Writing collaboration

a ‘work in progress’

3b. publishing student work…

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The final 1/3rd of my PhD included student feedback on a journal-based module, and was published as a paper in the Journal of geography in higher education. After moving to Birmingham in 1999, I set up a final year module called ‘Geographies of material culture’. Run using the principles of critical pedagogy – e.g. treating students as active, knowing subjects – it was assessed through accounts following everyday things to the places of production, and asking students to think about their relations with, and effects on, the lives of unseen producers around the world. A lot can be learned about these relations through skilled internet research, and much of the work handed in was fantastic, original, challenging: much more so that a lot of work written by established academics. But, I was the only one that got to read them, which seemed such a waste. So, I asked some if I could cut, paste and edit some of their journal writing into papers that gave students full and equal co-author credits, and invited ideas about their relationships to the other sections that I was writing.

Above are the opening sections of a 2007 journal paper about the module, written by myself, a postgrad TA (James Evans), and 3 students (Helen Griffiths, Rebecca Morris & Sarah Wrathmell = Cook et al 2007). Each section was clearly someone’s writing. This was the first paper coauthored from this module. Others – for journals aimed at school geography teachers & their students – followed (see also Cook et al 2006, 2007). Drawing on ideas of educational theorist Celestin Freinet (see Evans et al 2007), we are now starting to ask students to think about outside audiences when writing, and about academic writing as something you do for more than marks.

Written by Ian Cook et al

September 2, 2008 at 10:08 am

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