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Collaborative Writing

Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Partnerships as a Means of Identity Formation

Series:

Phillip Motley, Aysha Divan, Valerie Lopes, Lynn O. Ludwig, Kelly E. Matthews and Ana M. Tomljenovic-Berube

Abstract

This chapter describes the collaborative writing experiences of a multidisciplinary group of educators brought together through an International Collaborative Writing Group (ICWG) initiative originally organized by the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) in 2012. Our ICWG writing partnership helped us develop our scholarship in ways that might not have otherwise been accomplished, had we worked alone or even with colleagues in our same institution or country. Through an analysis of a collection of individual reflective narratives about our collaborative writing experiences, we describe opportunities, affordances, inhibitors, and enablers for this approach to collaborative writing. We delineate the community of practice that we have successfully developed and how it has helped each of us develop our Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). We share the mechanisms that we have used to facilitate our work; the types of choices we have made about what research areas to explore that fit with our interests and the constraints of distance-based collaboration; and, most importantly, the ways in which our writing partnership has developed a stronger understanding of what SoTL is, and can be, moving forward.

Creating and Sustaining a Community of Academic Writing Practice

The Multi-University Residential Academic Writing Retreat Model

Series:

Michelle K. McGinn, Snežana Ratković, Dragana Martinovic and Ruth McQuirter Scott

Abstract

A qualitative case-study narrative documents a series of annual five-day residential academic writing retreats that have brought 39 academics together across universities, fields of study, career stages, and countries since 2007. Inspired by Grant (2008), the retreats foreground goals related to enhancing scholarly writing productivity, fostering participants’ identities as academic writers, strengthening peer relationships, and fostering a community of practice. Writers work on independent and collaborative writing projects, provide feedback to one another, participate in workshops, share meals, and prioritize their work as writers. Together the writers form a community involving joint activities and shared resources for individual and collective academic writing practice. The learning value of the community is captured through writers’ commitments to advancing their own and others’ learning. Evolution, participation, and rhythm sustain the community. The retreat model allows community evolution with attention to individual and social (i.e., private and public) aspects of writing and being writers. Writers engage in different levels of participation, focusing on community values and encouraging open dialogue within and beyond the community. Community activities create a predictable rhythm (i.e., a community heartbeat) that establishes expectations and promotes belonging yet leaves space for diversified rhythms (i.e., a jazz beat) that respect each individual’s process and goals. The chapter concludes with reflections intended to inform and inspire academic writers and retreat facilitators.

Series:

Nicola Simmons

Abstract

This synthesis chapter outlines the common themes of the collaborative writing groups in the book. Prevalent themes include writing retreat pragmatics such as how positive processes are supported by setting and negotiating goals and having a dedicated space. They also include the soul work that comprises trusting and successful writing partnerships that help avoid isolation and support the development of scholarly identity as an academic writer.

Faculty Writing Studio

A Place to Write

Series:

Remica Bingham-Risher and Joyce Armstrong

Abstract

This chapter investigates the importance of a separate place for faculty to leave their offices and go to a place on campus to write. Drawbacks of writing in one’s office and at one’s home are examined. A faculty member needs to be separated from daily tasks and interruptions to concentrate on the business of writing and a Faculty Writing Studio meets this need. Collaboration is also available for faculty who wish to discuss writing, projects, and grants. The dedicated space for writing and research is an outward show of an institution’s support to the faculty’s writing. Both quantitative and qualitative data are presented.

Series:

Elizabeth Marquis and Nicola Simmons

Abstract

Recognizing the challenges that often attach to writing for publication, this chapter describes a Collaborative Writing Groups (CWG) initiative that supports scholarly writing about teaching and learning in higher education. This model, which sees groups of scholars from multiple institutions working together virtually and face-to-face to co-author manuscripts on topics of shared interest, has been shown to contribute to building scholarly capacity, community, and collaboration, while also leading to the development of manuscripts that contribute meaningfully to the literature. We describe the model, which was initially developed by the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education and subsequently modified for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, outline some of the evidence demonstrating its efficacy, and reflect on our experiences adapting the initiative to support collaborative writing in the Canadian context. While the CWG process was originally developed for individuals working on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), it is also applicable to those in other fields and disciplines. Thus, we situate our discussion within the SoTL literature that shaped the initiative, but also offer considerations and recommendations for those wishing to adapt and apply the model in other contexts.

An International Interdisciplinary Writing Group

Perspectives on Building Partnerships and Developing Community

Series:

Barbara Kensington-Miller, Carolyn Oliver, Sue Morón-García, Karen Manarin, Earle Abrahamson, Nicola Simmons and Jessica Deshler

Abstract

In this chapter, we describe our international collaborative writing group (ICWG), which came together in 2012 and reconvened in 2017 to share experiences, renew friendships, and reflect on past memories and expectations. This group formed a micro-community of practice that has celebrated successes while simultaneously being cognisant of differences in views, direction, and output. While we initially only ‘signed up’ for a writing collaborative project five years ago, we discuss what keeps us coming together – in small groups as well as the whole – for further writing projects. Using Personal Construct Theory (PCT), we discuss how we have built a learning culture for our group. We reflect on what aspects of the collaboration, including ways the initial writing group was structured and supported, have invited us to continue to come back to the wellspring of collaborative work. We bring international perspectives on what being part of a writing group means beyond the simple output of scholarly work to interrogate what has allowed us both to be a community of practice, and to practice as a community.

Just Show Up

Reflections from a Motley Writing Group

Series:

Janel Seeley, Tia Frahm and Elizabeth Lynch

Abstract

In this chapter we reflect on our cross-disciplinary writing group, specifically on our increased productivity and writing self-efficacy. Our writing group has provided an outlet for both developing and sharing our work over the past two years. This has allowed us to develop our self-image as writers and provide mutual support as we navigate our various responsibilities within the academy. We use an autoethnographic approach to explore the inner workings of our writing group and its impact on our writing lives. We also provide insight to how our writing group experience facilitated our publication portfolios across academic fields. Drawing on relevant writing group research (Gray, 2015; Pajares, 2003; Sword, 2016) our group encourages the practice of sustained writing and accountability. In agreement with Guerin’s (2012) research, as a cross-disciplinary group, we have also been able to expand our writing to a broader audience.