Lisa Davidson McGrady

Writing together with technology: Technological literacy and collaboration in professional writing student teams

Lisa Davidson McGrady

  • School: Purdue University
  • Degree: PhD
  • Date: 2007 pp: 283
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 68/10, Apr 2008
  • Keywords:: Writing, Technological literacy, Collaboration, Professional writing, Student teams, Computers and composition, Methodology
  • Subjects: Language arts, Rhetoric, Composition, Business education, Educational software
  • ProQuest Document Number: 1417799261
  • UMI Number: AAT 3287228
  • ISBN: 9780549302995

Abstract:

    This dissertation explores the relationships between technological literacy and collaboration, particularly as they interact in collaborative teams in business writing courses. Specifically, it presents qualitative case studies of two co-authoring teams in business writing classes which met in a computer lab. The teams co-authored a report cycle, researching for a real-world client with a question about the Internet. For their projects, technology was both tool and topic. Chapter One presents a problem statement and a literature review, including summaries of early discussions of collaboration and pedagogy in Composition Studies, studies of collaboration within Professional Writing, and definitions of technological literacy. Chapter Two presents my methodology: qualitative case studies using a postcritical, feminist, Christian approach. It details my methodological goals and their roots in my readings of postcritical and feminist theories and in my Biblical worldview. Chapter Three profiles the technological literacy of each of the eight participants, examining in five areas: history, functional literacy, habits and perceived skills, attitudes and values, and changes in technological literacy. Chapter Four details each team’s collaborative process, interrogating technological literacies in action and complicated by the additional factor of collaboration. Throughout Chapter Four, I weave a number of threads, such as mode of collaboration, effects of physical space, relevant “disconnects,” and influence of gender. Chapter Five discusses the findings detailed in the two previous chapters. Relevant findings include: the differences in technological literacy among participants in/from technology-rich environments; the lack of critical technological literacy among the participants and that lack’s influence on the teams’ processes and products; the clash of document management strategies and that clash’s influence on one team’s meeting, writing and revising processes, and relationships; the lack of peer-to-peer teaching on a mixed-gendered team and limited peer-to-peer teaching on an all-female team; the ways in which physical space both enabled and hampered collaboration and the steps certain participants took to overcome the limitations of the physical space; the influence of gender in collaboration. It presents implications for pedagogy and research, including a call to broaden the way we examine technological literacy.