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Generating an Online Collaborative Ethnography Option for the First Year Writing Program
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Generating an Online Collaborative Ethnography Option for the First Year Writing Program

Fellows:  Brianne Bolin and Jill Summers

Field Workers Commons

Project Summary: 

The overarching goal was to construct online resources for First Year Writing instructors that encourage shared authorship between students and their communities, both at Columbia and around the Chicagoland area.


At the outset of the course, we intended to assist students in harnessing the web for creative rather than consumptive purposes, abetting their transformation from consumers to producers of electronic content. We were pleased to see the remarkable shift in this area from Week 1 to Week 15.

Another important measure of our success within the course was charting whether or not students began using the possibilities of the web for collaboration. The results of the survey varied across the board, but classroom experience told the story of an exponential increase in collaborating with others to produce texts.

While two courses saw a decline in the number of students performing daily online research, three classes saw an increase. From classroom experience, we were pleased to see students performing more searches on the library database than Google at the end of the semester, so we feel that students had successfully implemented this habit into their studies.

Read the full assessment paper. 


Going Forward: 

Long term expectations for this initiative are ambitious. We hope that the initiative will provide a fresh option for First Year Writing faculty that partners them and their students with other constituencies, both internal and external to the college. We will continue our work into the future, and hopefully mobilize communities and instructors to participate in our experiment.