Scripting as a pedagogical method to guide collaborative writing: university students’ reflections

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Kirsi Heinonen
Nore De Grez
Raija Hämäläinen
Bram De Wever
Sophie van der Meijs


A collaboration script is a set of instructions used to improve collaborative learning among students in technology-enhanced environments. Previously, university students’ perspective has been under-represented in the study on collaboration scripts. In this article, we focus on understanding students’ experiences in a scripted collaborative writing task, especially from the perspective of following the script. The study was conducted among undergraduate students (N= 91) taking a master-level educational science course at one university each in Finland and Belgium. Divided into 25 groups, each with three to five members, the students worked on collaborative writing tasks. During their shared writing process within these groups, all students were introduced to a four-phase simultaneous sequential integrating construction script (SSCIS). Then, data from the students’ reflection notes on the collaborative writing process were analysed. The thematic analysis revealed that over half of the students highlighted how the introduced script provided them with appropriate support for the writing process; therefore, they used a script-based collaborative writing approach (52%). However, almost as many students (48%) viewed the script as inadequate or even impeding their accomplishment of the mutual writing task; therefore, they chose to deviate from it. In this group of students decided not to follow script-based writing engaged in the collective writing approach (32%), characterised as free form compared to sequential script-based writing. Other students opted for the separate writing approach (16%), leading them to divide the writing assignment into single parts among the group members and to compose the text without authentic collaboration. By focusing on students’ individual reflections, the findings of our study suggest that to enhance script-based learning processes, it is essential to provide guidance for the implementation of the script, additional content-related support or tailored choices.


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Heinonen, K., Grez, N. D., Hämäläinen, R., Wever, B. D., & Meijs, S. van der. (2020). Scripting as a pedagogical method to guide collaborative writing: university students’ reflections. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 15. Retrieved from