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 The Three Phases of Collaborative Writing Most collaborative writing assignments and projects consist of three main


phases: initial-class preparation, class work, and post-project evaluation. While an individual faculty member may choose to place greater emphasis on a single phase, it is important to recognize each phase and its contribution to the success of the project.


Initial-class preparation In the preparation phase, faculty members need to consider how students are


introduced to the project, become acquainted with the assignment requirements and due dates, and how to organize groups to complete the work. The first task in this phase is to determine how groups will be constructed. Group construction may be based on assuring a mix for each group based on differences in: learning styles, gender, diversity, experience, ideologies, or other variables. Likewise, group members may be assigned roles or use group decision-making to assign roles. Typical roles might be recorder, spokesperson, researcher, summarizer, checker/corrector, skeptic, organizer/manager, observer, writer, timekeeper, conflict resolver, liaison (Nilson, 2010, p. 158). Establishing the groups often begins with an initial group meeting - either during class or outside class hours. A small investment up front pays great dividends. If you have students spend 20 minutes at the beginning of the assignment to discuss the process, the groups can begin to establish how they will work together to complete the assignment. Often, we assume that students know how to work in groups. This can be true to an extent, but they would benefit from talking about how they will work together in this context. There are a number of ways to do this, ranging from an open conversation about the process of group work, to an established "group charter," to a mandated structure from the professor. In her book, Team Writing: A Guide to Working in Groups, Wolfe (2010) suggests several elements that contribute to an effective initial meeting (pp. 55-56):


 Define what the team will do and how it will work  Defining what roles people play


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