Eyeball to Eyeball: Collaborative Writing


When it comes to collaborative writing, there are many things that can make or break the success of it. With technology advancing and evolving everyday, collaborative writing has taken on a new meaning and the success has grown largely. One may think to themselves, why collaborate when i can just complete something myself? I can almost guarantee that most college students have this thought when i professor states “were going to be completing a group project this semester”. Trust me, I’ve had that thought many of times. However, what we don’t realize is that these collaborative projects and group work that we complete in college are helping us build our teamwork skills for the professional field. No matter what professional field your in or going into, there is always going to be some type of encounter with collaboration among colleagues. The key to collaboration however, is to follow things that will help to make it successful. 

In an article by Rebecca Ingalls, she talks about the important things we can do to ensure our success of collaborative writing and what can happen if we don’t use these tips. Some of them include: 

-Keeping an open mind

-Establishing a group contract

-Good communication

-Meeting deadlines

To start off, Keeping an open mind will only benefit you and your collaborators. It is important to revisit the ways that we have collaborated in the past and see what worked best for us or what didn’t work so well at all. It is important for members of a collaboration to pledge from the start to allow for the thoughts and ideas of the other members in order to build their success. Each member of a collaboration has something to offer and with the amount of collaborative devices on Web 2.0, it can all be made possible. Keeping a closed mind in a collaboration can create only conflict and cause offerings to clash. It is important for members to learn from one another and with the use of collaboration, the opportunity is there. 

Establishing a group contract can also greatly benefit a collaborative writing task. The contract can hold anything from goals and expectations to the division of work among members. Everyone has something different to offer and tasks can be divided up according to the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborator. For example, one member may be stronger in web based technology than another and is able to use this strength greatly benefit the other members.

In addition, good communication is key to a successful collaboration. With the creation of Google Docs, Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. it has been made possible for people to instantly communicate with one another even if there on two separate sides of the country. Prior to Web 2.0, collaborative writing was only made possible through the use of face to face communication, HAND written letters, etc. The evolution of technology has worked to our advantage and made collaborating with our colleagues much easier. However, without a member communicating effectively, the task can fall to pieces, create conflict, and cause issues among the other members.

Lastly, meeting deadlines is crucial to making our breaking the success of the members. When and if a contract is created, it is important to create a deadline(s) for members to follow. It can serve as a way to keep members on the same page, especially if they are communicating and working from two different places. It’s also important to decide how group members will meet the deadlines they set and in what way they will be doing so. 

After a collaborative writing piece has been completed, it is always important for us to revisit the piece. We should question ourselves on the outcome of the task.

-What the collaboration successful?

-Did each member work effectively?

-Did we meet our deadlines?

-Did we stay on task and communicate well with one another?

While all these tips and questions may seem like common sense, when it comes to actually completing them, we tend to lose the structure that guides us through them. Always keep in mind the important aspects of collaboration and use them to your advantage. 


Rebecca Ingalls Reading:




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