Wednesday, 22 June 2005
11.30-12.05 Parallel Presentations
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Canada
Arranged Marriage: the Writing Center and the Learning Commons
Like many other North American universities, mine has recently decided to establish a “learning commons,” defined by a senior administrator as “an integrated learning environment where use of information technology is enhanced through formal and informal instruction programs and reference assistance. The underlying goal is to foster information literacy in the broadest sense.”
One component of that breadth will be the Writing Centre, which is being transplanted from our charming, freestanding house-on-campus to apportioned space on the main floor of the university library. Our tutors are not pleased: they have organized a letter-writing campaign to resist the move (scheduled for September of 2005). They argue, collectively, that “our mission has consistently been a longer-term approach to strengthening the writing process, which is necessarily personal and complex. It is a collaborative, creative process that fits only peripherally with a Learning Commons concept of ‘one-stop shopping.’”
Will our tutors’ emphasis on the recursiveness of the writing process be undermined by the Learning Commons’s linear agenda of information literacy? Will the Writing Centre’s atmosphere of trust—enhanced by our house-on-campus—be lost within the sleek confines of a modern library facility? Answering these questions is the goal of the proposed presentation, which will comprise three parts:
- a description of this emblematic tussle between a writing centre and its university’s senior administration;
- appeal to scholars of writing (Belanoff, Flower and Hayes, Gage) who articulate the difference between “knowledge” and “information”;
- involvement of the audience in pursuing the “right” answers to the questions stated above.
Writing Center, University of Education, Germany
Writing Centers at Work: Making the Changing Role of Writing in Higher Education Sustainable and Affordable
In this presentation, I want to introduce and discuss different measures of raising extra funding for the writing center while serving specific educational goals with those fundraising measures. Based on the experience I made while establishing the Freiburg writing center between 2001 and 2004, I shall analyze the potential of these measures for institutional change: How can the involvement of different interest groups on campus help not only to change the role of writing in higher education but also make this change sustainable and affordable? How can a strong theory-practice-learning framework of my fundraising ideas advance writing center work in general and project-based work in the college in specific? The accomplishments in targeting diverse goals and audiences not only within the university but also outside of academia will have to be made transparent continuously to the home administration in order to establish mutual understanding, trust, and support.
English Department, School of Arts, Design, and Technology, University of Derby, UK
Establishing Academic Writing Support within a Degree Programme
This presentation describes the setting up of a new writing provision programme in the English Department at the University of Derby, England, that has been shaped by national contexts, institutional priorities, and the intellectual interests of subject staff.
A regional university in an increasingly competitive higher education sector, Derby must actively recruit students; as a result, students frequently come from populations traditionally excluded from higher education. Such students are unevenly prepared for the demands of Academic Writing and would clearly benefit from a comprehensive programme of writing tuition. Given the university’s financial position, however, funds for institution-wide writing support are unlikely. This illustrates a paradox: in a competitive system, students who most need support are likely to be enrolled in institutions least likely to afford it.
As an alternative strategy, the English department bid for institutional funds for student retention and e-learning in order to develop a required writing module pathway and to offer one-to-one writing tuition for English degree students. Because the writing initiative has developed ‘in-house’, the English department has had some freedom to tailor provision to students’ needs; however, it has also had to meet the retention and e-learning outcomes tied to the funding. While these institutional priorities have influenced the shape of the programme, negotiating them has led to a distinctive and effective organisational model for teaching writing in a discipline.
Ruhmann , Gabriela
Schreibzentrum der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Running a Quality Writing Center with a Very Law Budget
In Germany, the few university writing centres that are maintained at all have a ridiculous poor budget. The writing centre of the university of Bochum is especially challenged in this respect: It has just one regular employment and it is expected to fundraise all other employments and costs by own efforts. How is it be possible to run a quality writing centre under these severe conditions?
This presentation explores how the Bochum writing centre copes with the hard facts of an impoverished mass university. It starts with carving out some basic principles of a quality writing centre. Then it outlines how the centre realizes writing support by sticking to these principles. In particular it sketches spirit and form of the centre’s
- support for students,
- support for university teachers,
- programme of teaching and employing writing trainers,
- movements towards a university wide writing programme.
