Collaborative writing and text quality in Google Docs

Date
2019-06-01
Authors
Abrams, Zsuzsanna I.
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Publisher
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
University of Texas at Austin Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning
Volume
23
Number/Issue
2
Starting Page
22
Ending Page
42
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Abstract
Linking research on task-based collaborative L2 writing and computer-mediated writing, this study investigates the relationship between patterns of collaboration and the linguistic features of texts written during a computer-supported collaborative writing task using Google Docs. Qualitative analyses provide insights into the writing process of successful collaborative groups. Twenty-eight first-year learners of German at a U.S. university participated in the study. Working in small groups, they completed a creative writing task, developing a hypothesized ending to a German feature film. The results suggest that collaboratively-oriented groups produced texts with more propositional content and better coherence than less-collaborative groups. These findings confirm previous observations that learner-to-learner engagement encourages meaning-making. They also expand existing research by connecting collaborative patterns to the quality of L2 output. Other linguistic features typically used for evaluating writing quality in task-based language learning research (i.e., grammatical or lexical accuracy, syntactic complexity, or lexical diversity) did not seem to be related to collaborative patterns. The article concludes with pedagogical and research insights into computer-supported collaborative writing among lower-proficiency L2 learners and the possibilities and limitations of Google Docs for analyzing data in such environments.
Description
Keywords
Computer-Mediated Communication, L2 Writing, Task-Based Language Teaching, Computer-Supported Collaborative Writing
Citation
Abrams, Zs. I. (2019). Collaborative writing and text quality in Google Docs. Language Learning & Technology, 23(2), 22–42. https://doi.org/10125/44681
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