How to Work Collaboratively

I’m currently teaching professional writing, and I’m very thankful to have these ProfHacker posts about collaboration to share with my students. Although a single-authored document is a very common assignment in most college courses, documents that have been collaboratively authored are much more likely to be created in a work environment.

We all know how difficult writing can be if we are working by ourselves. However, if we work together, perhaps the work isn’t quite as difficult.

Social medial tools like Facebook and Twitter can help get you through your to-do list, instead of distracting you from it. Here’s a simple strategy for breaking out of procrastination.

Online Tools For Collaboration,” by George H. Williams
Collaborating with others on large and ongoing projects can be tricky, but it’s much easier if you use a few online tools wisely.

E-mail Is Not a Tool for Revision,” by Jason B. Jones
Using an online writing environment–such as GoogleDocs or a wiki–makes collaboration easier and side steps the problems that can arise when several authors are e-mailing each other different drafts of the same document

If you and your collaborators need to make significant progress on a document in a short period of time, here’s one way to do it.

Use GoogleDocs for Crowd-Sourced Notes,” by George H. Williams
When several different people are taking notes about the same topic, using a shared online document is an effective way to keep track of all of the different contributions.

This new, Windows-only plug-in from Google Docs allows you to share, back up, and edit simultaneously with others who are also using the plug-in with Office or who are using Google Docs in the cloud.

[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Christopher Schmidt]

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How I teach rhetorical analysis in first-year writing

After the jump you’ll find several links to materials I use for teaching rhetorical analysis as well as explanations of how we go through these different steps. I’m not going to argue that the way I do it is perfect, and I’d be glad to get your feedback if you have some suggestions for improvement.

It takes about 3 or 4 weeks to get from start (introducing the concepts) to finish (gathering up all of the completed essays). Roughly speaking, this is how things happened this semester, when I’m teaching a TTh schedule; if I were to do this in a MWF schedule, I would break things down differently.

If any of the links don’t work, please let me know. You’re free to use any or all of this material, if you choose to.

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Request for feedback: Development of the Graphic Novel


This semester, I’m working on a proposal for a new course: “Development of the Graphic Novel.” It’s a variation of one of our existing genre courses called “Development of the Novel,” which I’ve taught once here and twice at another school. If it’s approved, I probably won’t be teaching this new course for at least another year, which gives me a good chunk of time to prepare.


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Academic/Geek Gear: a list of mobile essentials

In response to a friend’s request for suggestions regarding what to buy with startup money associated with a new academic job, I came up with the following list, which I present for your consideration. Let’s assume you’ve already worked out your desktop computer, your laptop computer, and your printer/scanner.

Feedback or additional suggestions are welcome!

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Senior Seminar Projects, Spring 2009

A week from today, the students in my senior seminar course will share the results of their hard work this semester. This event will differ from the traditional structure of scholarly presentations in in the following ways:

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