Finally, it shows the centre’s fundraising strategies to keep the whole lot running.
Conclusion: Compulsion to extreme economical writing support has a pleasant side effect. It fosters minimal art in academic writing pedagogy. Students are educated to a maximum independency. Teachers get a chance to integrate minimal writing support in their overloaded working days.
Zuckermann, Gertrude ( Trudy)
English Department, Achva Academic College of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
'Messy' Academic Writing: Reflection on Reflective Journals in Teacher Education
The importance of critical reflection in teacher development is recognized today by teacher educators and researchers alike. One way of encouraging reflection is the requirement of writing reflective journals following observation and student teaching practice. What kind of writing is expected in these journals? How does it differ from other kinds of academic writing students are expected to do during their teacher training? What difficulties do students encounter in moving from one kind of academic writing to another?
It has been recognized that teachers' actions in classrooms are both rational and irrational (Christopher Day, 1999), and that making sense of experience is a complex business that is both cognitively and emotionally demanding. Moreover the writing of students from different cultural backgrounds who may be writing in a language that is not their mother tongue may not fit into the easy models and conventions of academic writing we have come to expect in Western society (Kalekin-Fishman, 2005).
This paper will examine the practices of pedagogical instructors in English departments in teachers' colleges in Israel in assigning and assessing pedagogical journals. It will explore the challenges involved in teaching reflection and academic writing at the same time and will suggest some practical ways of doing this.
Balčiūnaitienė, Asta - Vitautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Voronova, Larisa - Vitautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Cigankova, Natalie - University of Latvia, Latvia
EAP Learners' Perpective on On-line Presentation of Academic Texts
This study aims at investigating EAP learners' views on electronic presentation of academic texts. A survey of the literature indicates a rise of interest in the research into academic discourse (Swales, 2004, Hyland, 2000) and the influence of electronic environment on academic writing and its pedagogical implications (Broady, 2000; Herring, 2001; Warschauer, 2002 ) . This paper will present the results obtained in large-scale cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary research into EAP learners' perspective on academic discourse and pragmatic effectiveness of the structure of electronic academic texts, conducted in Vitautas Magnus University in Lithuania and in the University of Latvia. The authors will present the evidence that organisation of many academic texts published on the Internet does not satisfy EAP learners' needs and expectations, which may support the view that in the modern inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary European research settings, to suit the needs of the participants of disciplinary discourses, academic texts should change for the benefit of the readers rather than make the readers conform to the standards for paper-format academic texts applied to electronic texts (Bolter, 1991; Zamel, 1993).
Bankava, Rota - Vincela, Zigrida
English Department , Faculty of Modern Languages, The University of Latvia , Latvia
Innovative Mode of Teaching Writing at a Tertiary Level
Computer assisted language learning (CALL) has proved to be a facilitating instrument in a language teaching/learning process where the learners’ electronic literacy is indispensable. Therefore it is important to seek the most effective ways for the students to upgrade their ICT skills for language studies.
The new instructional paradigm has been successfully introduced in the course of Academic Writing at the Faculty of Modern Languages, the University of Latvia. It enabled the students majoring in English philology to acquire a good knowledge of computers and academic writing skills of the target language via the blended face-to-face and online instruction by using the WebCT tools. Consequently, the aim of the paper is to present and share the experience of this approach in developing academic writing skills.
The new way of blending online and offline studies could be inherent and perpetuated in the curriculum. However, the integration process requires a very careful, step-by-step correlation of curriculum goals, students tailored needs supported by technology and technical resources at the institution. Optimisation of the online and offline modes of learning can be reached via the analysis of the results which will be dealt with in the present report.
Carter , Michael
Department of English, North Carolina State University , USA
LabWrite: Using Technology to Teach the Laboratory Report
Many scholars in writing to learn science have noted the connection between writing and learning. One of the most important kinds of academic writing in engineering and science is the laboratory report. Lab reports play a critical role in achieving the two primary learning goals of a laboratory experience, learning the science of the lab and learning how to reason scientifically. Lab reports encourage learning by providing students the opportunity to reflect on what they have done in the lab and by shaping the laboratory experience through the format of the report itself. The problem for teachers of academic writing is how to help science and engineering students take full advantage of the learning opportunities provided by the lab report. This presentation offers one solution to this problem that joins technology and learning: LabWrite, an Internet site that provides free, just-in-time instructional materials to help students learn science by writing better lab reports ( http://labwrite.ncsu.edu ). The presentation will describe the features of the website and report the results of a control-group study that shows that students using LabWrite were significantly more effective in learning the science of the labs and how to apply scientific reasoning than students using the typical instruction.
