2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 186-10
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM


MACLACHLAN, John C., School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada and LEE, Rebecca E, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S4K1, Canada, maclacjc@mcmaster.ca

Traditionally, undergraduate research rarely includes the dissemination of results beyond the classroom. The encouragement of dissemination to an international audience will create an experience that promotes self-authorship and challenges students to evaluate their knowledge claims and take ownership of their ideas. This paper will discuss the development, implementation and successful results of a Collaborative Writing Group creating within the senior undergraduate class ‘Glacial Sediments and Environments’ offered at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (Maclachlan and Lee, 2015).

The eight-week process began with students creating their own groups and choosing a topic of interest with few constraints on topic choice. Groups formed quickly, with the diversity of interests and expertise among the students ranging from geomatics through to ecology. This diversity made selecting a topic of interest that all group members could agree on difficult, requiring negotiation and long discussion. Throughout the process, course time was put aside for both formal and informal discussions. Two weeks before the final paper submission the group turned in a draft for both peer and instructor review. In this process each group submitted a draft paper to be reviewed by the course instructor, the course teaching assistant, and at least two colleagues. The authors were encouraged to include key questions in their drafts to direct the reviewers’ responses. The final week of this process involved groups revising their papers, responding to review comments, and, when necessary, meeting with the course instructor.

The class produced eight papers consisting of original research of which six were accepted for publication in a special edition of the journal Cartographica(Volume 50; Issue 3, 2015) titled ‘Student Papers: Glaciers, Geomorphology, and Sedimentology.’ The six accepted papers have a total of 30 contributing authors and represent approximately 80% of the class. The papers topics range from the modelling of glacier melt in Iceland to an exploration of the spatial characteristics of dunes in southern Ontario.

Maclachlan, J.C. & Lee, R.E. 2015. Student Collaborative Writing Groups: Mapping Glacial Geomorphology and Glacial Sedimentology. Cartographica, 50(3), pp. 163-164