The Tools We Used
Written by Brittany Cottrill Lloyd
Originally the Grand View New Media Collaborative met in an art computer lab with some of the only Macs on campus. The computers had an extensive catalog of design software, including Dreamweaver and Photoshop, and for the majority of students, these programs, in addition to the system itself, were new. Perhaps most surprising was the use of a software many take for granted: Google Docs.
The class had used Google Docs as a tool earlier in the semester and students saw the value. Because of that, they agreed it was the most effective tool for their collaborative writing, revision, and editing. But Google Docs went beyond just the somewhat traditional writing process. We also used it for group meta-discussions, such as naming our concerns for the project, what we hoped to learn from the project, and how the project was progressing.
The goal of the course was not to become an expert in any one program, but instead to gain experience with a variety of tools that writers are using and can use. Because of that, when it came time to design our review, we agreed to use a pre-made template. All members of the group found templates they felt would work and presented them to the class before we made the decision to use the final template. Even with a template, we had to decide on other design and navigation issues. These decisions like so many others were made through classroom discuss and work within collaborative Google Docs (and then further refined in the editorial production process).