“Our vision is more obstructed by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.” Kristen Stendahl

Wikis, process and collaborative writing

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I have done a lot of collaborative writing in my life. Twice, once recently, I have been suprised to find that the person I am "collaborating" with thinks that writing collaboratively means dividing up the writing task. I, on the other hand, see it as reworking a constantly evolving version of the same piece of writing. I guess that's why I have adapted so easily to Wikis.

I also see my students having difficulty in understanding the paradigm of reworking one version of a shared piece of writing. They view a piece of writing as a product not a process, so once there is a version on paper (or in this case on a Wiki) they don't feel that they can "mexer" with it.

I had to get all their separate texts and put them in the same Wiki and tell them to choose the best text. Only then did they ask if they could remix the texts to create "a better one" - getting the idea of what it means to Wiki. They were still surprised that I wanted them to delete the now-redundant text as they felt like they were deleting someone else's work, they didn't see that they had merely created a next version of all the texts.

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