How People Write Together Now: Beginning the Investigation with Advanced Undergraduates in a Project Course
This paper presents the user-centred iterative design of software that supports collaborative writing. The design grew out of a study of how people write together that included a survey of writers and a laboratory study of writing teams linked by a variety of communications media. The resulting taxonomy of collaborative writing is summarized in the paper, followed by a list of design requirements for collaborative writing software suggested by the work. The paper describes two designs of the software. The first prototype supports synchronous writing and editing from workstations linked over local area and wide area networks. The second prototype also supports brainstorming, outlining, and document review, as well as asynchronous work. Lessons learned from the user testing and actual usage of the two systems are also presented.
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