Margolin, Bruria - Ram, Drorit - Tene, Abrasha
Levisnky College of Education, Israel
Student's Self Perceptions of Writing
This paper is based on a larger study that focuses on the use of technology tools in the process of peer-conferencing for promoting academic literacy skills among college students. Our theoretical model is based on two main theoretical concepts in learning and instruction. One is learning through experience as suggested by Dewey (in Hickman & Alexander, 1999), and the other is learning in a social environment (Vygotsky, 1978; Jaramillo, 1996) where peer conferencing serves as scaffolding in the process of drafting, revising and editing (Short & Harste, 1996).
Data was collected from three sources: the Forum, where drafts and peer-responses are accessible, a feed-back sheet that students fill out, and personal interviews with students. A qualitative analysis of the data revealed that students internalized the technology tool of peer-response and found it beneficial in the following aspects: practicality, accessibility and sociability. By practicality we mean that students perceived the tool as useful for drafting. By accessibility we mean that students perceived the tool as catering to their individual needs when they needed scaffolding. By sociability we mean that the social environment encouraged shared responsibility over the drafting process. Working in pairs or in a group, rather than individually, was perceived as motivating students to keep up the pace of drafting, revising and responding to peers in order to assist them.
12.15-12.50 Parallel Presentations
Crosby , Cathryn - Bloch, Joel
ESL Programs, The Ohio State University, USA
Weblogs and Academic Writing Development: One Student's Conceptualization of Plagiarism
This paper will examine the strategies for integrating blogs into an academic writing class. Blogs have become one of the hottest uses of the Internet because of their relative ease with which they can be used to publish ideas, opinions, personal experiences, or responses on line. Lowe and Williams (2004) argue that "weblogs can facilitate a collaborative, social process of meaning making." However, according to Herring et al. (2004), little empirical research has been done with blogs in the writing classroom. Our paper discusses how blogs can be used to help students develop their ideas for their papers and as a source of texts that students can use both to respond to and to support their own claims. We have found that blogs can be successfully used for helping students develop a variety of facets of their academic writing skills. This paper focuses on how an Ethiopian immigrant used blogging in the development of her academic writing. In a beginning level ESL academic writing course focusing on issues surrounding the controversy over plagiarism, the student used blogs to post her ideas about plagiarism, comment on classmates’ blogs, and to use as source texts in their written assignments.
Eik-Nes, Nancy Lea
Department of Language and Communication Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Using Email Logbooks to Facilitate Students' Scientific Writing and Identity
Students taking the course “Scientific Writing” at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are all working on a doctoral project in an area of engineering. Our experience from this writing course reinforces the idea that the true value of computerized education is realized when students themselves are clearly the actors.
This scientific writing course provides instruction in various scientific genres (research article, abstract, review article) but also emphasizes students’ reflective writing, e.g. through “e-mail logbooks”. An e-mail logbook is a journal or a commentary a student writes each week and submits as an e-mail text.
This paper presents a comparative study of 75 students who studied scientific writing; the study includes e-mail logbooks, academic texts and interviews. The study demonstrates that the students use e-mail logbooks to reflect upon their language, their writing, their motivations, their projects and, especially, upon their own positions in their scientific discourse communities.
Students develop as writers while they also develop their identities as research engineers. I argue that these two developments necessarily go hand in hand. This paper includes the theoretical basis (from e.g. Wenger and Lvanic) that provides perspectives on students’ development as well as students’ own texts that document that development.
English Studies Department, Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Latvia
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Track Changes in Peer Revision
The latest information technologies provide several opportunities in differentiating the process of learning. Developing computer literacy is one of the topical issues in teaching Academic Writing especially to those students who are future teachers and/or translators. This paper is a continuation of research on different aspects of developing peer collaboration skills at the tertiary level. The current research focuses on the investigation of the benefits and drawbacks of providing feedback by using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes from the teachers’ of Academic Writing and the bachelor students’ perspective. It discusses not only the problems students could face when taking the first steps in the process of peer editing either on paper or on computer, but it also attempts to uncover possible reasons and solutions in dealing with these problems. In conclusion the paper suggests a few themes for future research in developing electronic literacy at University.
