6-TESOL 2014 – Collab Writing Presentation

Norah Fahim
Jennifer Eidum Zinchuk
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2014 TESOL Convention, Portland OR
Digital Composing: Utilizing
Students’ Web Skills for L2
Collaborative Writing
Why write collaboratively?
Students’ reactions
How to use Google Drive
Discussion & Questions
Context Overview
1st year composition course
4 year College
Matriculated students
Self-identity as Multilingual Learners (MLLs)
Self- enroll in MLL specific sections
Meet 4 days a week, 50 minutes each day
Total of 2 classes: 37 students
Introducing collaborative writing to your class
Present a pre-survey to your students:
• Gives students chance to reflect on their
previous writing experience
• Allows you to gauge how much preparation
and pre-discussion you need to have in class
What is Collaborative Writing? (from pre-survey)
Students interpretation:
• “It means different people have different job
in the writing process and they contribute to
the final article”
• “It means writing with extra help and different
• "Composing an essay together by [combining]
ideas from each one in the group”
Students’ Prior Experiences with
Collaborative Writing: Frustrations
– “It went badly because other people in my
groups weren’t doing anything for the
assignment so I had to do it myself”
– "[I've done it] twice—not so well (one as pairs –
one a group search) ended up writing alone
both times”
Students’ Prior Experiences with
Collaborative Writing: Benefits
– "I think it’s great, because when you are in a group,
everybody has different idea about the same topic,
and after communication and synthesize notes, we
can create a interesting and comprehensive article”
– “it went well since we communicate and agree with
each other”
Why do Collaborative Writing?
• Why does writing have to be such an isolated
• Let's first think of our students' future writing
projects in the workplace...
– “Strauss (2001) argues that in many ways group
assessment reflects the reality of the real world where
group work is increasingly valued in the workplace
and where collaborative writing is a common
practice” (as cited in Wigglesworth & Storch, 2009)
What More Can Collaborative Writing Offer?
• Traditional writing classrooms:
– Focus on individual writing processes with
collaborative learning assignments utilized only in
support of individual writing objectives
• Collaborative writing situations allow:
– Reflection on individual writing choices
– Increased engagement in the writing process with
their peers.
(Storch, 2005)
Benefits to Collaborative Writing
• Collaborative writing, both in L1 and L2
environments, fosters reflective thinking with
a consideration for rhetorical effectiveness,
organization, style, and grammar. (Storch
• In addition, collaboratively written
assignments tend to be more accurate and
more concise (Storch 2005).
Why ONLINE Collaborative Writing?
• It's highly likely your students are competent
internet users
– Pre-writing survey of 2 classes:
Do you have a Gmail account?
Have you used Google Drive (Docs)?
m et a- char t .com
m et a- char t .com
But Still, Why ONLINE Collaborative Writing?
• Online collaborative writing provides students
with a space they are in control of, and in a
platform they are comfortable with
• Can't meet up with my writing partner!
Meeting online solves that
• Layers of interaction give students multiple
opportunities for contribution (comment,
chat, voice, etc.)
“How to” Scaffold Collaborative Writing
• Pre-Writing Activities:
– Engage with students’ prior experiences (good or
Define term(s), brainstorm experiences, use survey
– Set up clear expectations, responsibilities, and
Have students consider assignment tasks, set up
rubric, divide duties;
Set up small tasks with due dates along the way
“How to” Scaffold Collaborative Writing
• Consider how you want to put students in
groups: pairs? Small groups? You choose
groups? Based on ability? Interests? They
• Consider assessment and assignment timeline
Online Collaborative Writing Platforms
How to set up your Google Doc
• For students who already have a Google
account (gmail, for example), they can just log
into their account and then go to:
• For students who don’t have a Google account
they can create one by signing up at:
Log in to your
Google account
Create an account
How to set up your Google Doc
• After logging in, go to http://drive.google.com
• Then, one student in the group should create
a new document:
Create a new document
In Google Drive you can
create many different kinds
of files.
This opens up possibilities
for collaborative tasks such
as group presentations,
surveys, etc.
How to set up your Google Doc
• Once the document is created, NAME and
Click here to Name the document
Click here to Share
the document with
your group (and
How to set up your Google Doc
Add your group mates’
email addresses here
And click “Done”
How to set up your Google Doc
Begin writing!
As you write, you
can leave
comments for
your partner
Highlight text,
select comment,
and leave feedback
How to set up your Google Doc
Real-time Chat:
• This colored box means your
group mate is online.
• Click the chat icon to open
the chat box, and type here
How to set up your Google Doc
It is easy to
download your doc
as a traditional
computer file
Student Interaction During Collaborative Writing Process
In post-writing Survey
• All students reported using Google Docs
• A majority used the "Comment" function
• Several used the chat function
• Some also met face-to-face
• One pair also used text messaging
Student Reflections on Using the Online Platform
• Instant Writing Feedback:
“Real time peer review. VERY Good!”
“Easier to finish the assignment and we can
check errors for each other”
“It is very effective to use the ‘comment’ function,
and everyone can see what is going on, and decide
should we do the modification to that specific part”
Student Reflections (continued)
• Time management:
“We met online, because we have different courses at
different time, so it is impossible for us to meet face-toface. But the internet solves this problem. We did use
Google docs and We chat to communicate with each
other. That was offered me so many convenience”
•There’s always room •Where do you take it
for improvement
from here?
Discussion Questions
• Can you imagine any assignments where you
might ask students to write collaboratively
• What kinds of skills are students developing
while doing online collaborative writing?
• What additional questions do you have for us?
• Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing:
Product, process and students’ reflections.
Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 153–
• Wigglesworth, G., & Storch, N. (January 01,
2009). Pair versus Individual Writing: Effects
on Fluency, Complexity and
Accuracy. Language Testing, 26, 3, 445-466.

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