Group awareness increases student engagement in online collaborative writing

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Internet and Higher Education, 2018, 38 pp. 1 - 8
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© 2018 Online Collaborative Writing (OCW) tools such as Google Docs provide an efficient way for students to perform collaborative writing tasks. However, when teachers include OCW in their teaching, they often report fewer positive student engagement. This paper proposes a novel OCW tool called Cooperpad, with a group awareness functionality, which continuously gathers group members’ writing behavior, analyzes and visualize their engagement intensity for group members to compare their participation with that of others. Using direct observations, a post-test-only design with an experimental group (N = 72) and a control group (N = 48), we have examined whether access to Cooperpad's group awareness function showed more engagement in a group-writing task than students without access to the tool. Results of direct observation indicate that Cooperpad with the group awareness support increases students’ behavioral engagement, compared with a common synchronous OCW tool (without visualization support). In addition, the results show that the quality of writing in the experiment group is significantly greater than that of the control group when performing difficult tasks.
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