Constructive distributed work

The Crow team is building digital tools to aid the study and teaching of writing. Because we serve diverse constituencies, we are building an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional community of researchers, developers, and teachers who actively contribute to our project. We call our approach to collaboration constructive distributed work, recognizing both the potential and shortcomings of building academic research teams that perform the unique coordination required to build effective digital tools. 

The basics

What is constructive distributed work? Three resources to help:


  • Using “The Matrix” to shape distributed research teams
    • For Crow, individual professional growth always comes first. We use this tool to understand our team’s capacity for work and ensure that everyone is effectively balancing work for Crow with other professional interests.
  • Banat, McMullin, & Dilger, ”Student Professionalization through Grant Writing from SIGDOC 2020
    • For SIGDOC 2020, we authored this experience report describing our approach to using grant writing to help Crow student researchers across our team gain project management and technical communication experience. A video summary and open access PDF are available.
  • Collaborating online: Lessons from a successful team
    • For the March 2021 Women’s Hackathon at the University of Arizona, we created a presentation designed to help online teams work more effectively by describing three principles and demonstrating ways to adapt them to distributed teams.


Got a question? Want to implement CDW in your organization? We’d love to hear from you. Write to