EFL Teacher’s Challenges in Utilizing Web-based Collaborative Writing Activities Using Google Docs Platform

Titin Purwaningtyas, Joko Nurkamto, Diah Kristina


This study focused on the EFL teacher’s challenges when experiencing a web-based collaborative writing environment using technology, namely Google Docs. The writing activity was difficult, especially when it came to individual assignments. Conducting collaborative work in writing using web 2.00 tool technology was considered the best option for training students in teamwork and collaboration. However, the teacher faced some problems that affected the students, and the learning process was ineffective. The participant in this qualitative research was an EFL teacher at an Indonesian vocational high school. The data was based on a semi-structured interview obtained through Zoom meetings. The interview revealed the instructor's viewpoints, including the drawbacks of utilizing Google Docs for web-based collaborative writing situations. The study showed that the instructor suffered for two reasons; students’ personal and technical problems. The students’ personal problems including students' lack of collaboration with their teammates and unpreparedness to learn. Meanwhile, technical errors involve unstable internet connectivity, incompatible devices, and error program. Therefore, the teacher prerequisite to be well-prepared input materials and technical skills training for students’ readiness to join online collaborative writing using technology. The number of challenges in this study might be valuable as a consideration for educators before preparing the students to work collaboratively to teach writing skills to minimize ineffective teaching and learning process.


Challenges; Collaborative Writing (CW); Google Docs; Teacher’s perceptions; Web-Based Technology; Writing Skill

Full Text:



Abrams, Z. I. (2019). Collaborative writing and text quality in Google Docs. Language Learning and Technology, 23(2), 22–42.

Al Shabibi, Y. (2018). Teacher ’ s Role in A Collaborative Writing Environment Using Wiki. University of Exeter.

Amalia, H., Abdullah, F., & Fatimah, A. S. (2021). Teaching writing to junior high school students: A focus on challenges and solutions. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(2), 794–810. https://doi.org/10.17263/jlls.904066

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology; in Qualittaive Research in Psychology. Uwe Bristol, 3(2), 77–101. http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11735

Brodahl, C., & Hansen, N. K. (2014). Education Students ’ Use of Collaborative Writing Tools in Collectively Reflective Essay Papers. 13, 91–120.

Creswell, J. W., & Cresswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications.

Dobao, A. F., & Blum, A. (2013). Collaborative writing in pairs and small groups: Learners’ attitudes and perceptions. System, 41(2), 365–378. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2013.02.002

Efriana, L. (2021). Problems of Online Learning during Covid-19 Pandemic in EFL Classroom and the Solution. JELITA: Journal of English Language Teaching and Literature, 2(1), 2721–1916.

Fen Yeh, S. (2021). Collaborative Writing on Google Docs: Taiwanese Students’ Participation, Behaviors, and Writing Trajectories with Real-work Online Tasks. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 12(3), 73. https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.3.p.73

Fernández Dobao, A. (2012). Collaborative writing tasks in the L2 classroom: Comparing group, pair, and individual work. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(1), 40–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2011.12.002

Irshad, M. (2021). Challenges Encountered During Synchronous Online Collaborative Writing via Google Docs. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 17(6), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijwltt.287554

Khalil, Z. M. (2018). EFL Students’ Perceptions towards Using Google Docs and Google Classroom as Online Collaborative Tools in Learning Grammar. Applied Linguistics Research Journal, 2(2), 33–48. https://doi.org/10.14744/alrj.2018.47955

Kim, J. (2020). Learning and Teaching Online During Covid-19: Experiences of Student Teachers in an Early Childhood Education Practicum. International Journal of Early Childhood, 52(2), 145–158. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-020-00272-6

Krishnan, J., Cusimano, A., Wang, D., & Yim, S. (2018). Writing Together: Online Synchronous Collaboration in Middle School. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 62(2), 163–173. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.871

Leeuwen, A. Van, & Janssen, J. (2019). A Systematic Review of Teacher Guidance During Collaborative Learning in Primary and Secondary Education Running head : TEACHER GUIDANCE OF COLLABORATIVE LEARNING A Systematic Review of Teacher Guidance During Collaborative Learning in Primary and Seconda. February. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.02.001

Storch, N. (2019). Collaborative writing. Language Teaching, 52(1), 40–59. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444818000320

Suwantarathip, O., & Wichadee, S. (2014). The effects of collaborative writing activity using Google docs on students’ writing abilities. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(2), 148–156.

Taghizadeh, M., & Basirat, M. (2019). EFL Instructors ’ Perceptions of Computer-Mediated Communication in Language Classes. December.

Vorobel, O., & Kim, D. (2017). Adolescent ELLs’ collaborative writing practices in face-to-face and online contexts: From perceptions to action. System, 65, 78–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2017.01.008

Widyastanti, M. (2019). Using Google Docs On Collaborative Writing Activity In SMPN 1 Driyorejo - Gresik. In Uin Sunan Ampel Surabaya.

Zheng, Y., Yu, S., & Lee, I. (2021). Implementing Collaborative Writing in Chinese EFL Classrooms: Voices From Tertiary Teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 12(June), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631561

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v10i3.4424


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding (IJMMU) ISSN 2364-5369
Copyright © 2014-2018 IJMMU. All rights reserved.