Tools for complex collaborations

collaboration on computersWhen we collaborate on a writing or editing project with one or two people, we can get away with sharing documents as email attachments. In more complex projects, we might have multiple partners, and each partner could have a significant amount of research and/or writing to contribute. Collaborative partners might have their own teams or student assistants who contribute to the effort. Sharing attachments is no longer the best strategy for exchanging work in progress, so what should we do?

This dilemma is the focus of my questions to Cole Keirsey, who joined me for a presentation, “Managing to Collaborate: Matching Document Management Tools to Your Writing Project,” at the recent TAA conference. As a technical writer for a global company, he used strategies that academic writers can adopt. He answered my questions about document sharing and version control here, and in next month’s post we will look at two other topics from that presentation: distribution and reuse, and deep linking. [Read more…]

6 Steps to organizing for collaborative advantage for writers

collaboration hi-fiveIn her recent TAA webinar, “Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work with Writers”, Janet Salmons defined collaboration as “an interactive process that engages two or more individuals or groups who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently”. During the session, she shared details about her taxonomy of collaboration and strategies for successful collaboration among academic writers.

In summary of the process for implementing the taxonomy of collaboration and organizing an environment suitable for creating a collaborative advantage for writers, she shared the following six steps. [Read more…]

The taxonomy of collaboration

Taxonomy of CollaborationIn her recent TAA webinar, “Make ‘Collaboration’ More Than a Buzzword”, Janet Salmons, author of Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn, shared six elements to the taxonomy of collaboration: reflection, dialogue, constructive review, parallel collaboration, sequential collaboration, and synergistic collaboration.

Starting from a definition that “collaboration is an interactive process that engages two or more individual or groups who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently”, traversing the taxonomy as described requires that the collaboration among individuals increase in level of trust as well. Referencing Handy, Salmons said, “In collaborative efforts, trust is ‘the confidence that a person is competent to reach a goal and is committed to reaching it.’” [Read more…]

4/11 TAA Webinar: Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work With Writers

Janet Salmonsjim mccleskeyWriting is deeply personal. But unless we are writing research memos or journal entries, we will have to cooperate with reviewers, editors, and others to get our work published. As faculty supervising students, writing program staff, trainers or consultants, we have the opportunity to help aspiring writers to work more collaboratively. Join us Thursday, April 11 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work With Writers,” where presenter Dr. Janet Salmons, author of Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn: Practical Guidance for Online and Classroom Instruction, and her dissertation supervisee Jim McClesky will explore ways to develop skills valuable to writers. They will look at ways to use review exchanges, writing circles, support teams and other approaches to improve writing while learning to work collaboratively. Practical strategies will be offered for classroom, committee, or informal learning settings. will explore ways to develop skills valuable to writers. She will look at ways to use review exchanges, writing circles, support teams and other approaches to improve writing while learning to work collaboratively, and offer practical strategies for classroom, committee, or informal learning settings. [Read more…]

Doctoral writing circles: Learning to write and collaborate

writing circleGraduate students will graduate, and at that point they’ll need to write with others. In academic positions they’ll work with colleagues on committees and research projects that result in written materials, books, or articles. In professional positions they’ll work on project teams and write plans and reports. Yet while they are in school, especially at the dissertation stage, students’ work is typically conducted on their own.

First, let’s define the term collaboration to describe “an interactive process that engages two or more participants who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently” (Salmons, 2019). Sometimes writers collaborate to produce one piece of writing, other times they collaborate on the process, while each produces their own piece of writing.

With those possibilities in mind, as instructors, mentors, or dissertation supervisors, how can we create opportunities for that help students collaborate to generate their best writing and at the same time, learn to collaborate so they are prepared to succeed in a team-work world? [Read more…]

11/6 TAA Webinar: Make “Collaboration” More Than a Buzzword

Learn to CollaborateJanet SalmonsHow do we decide what kind of interactive process will allow us to achieve outcomes more significant than what we could do on our own? What steps will improve collaborations when some or all of our interaction occurs online? These are questions Dr. Janet Salmons, author of the forthcoming book, Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn, will explore in her TAA webinar, “Make ‘Collaboration’ More Than a Buzzword,” on Tuesday, November 6 from 3-4 p.m. ET. Register today! [Read more…]

How a personal writing team can increase your productivity through accountability

Writing TeamAt the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, panelists at three different career stages discussed how they came together to form a “personal writing team” that supports writing goals, productivity, and accountability. Unique to this group, said panelist Felicia Moore Mensah, an associate dean and faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University, is the support that women of color can provide and need for increased mentorship for early career scholars.

The complete recording of their presentation, “A Personal Writing Team for Productivity and Accountability,” can be found in TAA’s library of Presentations on Demand. [Read more…]

Co-authoring & writing collaboration: Planning strategies for success

Writing a book or an article is a demanding process in the best of circumstances. We must balance a number of internal and external factors. We must figure out how to convey our insights and experiences, research and analysis, in writing. At the same time, we must interface with the external world: schedules and deadlines, editors and publishers, and ultimately with our readers. We add another set of factors when we work with co-authors. How can we navigate all of these dimensions in ways that allow us to collectively produce our best work? [Read more…]

Successfully building collaborative authoring relationships

collaborationDeveloping a collaborative relationship with other authors can be both rewarding and challenging. For many, writing is an individual effort, so how do you determine when it is beneficial to partner with one or more other authors on a manuscript? To learn more about the advantages of author collaboration, we sought the insight of several TAA members who have been successful in developing manuscripts with co-authors.

Q: What are some advantages of finding a collaborator?

A: Drew Curtis, co-author of Abnormal Psychology: Myths of ‘Crazy’“Collaboration offers numerous benefits, which is why most academic disciplines encourage it. [Read more…]

TAA members share their mentoring experiences and advice

MentoringWhat is a mentor? Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide”. As writers, much of our efforts are completed individually, and even when contributing to a larger body of work, the relationships are more often collaborative in nature than one of a mentoring type, but few successful authors have reached that level of success without the guidance of one or more who came before them and guided their efforts. Several TAA members share their experiences as either a mentor or mentee and some advice for successful mentoring relationships. [Read more…]