Friday, April 5, 2013

Collaborating with EZ Reading Connections

Porsha and I are connecting our developmental reading courses CSZ 099 and CSE 099 (see Porsha’s post for course description) via blogger.  Porsha's class has been actively posting to blogger but my students have just been "learning by leaking."  Our students are using the same text ( America Now by Robert Atwan) this semester hence this makes collaborating much easier.  The biggest challenge so far has been trying to figure out what assignments best fulfill the course objectives and ours students' needs.    

A tentative lesson plan is to have my students collaborate on a research paper using Google docs.  This research paper will include an overview and comparison of the Dictionary and We haven't quite worked out how Porsha's class is going to contribute to this assignment but the plan, for now, is to post the final paper on blogger to get feedback from Porsha's students. 



  1. I love the idea of using Google docs to collaborate on projects, but one word of caution- once a student changes something to the doc, it is done. I believe there is no way to know who contributed what unless you ask students to write their pieces of the paper and their edits in different colored fonts. I may be wrong about this...but when I looked for a way to see edit history on a shared document with another instructor, I could not find it.

    I believe BlackBoard has a Wiki that allows the professor and students to see the various edits that have been applied to a shared document. I used it in an Accounting class once (as a student). However, that was a long time ago and the technology may be archaic by today's standards, lol. I am sure there may be a technology that is more up-to-date that allows you to view student contributions with ease.

    The idea of having students collaborate on a high-stakes project like a research paper is brave and can make for a very meaningful experience for both you as the instructor and your students. I am very much looking forward to hearing more about the endeavor!

    1. Hi Nicole,
      I have the same concerns and I'm still trying to work this out. Yes, Blackborad has "wikis that allows the professor and students to see the various edits that have been applied to a shared document." I am very comfortable with Blackboard and have been tempted...but this semester I'm trying to do something outside of BB.
      I will keep you posted and welcome suggestions.

  2. Hi, Melissa.
    I applaud you're trying to do something outside of BB. When I use Google Docs with my students, I have them use the Comments rather than Edits. But then, that is for providing feedback. For collaboration, you are able see the Revision History in Google Docs, but it's a pain to go in and keep looking--and the point is for them to "collaborate." Even if students wrote in different colored fonts, it's hard to gauge their "contributions" if someone has edited out another's. That's why I like Comments. That may be a way to have yours and Porsha's class collaborate: they could partner in this process.
    Also, since it is a high stakes and it might be challenging to figure out how to evaluate each student's contribution, you might think of having students share information and research (depending on the platform... a wiki?), but write up the paper themselves individually.
    Just some thoughts!