Managing an Online Writing Group
July 21, 2012 7:32 PM   Subscribe

A few other graduate students and myself are part of an online writing group hosted on Basecamp. How can I keep the conversation going online?

I started an online writing group for other grad students working on their dissertations. We have the cheapest membership possible, so have 3G of space, and a cap of 20 members. Right now, we have 6 members. Our goal is for each of us to hit a dissertation milestone (either defend or turn in revisions) by this time next year. Right now, 4 of our members are fairly active (myself, my best grad school friend, a woman who's technically done but needs to do revisions, and another woman who is going to age out of her progam). The other two members don't ever reply to any messages or do weekly check-ins.

Ideally, I'd like for this to be a supportive group that provides some feedback, encouragement, and a structure that promotes accountability. However, I am a little worried that because there aren't a series of questions or whatever every week, my fellow group members "forget" to check in. I know I do! And for me, that sometimes means I forget to make the goals I said last check in a priority, so I get behind. This is much less of an issue when there's a discussion going on -- I'm thinking about my work, their work, writing like mad, etc.

One question that got everyone really excited was about what each section of the dissertation was supposed to do -- what an intro's for, what the first chapter does, etc. I'd like to think of more questions like that, (about writing in general, and academic writing specifically, and the toolkits of social justice writing and research) so that I can include them as posts to my group and encourage conversation.

Could you guys help me think of questions to ask? Ideally, these questions would help us start thinking of issues or concerns we might face as we progress in our careers in the academy and nonprofit sector, or would help us think critically about the nuts and bolts of academic writing as a career choice. It's okay if there are SHORT readings/links involved -- we are able to circulate PDFs or links or whatever using Basecamp.
posted by spunweb to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You'll find (and be able to develop) the kinds of questions you're asking about from this short book.
posted by 5Q7 at 7:57 PM on July 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for the recommendation!
posted by spunweb at 10:37 PM on July 23, 2012

Response by poster: I just got the book in the mail. It's AWESOME.
posted by spunweb at 4:14 PM on August 21, 2012

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