Tag Archives: editing

Collaborative Writing

Demotivational poster: Collaborate. Because sometimes your best option is to say "It's All Her Fault".

Collaborate / Mark / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Via ProfHacker, an interesting study titled Sharing and Collaborating With Google Docs: Influence of Psychological Ownership, Responsibility, and Student’s Attitudes on Outcome Quality (PDF).

Their summary states:

“Participants in all groups believed that collaboration improved the document quality. However, evaluation of the real contribution of collaboration was asymmetrical – students felt that while they did not exacerbate the document they read or edited, others worsened their own document by reading, suggesting or editing it. We therefore suggest that collaborative learning may be improved by encouraging collaboration mainly through suggesting and receiving improvements and less by editing each others’ writing.”

61% of Emerson students report having used Google Docs in the classroom, and 20% report using wikis. Does this finding change your view of how they should be used? Take our new poll and tell us how you feel your best writing happens!

Emerson on WordPress, Part 3

3 problems, one solution.


Elizabeth Parfitt wanted to get first year writing students to be engaged, motivated and to feel like their classroom work was important and relevant.

The WERS News team wanted a professional looking website – but WERS is run entirely by students who have limited time, resources, and web development experience.

Tim Riley wanted an easier way to manage his files and collect assignments.

Surprisingly, all 3 problems were addressed by using the same tool.


Part 3: WordPress and Course Management


Tim Riley teaches two very different classes, and was searching for a course management platform that would be simple and user friendly, yet flexible enough allow for customization.


screenshot of jr103 blog
Digital Journalism (JR103) is an introductory undergraduate course. The course goal is to teach students to report and present news on the web using audio, video, and images. Tim uses this course blog as a central place to gather resources that will aid students.
The sidebar has an extensive array of links: the syllabus, outside resources, class style sheet, course procedures, term sheet (glossary), tips and tricks for using equipment, WordPress help, Journalism Department’s Twitter and Delicious feeds, and links to upcoming workshops.

Tim is the only one who posts to this class blog. He uses posts to answer questions, update assignment details, and post questions that will guide review for quizzes and tests.
The students also create group blogs that showcase their reporting work throughout the semester.

screenshot of JR608 blog

Interactive News (JR608) is a graduate course. This is a smaller and more intense class that is focused on writing specifically for the web. This blog is also used as a hub: Tim posts links to readings and resources. However, this blog has a stronger student presence: each student has their own blog, and their blogs are linked in the sidebar of the course blog. These student blogs host focused assignments that require students to select threes stories per week, focus on the nature of the content, and then write and rewrite their headlines (as well as including illuminating images and links).

These student blogs are not visible to the public, and Tim prints out their entries and hands them a paper copy with line-by-line corrections.


“I had been working with Movable Type [another blogging platform] last year, and was really happy to take the leap to WordPress. It’s much more enjoyable, intuitive, and easy to figure out.” -Tim Riley

Real-time writing tool enables more efficient peer collaboration

Writing for Marketing Communication professor Suzy Im had an idea. She wanted her students to analyze each other’s writing and provide suggestions for improvements. The writing would take place in the classroom and involve all students collaborating on press releases and editorials.

After considering several software options such as WriteWith, and Google Docs, Professor Im decided to try Etherpad because it allowed students to see the changes their peers were making concurrently. Designed for real-time collaborative writing, Etherpad was easy for the class to access and use. Within moments of sharing the link, the class began playing with Etherpad’s rich features and intuitive interface. After her first class with the tool, Im reported, “we had so much fun!”

screenshot of etherpad

Etherpad's colorful interface

*Note: Etherpad is now available at TitanPad.com