Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The interactive spreadsheet: A great collaborative tool

So, I tell you that one tool won't make "the difference" and so what do I do? Talk up another tool!

In Google Drive, one of the document options you have is a spreadsheet. As with other spreadsheets, you can make rows and columns, and use it to keep track of various chronological events and numerical data. Yet, with this spreadsheet, you can invite a bunch of scholars to join together be accountable to each other.

The writing group I work with this summer here at UWT has been working interactively in an accountability spreadsheet. As I noted before, each day participants put in the word counts, and often make comments under that day in question.

Sounds simple enough, but I have been surprised at how useful, even powerful, it has been. The group seems to feed off of each other, with one scholar noting his excitement at being the first one to post on a certain day.

I think this tool has worked for several reasons. First, if forces scholars to be accountable to each other. No hiding when you have to post each day. Second, the idea of having to post a "0" often is enough to make someone do a bit of work. Third, having to post a "0" forces one to think about what is getting in their way. Through the use of comments, I engage the group when they are having successes, and challenges. I make sure to check in with people when they miss a few days, and give "shout outs" for successes. I work with them to help them remove their barriers, which are not coming up "in vivo."

Its been a real eye opener; I am thinking of using this interactive approach with clients who do not know each other. The practice and research implications are integrating.

10 comments:

  1. I like accountability sheets. I joined one such initiative some time ago, during AcWriMo (Academic Writing month): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=tVBu5ErmQ5lqly5KIFK-1sw#gid=9

    And I liked it so much that I created one for myself: I write how much time I have written, and add a little comment about the task. My goal is 100 mns per day and, so, I also track actual vs target writing time.

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  2. I'd love to join an accountability sheet!

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  3. Funny you both have written me today about this. Yesterday, I was writing about this in my journal as an expanded (and inexpensive??) way of providing coaching and working with folks a bit less intensively than I normally do. Does this sounds like something of interest? I am playing with this idea, so it would be great to get some feedback!

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    1. Rich, this is of great interest to me.

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    2. This is of great interest to me.

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    3. I will be putting some ideas together today, and will post on Tuesday.

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  4. I think it's very very interesting! You can count with me!

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  5. Do you have any views on initiatives like Shut Up and Write? I've been thinking about setting up one of these groups at word. Would love to hear your advice on how to make it work and pitfalls to avoid. Thanks.

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    1. The shut up and writing groups that I know are the ones connected to "meet ups"- are you talking about the same ones? If so, I think it is a great tool. They can help with social isolation, with creating the space and expectancy for writing. It is important to consider what your needs are, and build a "program" around those needs, be they technical or personal. :).

      I will write a post next week about Shut Up and Write, if I am following you correctly here :)

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