Writer's Bloc: An Online, Real-Time Communal Writing Platform for Enhancing Writing Pedagogies

Title Writer's Bloc: An Online, Real-Time Communal Writing Platform for Enhancing Writing Pedagogies
Faculty/College/Unit Arts
Status Active
Duration 2 Year
Initiation 04/01/2014
Funding Details
Year 1: Project Year Year 1
Year 1: Funding Year 2014/2015
Year 1: Project Type Large TLEF
Year 1: Principal Investigator Fred Cutler
Year 1: Funded Amount 9,507
Year 1: Team Members

Dustin Grue, Graduate Student, English, Faculty of Arts
Janet Giltrow, Associate Dean – Students / Professor, English, Faculty of Arts

Year 1: Summary

Writer’s Bloc, an online communal writing platform for enhancing writing-based pedagogies in the physical and digital classrooms, already exists in a ‘bare-bones’ prototype version. This project will focus on refining Writer’s Bloc into a fully featured version, hosted by UBC IT Services. This online tool, based on a web framework and using methodologies from natural language processing, will be a platform for students to write responses and to enable immediate feedback or discussion of this writing. Writer’s Bloc will have different views for instructors and students.

Year 2: Project Year Year 2
Year 2: Funding Year 2015/2016
Year 2: Project Type Large TLEF
Year 2: Principal Investigator Fred Cutler
year-2 funded-amount 24,942
Year 2: Team Members

Dustin Grue, PhD Candidate, English, Faculty of Arts
Janet Giltrow, Senior Associate Dean / Professor, English, Faculty of Arts

Year 2: Summary

This project will develop Writer’s Bloc, an online communal writing platform for enhancing writing-based pedagogies in the physical and digital classroom. Analogous to the ‘clicker’ now common to science education, this online tool will be a platform for students to write responses and to enable immediate feedback or discussion of this writing.

Writer’s Bloc is designed as an interactive web application with ‘views’ for different users: for instructors, and for students. Upon signing in, students are presented with an instructor-provided ‘prompt’ and a large input field. As students write, the web application analyzes and presents – in real-time – commonalities in the group’s response to each individual writer. This will show to students shared modes of thought between writers as they write. The instructor can view the responses individually or as a whole, represented through several linguistic representations, therefore enabling immediate feedback to students on commonalities and variation of responses.