Foster, Ed - Liggett, Ann - McNeil, Jane
CASQ , Nottingham Trent University, UK
The Writing Menagerie: A Diagnostic Electronic Writing Resource for Students
An Interdisciplinary team at NTU developed an electronic diagnostic resource to help students develop the skills necessary for writing in an appropriately academic style. The Writing Menagerie is a series of computer-mediated, objective diagnostic assessments designed to be used by students across all disciplines. It provides immediate developmental feedback to students and provides staff with objective data about potential problem areas.
Tests currently include Grammar Beagle, Referencing Weasel and Plagiarism Badger.
The first diagnostic assessment, the Grammar Beagle, was developed as a pilot, deriving important lessons from previous diagnostic skills tests in HE. Our research established that a number of e-learning tools existed of high quality but were unsuited to higher education students.
The pilot successfully raised students’ awareness of their grammatical capability. The development of the test has also enabled significant progress to be made in clarifying expectations and demystifying the standards expected of student writing within the confines of surface syntax issues. Other important findings included implications for the practicalities of skills assessment, the relationship of knowledge and application and some intriguing findings on the skills of the cohorts tested.
This session will share the process of development, lessons learnt and the findings from the resource in action.
Gavriel, Ann Sonya
Centre or English Language, University of East Anglia, UK
EAP by Email: a Tutorial Method for Academic Writing
EAP by email was first piloted in 1998 out of a need to provide a time- & cost-effective 1:1 academic writing clinic for international students. Since then it has developed into a structured but flexible method for the improvement of academic writing drafts, applying techniques of root error identification, reformulation and genre modelling. The standardised procedure makes use of a version of the MS Word Revisions tool.
Before the revision cycle begins, students receive tutor input on the macro- and micro-organisational structures of English for academic purposes in British higher education. This background teaching is delivered in classes and through handouts and worksheets. Students who do not sign up for classes are not eligible for the 1:1 email tutoring. A typical text exchange cycle works in this way. The student text, as email attachment, is received by the tutor. It is marked up and returned to the student, together with a pro forma Learning Log. At this stage a form of contract exists between the two parties, the mainstay of which is an undertaking from the tutor to return the first draft within two days, on condition that the student then completes and returns the pro forma together with the revised draft within two days after that. If this condition is not met, no further drafts from that student will be accepted by the tutor. The student then works on the draft guided by the tutor's revisions and comments, discovering rules, applying them, following conventions and strengthening structure, while evaluating his/her learning by completing the Log. This process of self-monitoring is central to the learning consolidation and academic writing improvement process.
The method is adaptable for remote, side-by-side, or workshop-based EAP teacher training.
Applied Linguistics Research Group, Department of Linguistic, Cultural & Translation Studies, University of Surrey, UK
Responding to Challenges of the E-learning Environment: A Story of Conversion
It is generally recognised that ‘we learn to write if we are members of a literate society, and usually only if someone teaches us’ ( Brown, H.D. 2001:334). Interaction is ‘the collaborative exchange of thoughts, feelings, or ideas between two or more people, resulting in a reciprocal effect on each other’ ( Brown, H.D. 2001:165).
This paper argues that the e-learning environment encourages as well as facilitates peer collaboration, and teacher intervention, two conditions considered necessary for improving writing. However, we need to examine how we can reconcile the experiences that we have of teaching writing in the traditional face-to-face situation with the increasing opportunities that the virtual classroom offers us. We need to consider how our good and effective practices can be introduced and adapted for the new learning environment.
The focus of this paper is on the conversion of a paper-based study skills course that was originally written for distance learning delivery. It discusses the principles of e-learning and the nature of e-learning tasks on which the adaptation was based.
