This is a very quick unrehearsed response to your posting.
I believe there are some problems with the way the collaborative
writing task is conceived. If they all write separate chapters
individually and then come together to compose a report, they'll be
struggling to put together already "composed" bits. The problem with
doing this is not very different from the one I felt we had at the
Inkshed conference in Fredericton, where, if you examine the final
products, each of our papers ended up as case studies within the
framework of a larger issue. What was valuable in the process was
the exchange of views, the composing of differences, the emergence
of common threads; however, the process of writing itself did not
do what I believe writing and writing together often does: a
problem-solving activity that creates new knowledge.
This is all very top of the head; what else do you expect early
Saturday morning from a sinus-clogged, wheezing head?
My solution: the students ought to come together in groups according to
topics of interest, with some research done, but no finished papers, to
discover their question, so to speak, to work out together what it is
that intrigues them, and how what they are trying to put together might
contribute to the larger enterprise. The ought to inkshed at various
stages in their deliberations, and probably present to the other groups
interim progress reports, so that they get useful feedback and all group
s benefit from an exchange of ideas.
Just an idea; any one else?
Faculty of Education
3700 McTavish Street
Canada H3A 1Y2
Telephone: (514) 398-6960 (work)
FAX (514) 398-4529
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]