Co-Authoring Exercise

Published on 12/19/2008 - Games and methodologies

Communities / Networks, Games, ICTs, Networking, Web 2.0

Contributors: Yuwei Lin, Enrico Zini

a) Concept, practise, tool in which it is inspired upon
A lot of creative work nowadays are done collectively, spontaneously and synchronously. The growth of Wikipedia shows that wiki can be used to create and share useful knowledge through co-authoring. However, how to collaborate, compromise different epistemologies is a challenge. This game is designed to instruct participants to find their common interests and common ground in making a story.

b) Goals
• identifying common interests and common ground
• learn to put different understandings down into one story: collective story-writing
• learn how to choose which group to work with
• learn how to keep participants interested in working with the group
• promoting diversity and pluralism: This game will promote a greater understanding of why diversity is vital in the current organisational context by working together to create a good piece of story, noting how equality and diversity principles can be applied to creative collaborative work.

c) Operating instructions

1. Participants will be grouped and each group consists of more than 4 people.
2. Each participant is assigned a piece of paper with different elements (backgrounds, genre – romance, whodunit detective, sci-fi, political, historical, fantasy, fairy-tale, protagonists, historical episodes). They will share their information/knowledge, find interested partners, and altogether make a story out of them.
3. Participants are encouraged to move to different groups if they are not happy with the one they are in. They can go around to find people, share their interests, similar topics and form a different group or join a different group.
4. Time: 20 minutes.
5. Participants will reconvene to share their stories, and share their experience of collaborating: how do they find partners, how do they work out what to write and how to put down all elements, and how do they negotiate where to put down what element.

Possible questions for the aftermath:
• Did you change group? why? what was you did not like in the previous group? What did you like in the new group? What were you looking for?
• What did you do to keep people more involved in the group?
• What would you have liked people to do to keep you in the group?
• What do you think can be, in general, the things that make a group interesting to work with?
• What would you do if you were the coordinator of a group to encourage participation?
• Was the group work better at the beginning, or after people moved around?

d) Pros
- Learn to do writing collectively and creatively.
- Learn to find a good group to work with, to maximise the pleasure of working.
- Experiment what it is that keeps a group working together online, what could be good management and bad management.
- Learn to embrace diversity and plurality.

e) Risks / Things to improve
Good facilitators/instructors are needed in order to make sure the activity goes well and systematically.
It could be difficult, logistically, to provide a setting where groups are free to discuss (because of noise) and are reachable enough to allow people to move among them and see what they are doing. 
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