Goodfellow , Robin
Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK
Academic Literacies and eLearning: Integrating Writing Support into Online Learning
This presentation reports on work with distance students on an online Masters in Education programme. It describes the design, implementation and evaluation of an online writing support resource to help students engage with the online written communication practices which characterise teaching and learning on this programme. The approach draws on theoretical work in the field of academic literacies (eg: Jones et al 1999, Lea & Street 1998) and on previous research into electronic communication amongst culturally diverse distance learners (eg: Goodfellow & Lea forthcoming, Goodfellow 2004). The paper will present the findings of a study which looks at student use of the writing support resource over a 6-month period, and at their perceptions of its relation to the learning outcomes of the courses themselves.
Kourbani, Vassiliki - Tolias, Dimitris
The Writing Center, Hellenic American Union & Hellenic American University, Greece
Effectiveness, Collaboration, and Personalization in a Technologically Enhanced Environment: The Case of the Writing Center at the Hellenic American Union and the Hellenic American University
The newly established Writing Center at the Hellenic American Union and the Hellenic American University is a breakthroughin what conventional Writing Centers entail in terms of both target audience and nature. It aims to address the needs of both the Hellenic American Union and the Hellenic American University students along with the general public for the improvement of academic, professional and writing skills in English and in Modern Greek.
The paper presents the Writing Center’s aims and it reports on howto improve writing skills with the application of innovative design, hi-tech software and continuous updated database of learning material available on-site and on-line.
This paper also discusses how technology can facilitate and productively extend the collaboration process in face-to-face settings as well prepare students for collaboration in the workplace. Based on the principle of Collaborative Design, the Writing Center area patented furniture, and equipment has been set up to allow for students’ synchronous and asynchronous on line cooperation in pairs or groups, re-orienting the traditional one-on-one tutoring.
14.10-14.45 Parallel Presentations
Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Australia
Giving Electronic Feedback on Idiosyncratic Language Problems in L2 Writing
In English-speaking academic contexts, non-native speaking students are usually able to apply grammatical rules in their writing with some ease, but they are often still far from having ‘natural-sounding’ English. Some of the errors that ESL tutors may locate are rule-governed and easily explained, e.g. verb-subject agreement errors. Frequently, however, language problems are more idiosyncratic; strange collocations or awkward syntax cannot be explained with reference to a rule. Most research on written teacher feedback has dealt with the rule-governed aspects of learner language, probably because it is easier to monitor for accuracy, whereas language problems that cannot easily be explained tend to be sidelined. This research aims to explore how ESL writers deal with electronically-delivered written feedback which focuses on aspects of vocabulary and syntax that do not break any particular grammatical rule, but simply don’t ‘sound right’ to the competent speaker. In addition, the complex interpretative process that occurs in and around subsequent essay drafts will be discussed.
Faculty of English Studies, School of Philosophy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
The Development of Academic Writing Skills in a Self-Access Center
The newly established Self-Access Learning Center and Materials Development of the Faculty of English Studies, University of Athens, aims to address the needs of tertiary level students for advanced English language proficiency and for the development of academic, professional and digital literacy skills.
This paper views the development of academic writing skills within the wider context of academic literacies and reports on the attempt to introduce key generic academic and ICT skills to first and second year students of the Faculty through a number of on-line task-based activities and other types of materials made available through the Center. The paper will briefly present the Center’s aims and discuss its similarities and differences from other on-line Writing Centers and Self-Access Centers which operate in many European countries.
It will then analyse the findings of a study with first semester students of the Faculty aiming to identify the incomer students’ competence of ICT and academic writing and reading skills. On the basis of this needs analysis, a number of on-line materials have been produced which will be briefly presented.
Photinos , Christie
Department of Arts and Humanities, National University , USA
Closing the Distance: Community Building in Online Writing Classes
In my presentation, I will discuss community building strategies that can be used to counter the feelings of isolation and intimidation experienced by students in online academic writing classes. While most substantive writing projects involve periods of solitary concentration, professional writers have learned to draw upon their peers for insight and inspiration at various stages of the writing process. Student writers, however, have the unfortunate and self-defeating tendency to make writing into a more bleak and lonely endeavor than necessary, thus compounding the limitations imposed by beginning level skills with almost total isolation from the types of resources and interactions that help sustain the work of professional writers. Online writing classes worsen this problem by removing students from the one form of community they could previously count upon—the gathering of classmates in the physical space of the classroom. This loss of community is arguably one of the main factors in the lower completion rates instructors have witnessed in online classes. My paper will suggest strategies for drawing online writing students out of isolation and positioning them as members of a community of fellow writers.
