With workplaces and institutions of higher learning moving toward team-oriented approaches, efforts to build collaborative atmospheres has taken on increased importance. Learning how to work well with colleagues or classmates is effective practice for increasing collaborative abilities such as decision-making skills. One can also learn and work on personal strengths and weaknesses through collaborative exercises. Group members often learn from one another. A group paper is effective team-building exercise.
At first, the idea of developing a group paper may seem like light work because others will be contributing to the end document. However, for those who have worked in collaborative or team situations, the process may not be so easy. Members should begin the process by listing contact information and convenient contact times. For a successful outcome, ground rules must be set forth. Treating one another with respect is crucial in any collaborative situation. The group must list the individual responsibilities of each group member. Time tables must be set and clear. Each member must view and agree to the list. Each member should also list his or her strengths. One member may be good at editing or format, while another member may be good at holding members accountable for timely submissions. Once everyone has a job, the work should commence.
Group members can choose to email one another their portion of the document or work in a collaborative computer program such as Google Docs. In Google Docs, group members can contribute simultaneously to the same document. Microsoft Live, EtherPad, and Zoho are also alternatives.
Keeping the lines of communications open, honoring time tables, submitting quality work, respecting group members, and adhering agreed-upon responsibilities will help to make a collaborative document a success. Learning one's strengths and weaknesses and learning from one another are two of the perks of collaboration. Becoming an effective team member may ensure one a secure place in any team atmosphere.