Investigations of Wikis for Collaboration and Knowledge Building: Part 2

Where these sessions cover multiple papers, it seems that this might be more useful and readable for others to break it out by paper. So here’s the next paper from this session:

The Sequential Analysis of Individual versus Collaborative Writing Processes in Wikis
Presenter: Allan C. Jeong, Florida State University
CoAuthor: Patricia Anne Heeter, Florida State University

Problems with wikis – students are reluctant to edit each other’s work, just as Justin mentioned – the strong individual ownership of writing.

  • Can we define the collaborative writing process?
  • What processes identify individual vs. collaborative writing?

These conversations are making me think about my own collaborative writing. Collaborative blogging the 20 Days Challenges with Roxanne Glaser: it included collaborative brainstorming; shared posting on both of our blogs; some posts we wrote alone; some posts one of us would start, the other would come along and add to it, then someone would polish it up into a final document. It seems that the process of collaborative writing isn’t necessarily set in stone – and needs to be fluid and include back & forth editing and contribution over time.

This study generated a coding scheme and then coded wiki postings to analyze what type of editing happened on the wiki pages being analyzed.

Another learning for me from each of these sessions are the research methods. Dr. Jeong has over the last 10 years developed a Discussion Analysis Tool which is a software tool for analyzing discussion linearly or hierarchically.

Interestingly, given my reflection above, his data shows a pattern in the collaborative writing: first adding paragraphs, then a first round of edits, then a second round of edits. I didn’t catch the context of these wikis, which would be interesting to know as well. It seems to line up well with my own collaborative writing experience. 

In the Q&A, someone asked about people who draft things quickly, and those who are good editors. It’s a good question and interesting thing to think about when you consider what we might expect from students working on a wiki. What skills do we really want out of them??

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