Procter, Margaret - Rose, J. Barbara
University of Toronto, Canada
The Apprenticeship Model: In Class, In Person, On Screen
Our presentation will address an innovative use of technology in teaching writing in the disciplines, and will be given as an interactive presentation using overheads and handouts. We will also supply guest accounts to participants so they can try iWRITE themselves.
How do students learn what is expected in university writing? At the University of Toronto, that question is magnified by student diversity (many levels of preparation, at least 50% non-native speakers), by the wide range of programs, and by the typically huge classes. Recent initiatives to integrate writing instruction into disciplinary courses have had to recognize students’ challenges in trying to earn marks by writing while also learning writing skills. In the absence of a composition program, writing instructors have developed resources for individualized self-instruction. One of these is the web-enabled software iWRITE (www.utoronto.ca/writing/iwrite/demo.html). In course-specific sites, iWRITE displays a examples of past student work alongside detailed comments by course instructors—showing as well as telling students what to aim for, and sometimes what to avoid. An optional component then takes users through a sequence of brainstorming or drafting activities.
iWRITE has been used in about 25 courses so far. Its successes confirm the Lave and Wenger description of apprentices who learn by first observing others, then trying out the operations themselves. Students’ comments and results also fit well with activity theory about motivation. In a “bridging” course for mature and underprepared students, for instance, iWRITE helps nervous and insecure students see that they too can produce interesting and lively short analyses of literature without pretending to be experts. These students’ learning is also supported by in-class demonstrations, group workshops offering “scaffolding” in underlying academic skills, and individual feedback from writing-centre instructors on drafts in progress.
Technology-mediated provision of samples, then, is only one way of inducting student novices into university discourse, but it can add to the suite of instructional supports where programs and student needs are diverse.
Ramoroka, Boitumelo Tiny
Department of Communication and Study Skills , University of Botswana , Botswana
An Online Approach to the Teaching of Academic Writing: A Pilot Project
Integrating ITC in teaching and learning has been a major innovation in a lot of Universities. There are a growing number of courses at Universities that are put on line with the aim of improving lecturers’ teaching methods and consequently engaging learners in active learning. The aim of these courses is also to promote learner autonomy. This paper discusses a pilot project on the teaching of academic writing skills. An online course which introduced students to the idea of writing as a process was designed The aim of the course was to explore online teaching as a new pedagogical tool for teaching writing skills as well as assess whether this would be an effective tool to teach academic writing. Thirty undergraduate science students who take a Communication and Study Skills course were enrolled for the online course at the University of Botswana and given a task that required their writing an essay at the end of the course. An online questionnaire was also administered. This paper presents the findings of this pilot project and gives suggestions for approaching online teaching of academic skills.
14.55-15.30 Parallel Presentations
Center for General Education , Taiwan
Learner Characteristics in Computer-Supporter Collaborative Learning of Scientific Writing
Centering on Vygotsky’s notion of the Zone of Proximal Development in which less capable learners and more capable learners can benefit one another in collaborative knowledge construction, this study aims to examine the effects of the use of a software, Knowledge Forum (developed by the University of Toronto in Canada after 15 years of research), in the teaching of scientific writing in a university setting and to identify characteristics of less successful and more successful learners in this type of online learning. The participants of the experiments are graduate students of scientific writing in English at a medical university. Among them, two types of learners—the less capable and more capable learners--will be studied particularly for their thinking processes, scaffolding, problem-solving, interactions, and meaning construction in collaborative knowledge construction of scientific writing. Learner contributions, such as the number of notes, build-on notes , questions, and annotations to others’ notes in the Knowledge Forum will be analyzed to examine how Vygotsky’s notion of collaborative knowledge construction can be effectively used in this type of online environment and whether this software can elicit richer interactions among learners of scientific writing.
Boeschoten, Vincent - Stassen, Ingrid - Wilbers, Usha – Radboud
- Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Van Waes , Luuk - Opdenacker, Liesbeth
- Universiteit Antwerpen , Belgium
Integrating a Feedback Component in a Multilingual Online Writing Center
The European educational system is increasingly supporting individual learning styles and promoting self-guided learning and reduced contact hours, a trend that is also apparent in communication and language teaching. Institutions specialized in this field are developing improved learning environments, such as (online) writing centers.
