Preparing Writers for Virtual Environments

Preparing Writers for Virtual Environments

Pavel Zemliansky (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-994-6.ch018


This chapter offers practical strategies for instructors, trainers, and managers to use while preparing writers for virtual collaboration. It first considers various existing barriers to successful virtual collaboration, both in the writers’ individual preparation and in organizational structures within which they work. Next, the chapter offers a set of specific guidelines designed to prepare writers for virtual writing collaboration and to facilitate their work. In order to prepare writers for virtual collaboration, instructors and trainers must develop trust among members of virtual teams, carefully structure writing assignments, and design learning spaces that promote collaboration and interaction.
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Barriers To Effective Collaboration

Readers need to be aware of barriers to effective collaboration before beginning the design and implementation of their virtual collaboration training programs. For a more extensive discussion of barriers to virtual collaboration, see Chapter 7.

Preparing writers for virtual writing collaboration begins with preparing them for writing collaboration in general. While there are strategies and techniques specific to virtual collaboration, the foundational competencies required of collaborating writers, whether face to face or virtually, overlap significantly. Removing ideological, organizational, and disciplinary barriers to collaboration is essential for training effective writing collaborators.

These barriers fall into three general categories:

  • Writers' resistance to ceding control of the text they perceive as “their own” to others;

  • Organizational failure to recognize collaboratively produced works as valid and to reward collaborating writers; and

  • Dominance in the workplace of software tools that make collaboration difficult, as well as writers’ unfamiliarity with the collaboration and productivity tools and methods available to them.

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