

Collaborative writing is considered an important activity in a large variety of professional work. Recently, the widespread use of social media has also increased the amount of writing in social interaction. In addition academic collaborative writing projects have emerged. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is especially interesting because of the large amount of contributors from all over the world. The success of this massive online project seems to challenge popular definitions of collaborative writing which have focused on a limited amount of writers (Lowry et al. 2004, Posner and Baecker 1992).

Based on these new trends, I will develop a comprehensive model of collaborative writing which attempts to integrate these new writing trends from the internet. Inspired by a sociocultural perspective (Castelló et al. 2012; Prior 2006) and recent theoretical development within the research field CSCL (Computer Supported Collaborative Learning)(Järvelä and Hadwin 2013; Kirschner and Erkens 2013), I will establish a multilevel framework that describes writing activities at four different levels: individual, small group, community and massive global scale.

The theoretical discussion will be based on data from a case study in Norwegian teacher education. In the spring term 2012, approximately 25 students were required to use a wiki to do three collaborative writing assignments in a course about educational use of ICT. Students met face-to-face one or two times a week during period of one month. In these evening sessions a rich variety of data was collected: video data, audio data and individual screen capture data. In addition students were interviewed in groups after they had finished their assignments.

In the data analysis I will give a detailed description of how the students collaborated. Discourse data will be used to analyze the interaction and the language use. I will use screen capture data to analyze the evolvement of collective text artifacts during the course. I will also describe the tensions that arise when students write together in new ways which don’t necessarily fit with the cultural expectations of what is considered “good academic writing”.

 - Castelló, M., Bañales, G., & Vega, N. A. (2010). Research approaches to the regulation of academic writing: the state of the question. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 8(3), 1253-1282.
 - Järvelä, S., & Hadwin, A. F. (2013). New frontiers: Regulating learning in CSCL. Educational Psychologist, 48(1), 25-39.
 - Kirschner, P. A., & Erkens, G. (2013). Toward a framework for CSCL research. Educational Psychologist, 48(1), 1-8.
 - Lowry, P. B., Curtis, A., & Lowry, M. R. (2004). Building a taxonomy and nomenclature of collaborative writing to improve interdisciplinary research and practice. Journal of Business Communication, 41(1), 66-99.
 - Posner, I. R., & Baecker, R. M. (1992, January). How people write together [groupware]. In System Sciences, 1992. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Hawaii International Conference on (Vol. 4, pp. 127-138). IEEE.
 - Prior, P. (2006). A sociocultural theory of writing. Handbook of writing research, 54-66.

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