22 SES 02 D, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Parallel Paper Session
Individual essay writing is a common learning method at the university but increasingly students write texts collaboratively in order to learn subject contents. Studies of individual writing have shown that writing has an effect on writer’s knowledge construction and cognitive development (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987; Tynjälä, 1997; Klein, 1999; Mason & Boscolo, 2000). By definition collaborative writing is a specific learning task where two or more learners construct and write a text together, participate equally in the production of the text, and are equally responsible for achieving the task (Giroud, 1999).
Collaborative writing involves both social interaction and mutual engagement in the writing process. Collaborative writers must share a feeling of joint responsibility to advance mutual understanding of the topic in question and all participants should contribute to solving of the writing task. The members of the group should also be willing to share their knowledge and skills to make their learning processes more meaningful and productive both for themselves and others (Erkens et al., 2005; Yong, 2010). Expressing thoughts and ideas to other students as well as completing other partner’s ideas, can promote knowledge construction.
The benefit of collaborative writing is that it combines social processes of writing with cognitive knowledge construction processes which may lead to deeper learning than individual work. Working and writing together enables students to utilize each others as a source of information, to share knowledge and to construct mutual meaning through interaction. Although in face-to-face situations interaction is an inevitable part of group work, placing writers to work together in a group does ensure neither collaboration (Kreijns et al., 2003), nor knowledge construction. Therefore, encouragement to real collaboration and knowledge construction should be structured within the group work (Kreijns et al., 2003). To achieve the advantages which collaborative writing can offer, it is important to develop methods of supporting collaborative writing among students. The aim of this study is to clarify what kind of knowledge construction processes students are engaged in when they write collaboratively a joint essay.
References: Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M. (1987). The psychology of written composition. Hillsdale, N.J.:Erlbaum. Erkens, G., Jaspers, J., Prangsma, M. & Kanselaar, G. (2005). Coordination processes in computer supported collaborative writing. Computers in Human Behaviour, 21, (pp.463–486). Giroud, A. 1999. Studying argumentative text processing through collaborative writing. In J.Andriessen & P. Coirier. (eds.) Foundations of argumentative text processing. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, (pp.149-178). Klein, P.D. 1999. Reopening inquiry into cognitive processes in writing to learn. Educational Psychology Review, 11 (3), 203–270. Kreijns, K., Kirschner, P.A. & Jochems, W. (2003). Identifying the pitfalls for social interaction in computer-supported collaborative leaning environments: a review of the research. Computers in Human Behavior 19, 335–353. Mason, L.& Boscolo, P. 2000. Writing and conceptual change. What changes? Instructional science, 28, 199–226. Tynjälä, P. 1997. Developing education students’ conceptions of the learning process in different learning environments. Learning and Instructions, 7 (3), 277-292. Yong M.F. 2010. Collaborative writing features. RELC Journal, 41 (1), 18-30.
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