Overcoming the five factors that complicate peer collaboration

Collaboration with peers is different from collaboration with a peer. It’s complicated.In her most recent webinar, “Practical Strategies for Collaborating with Peers”, Janet Salmons shared her experience in collaborative projects telling the audience that “collaboration with peers is different from collaboration with a peer. It’s complicated.” The larger the group, the more complicated the factors affecting collaboration become.  

Regardless, according to Salmons, the sooner that these five common factors are identified, the sooner they can be addressed, and the potential damage they can cause is more likely to be avoided. So, what are these five common factors that complicate peer collaboration? [Read more…]

Reflection and collaboration

reflection and collaborationThis time last year, I wrote two posts for Abstract. In the December post, “Reflect and Reboot,” I discussed ideas from Dewey and others about reflection and deep learning. After taking some time to contemplate how these concepts applied in my own work/life, I wrote Reflections on academic writing: Three insights. Now I’d like to build on this line of thinking and discuss ways reflection plays into our work with others.

As noted in last year’s posts, Dewey suggested that reflective thought is needed “to transform a situation in which there is experienced obscurity, doubt, conflict, disturbance of some sort, into a situation that is clear, coherent, settled, harmonious” (Dewey, 1939, p. 851). He might have had collaborative writing in mind, since doubt and conflict are all too common when writers who are accustomed to doing their own thing find themselves in a situation with equally head-strong co-authors or co-editors. How can we use reflective thinking to shift into a coherent, harmonious working relationship? [Read more…]

Developing healthy collaborative relationships: Why and how

collaborationCollaborative writing relationships can be advantageous to all involved when designed for success, but without self-awareness and clear communication, these relationships can set projects on a path of failure. In academia, opportunities exist for both student-to-student collaboration as well as collaboration between students and professors.

During their 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference session, Laura Jacobi, Justin Rudnick, Alyssa Harter, and Cristy Dougherty shared some strategies for successful professor-student collaborations. These strategies include reflective practices and effective communication guidelines as summarized below. [Read more…]

12/3 TAA Webinar – Practical Strategies for Collaborating With Peers

Janet SalmonsSometimes collaboration comes naturally. We can communicate honestly to determine shared goals and complete a project. It can be exhilarating to see what can be accomplished when we pool ideas and expertise. Other times, collaboration seems time-consuming and frankly aggravating. Perhaps we thought we were on the same page with our partner(s), only to discover that their sense of time, criteria for quality, or willingness to address problems are not as we expected.

The issues can compound when the number of collaborative partners expands, and when we have less common ground to build upon. When we collaborate with peers from our own discipline or professional, we understand theoretical frameworks and seminal literature that informs our field. We might share similar outlooks with peers from our region, country, or culture. When we expand the collaboration to include peers from outside these familiar groups, attention is needed to the ways we will work together.

Join us Tuesday, December 3 from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “Practical Strategies for Collaborating With Peers,” presented by author and coach Janet Salmons, who will show how the approaches described in her book, Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn, apply to peer collaboration for writing, editing, or other projects.

[Read more…]

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…]