Project Overview
Student Learning Objectives
Content Material
Links to Course Competencies
Supplementary Resources


Online Collaborative Writing


Time: Approximately - One hour presentation, followed by online activities.  Students should be given at least a week to complete the reading and postings.

Materials: Student Material.   Students will need access to the Internet and an email address. 

Prerequisites: Experience using the Web

Implementation: The student activities in this RWLO can be used either in the classroom or as an online lesson.    The whole class can contribute to one collaborative paper, or the class can be broken down into smaller groups, perhaps by grade-level or discipline they are interested in teaching.   This activity could be introduced in a lecture setting with one presentation station connected to the Internet.  Students would need lab time to complete the assignment.   They could also be assigned to complete the assignment online at home.    (See Student Online Activities section below).


Prior to Lesson

Teacher will prepare Collaborative Writing environment.  For this RWLO, we will use Google Documents (formerly,  a free and relatively easy Web-based tool for creating and collaboratively editing documents online.   Tools such as Google Documents have features found in Wikis such as collaborative editing and the ability to see (and revert to) earlier versions; however since the scope of the sites and the number of people who have permission to edit is someone smaller and more contained, perhaps they could be called "Wee Wikis".        Google docs is just one of the many tools available.    Links to others will be available in the Supplementary Resource section and could be used; however links to instructions for setting up an using Google docs is provided below.

  • Take a Tour of Google Docs.
  • Sign in to (or Create) a  Google Account .
  • Add a New Document - Type Collaborative Writing Assignment (or something descriptive on the first line.  This will become the name of the document.     You might want to start the document with headings for What is a Blog? - What is a Wiki? - Article Reviews -  Lesson Ideas 
  • Add students as Collaborators (email accounts)  See instructions
  • Additional assignment instructions can be included as part of the email that will be sent to the Collaborators.

Introduce Lesson  (Instructor-led activity)

Present Introductory PowerPoint :   Collaborative Online Writing Tools: Blogs and Wikis   (Detailed lecture information can be found in the Notes section of most slides.)

In-class discussion ideas:    Has anyone used either of these tools?   Where you a reader or a writer?  What type of Wiki or Blog was it?  Do you think this might be an effective tool for classroom use?

Show examples of Educational Blogs and Wikipedia   See Student Course Material and show first first 2 examples in each category.

Student  Online Activities   (These activities would best be performed as an online, after-class assignment.  Students should be given at least a week to complete the activity and be encourage to log on several times.   Because of the nature of the Collaborative writing tool, the writing assignment does not have to be completed all at one time.)

Students will review PowerPoint and examples of a Wiki (Wikipedia) and Blogs

Students will choose two online articles from a list of links provide on educational uses for Webblogs and Wiki Web  to read and evaluate.  

Students will access the Collaborative writing environment by using the link and login information they received from the teacher by email.

The Group paper will consist of three parts:

1, Group Definition of Wiki and Weblogs. Everyone in the group will be able to read and edit the definitions. This product and process will be in the format of a Wiki.   The teacher can read and review all versions of the document

2. Each participant will provide a hyperlink and post a short review (one paragraph each) of two online articles: One on Weblogs in Education and the other on Wikis. They will be provided an extensive list of links to choose from so a variety of articles should be reviewed.

3. Each participant will provide an idea for the use of one of these technologies in a lesson plan.

 After the Lesson

The teacher can access the Collaborative project and evaluate contributions by each member by reviewing revisions by date.     After reviewing and allowing revisions if necessary, the teacher can easily publish the page on the Web by clicking the Publish Tab in Google Docs.