Bemer, Amanda; Moeller, Ryan M.; & Ball, Cheryl E. (2009, September). Designing collaborative learning spaces: Where material culture meets mobile writing processes. Programmatic Perspectives: Journal of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication, 1(2). http://www.cptsc.org/pp/vol1-2/bemer_moeller_ball1-2.pdf
In May 2007, the Department of English at Utah State University (USU) redesigned its computer lab to increase mobility and collaboration during writing projects. Our study shows that despite the Professional and Technical Communication (PTC) field’s efforts to promote writing as a socially active, collaborative practice, many students view computer labs as spaces for conducting isolated, single-authored work. In this article, we discuss how a combination of movable furniture and mobile technology, including wireless access and laptops, can enhance student collaboration in group-based writing assignments. The lab included both desktop and laptop seating areas, so the authors created a modified worksite analysis designed to evaluate team collaboration in this new layout. These material changes in the lab allow students to configure the space according to their needs, offering them some measure of control over three crucial elements of successful collaboration: formality, presence, and confidentiality.
- article (pdf)