Friday, October 29, 2010

An example of collaborative writing at Educause 2010

We frequently write collaboratively on the Internet.  Writing a composite document, where each co-author is responsible for his or her own section, is relatively simple to organize, but finding a way for many people to collaborate on a more integrated document is difficult.

The organizers of last week's Educause educational technology conference were faced with a large collaborative writing challenge.  They wanted to create a white paper synthesizing the presentation highlights from the sessions concerned with research on teaching and learning. The problem they faced was that there were 23 50-minute sessions spread over three days. One person could not have attended, let alone documented every session.

Their solution was to seek collaborators among the three to four thousand attendees, many of whom would attend one or more of the 23 presentations.  They created a simple survey form (using Google Docs) and asked those who attended the sessions to answer four open-ended questions. The report will be written by an Educause staff member using the results of the survey.  We will follow up when that report is published.

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