Collaborative Writing

Issues to Resolve

In addition to the writing plan, collaborative writing groups should discuss and resolve ahead of time some of the following issues:

  • when and where to meet as a group or how to meet when the participants are in a distance education course

  • how to send materials between participants in the most efficient way

  • what to do if someone has to drop out or falls behind

  • what the group expects to get as a grade and the ways in which each member will evaluate the others

  • who communicates with the instructor, and how that will occur

  • how differences of opinion will be resolved

  • what roles the group members will assume

Groups should also plan to exchange contact information and should discuss technical considerations, such as (1) how the writing will be merged into a single project, (2) what word processing and graphics software will be used, (3) what style guide will be followed, and (4) who will make decisions about editorial and content disputes.

Often, following workplace standards for collaboration will lead to success. Remember, nevertheless, that the purposes of college writing differ from those of workplace writing. In the workplace, for example, strong group members often “carry” weaker members in the interest of getting the work done. College writing emphasizes and values both the learning and writing processes, as well as the final product.

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