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This study tracks the ebb and flow of power, gift giving, and collaboration in a community of university writing teachers, illuminating the impact of peer-production technologies on power relations. CCCC/NCTE Studies in Writing & Rhetoric (SWR) series.


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In this age of peer production, new technologies allow students, teachers, and writing program administrators to talk to and write with one another and assess writing in transformative ways. Teaching and learning are changing, as learning transcends the classroom walls, facilitating new networks, connections, and collaborations.

This qualitative study traces efforts to use social software and peer-production tools to engage graduate students, adjuncts, and faculty at a large state university in a collaborative project to develop a shared common curriculum for first-year composition. The study also tracks the early development of My Reviewers, a Web application designed to improve teacher feedback and peer review, as well as assess writing and critical thinking.

The authors explore the impact that peer-production technologies have on power relations between students, teachers, and administrators, ultimately finding that peer production needs to include offline efforts that generate the ethos of a sharing community, and that the most technically inclined members of a community are not necessarily those with the most transformative ideas.

The ebb and flow of power, gift giving, and collaboration in this community of teachers reveals the importance of face-to-face interactions and shared values when introducing technological tools to further a shared vision. The results suggest that peer-production and social software assessment initiatives can facilitate both communal and individual agency in the context of a large university writing program.
CCCC/NCTE Studies in Writing & Rhetoric Series. 184 pp. 2012. College.
eStock No. 00905