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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaborative writing strategies of students using multi-media software Hart, Gjoa Lynne.

Abstract

This study reports on the similar and different writing strategies four dyads of English as a Second Language students used during a five week case study at the English Language Institute of the University of British Columbia. These intermediate language learners used a multi-media software prototype called Edubba which was designed to teach the academic writing process. The aims of the study were to 1) describe the composing strategies of a small number of international students engaged in collaborative composition tasks using multi-media software; 2) establish how their processes and products varied from group to group and from week to week; and 3) to elicit information from the writers' point of view about their experiences with the writing tasks and their history of writing instruction, collaborative writing experience and computer skills. Case study data consisted of student profiles, assessments of weekly produced compositions, descriptions of they dyads' collaborative composing processes, transcripts of oral exchanges, and field notes. The learners' experience demonstrates that the benefit of using technology to provide students with an immersive setting can help students to approach the writing process from research to production. Results show that there were more differences than similarities in how dyads approached and completed their writing task. Obvious factors which seemed to play a part in the diversity of the writing teams were as follows: language level, attitude toward writing and/or their partner, background knowledge of the subject, gender and culture and personality. Areas for further research and development include creating a more open work space for collaborating writers which may or may not include more than one keyboard and mouse, providing a longer time frame for the actual drafting component of the writing process, providing students with collaborative expressions called gambits, and observing the implementation of more intelligent help directly in the multi-media software.

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