In 2002, the University of Antwerp started the Scribani project, a collaborative project with three other European institutions: the Radboud University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands), the Royal Institute of Technology ( Sweden) and the Warsaw University ( Poland).
The main objective of this project is to jointly develop and deploy a common platform for a modular, multi-lingual online writing center specializing in business, technical and academic communication, which enables students to train their writing and reading skills.
One specific aim of the Scribani project is to create a writing environment that fully integrates the learning process in the writing process. Giving feedback on written products in the different stages of document design is no doubt an important aspect to incorporate in such an integrated writing environment. Therefore, we will try to design, develop and implement a feedback component that facilitates both peer and tutor feedback in an online writing environment.
In this presentation we will clarify the basic principles of the feedback component and we will reflect on the problems we have encountered during the design, the development and the implementation process.
Davies , Martin
Teaching and Learning Unit, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Implications of New Research in Cross-cultural Psychology for Academic Writing and Argument
This paper reports on research in intercultural psychology to argue the case for the role that different ways of knowing might have on education. Evidence is summarised that suggests that Asian students make subtlety different inferences than their western counterparts, and that this has not been given serious consideration in the educational literature, despite its importance for the enterprise of teaching and learning. It is argued that the implications of this finding for academic writing are profound, yet not well-understood. Academic writing requires -- amongst other things -- subtlety in argument construction, and mastery of logical inference patterns. The paper provides examples of student work at postgraduate level where command of inference-patterns has a major effect on one's understanding of academic prose.
Fisher , Martin
Center for Academic Writing , Central European University, Hungary
Producing Better Writers: Comparative Needs in Academia and International Organisations
A large number of students who follow MA programmes at CEU go on to work for International Organisations (IOs) or NGOs, where they are required to work in English. During their time at CEU, the Centre for Academic Writing (CAW) provides support so that their work „within and beyond the university meets the expectations of the international discourse community.” However, are the students who go on to work in the international community also well equipped? This paper looks at the CAW course offered to MA students, in particular the section on micro level structure, and compares it with the course developed by the Commonwealth of Languages to improve the writing skills of International Federation of Red Cross staff. It finds that the writing skills which the Red Cross identified as necessary are inherent in the CAW course. The paper proposes that if the CAW course is typical of writing centres, then students graduate with writing skills essential to careers with IOs. The author tested this hypothesis by conducting feedback interviews with former CAW students now working for IOs or NGOs.
Ganobcsik-Williams, Lisa - Toms, Jane
Centre for Academic Writing , Coventry University , UK
Helping Academics Assess and Teach Writing: The Writing Center's Role
Writing centers have been viewed primarily as a resource for students, offering individualised writing instruction (North 1984; Murphy and Law 1995). Drawing on other organisational models for the teaching of Academic Writing ( WAC, WiD and the ‘Transformative’ model developed in Australian Learning Centres), this presentation explores an expanded definition of the writing center whose remit includes supporting staff development in assessing and teaching writing in subject disciplines. We describe and evaluate a specific example of a collaboration between the Co-ordinator of the new Centre for Academic Writing and a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Coventry University, England.
The organiser of a core first-year Physiotherapy and Dietetics module believed that changing teaching and assessment activities to emphasise the acquisition of writing competence would help students acquire knowledge and skills necessary to succeed on their degree course. Focussing on the design and use of formative assessment to give students detailed feedback on their writing, we introduced an early formative piece of written work. We discuss initial difficulties in introducing writing-centered pedagogy to teaching staff and students, and report on our attempts to overcome these difficulties. We conclude that integrating the teaching of writing into subject disciplines is an organisational model worth pursuing but one that requires a joint commitment on the part of writing center staff and subject staff.
Gilliland , Mary
Writing Walk-In Service, Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, Cornell University, USA
Responding to Student Papers: Instructors Consult with Tutors
This presentation describes Cornell University’s innovative Essay Response Consultation program, designed to give teachers of First-year Writing Seminars free, private consultation about responding to student essays. Experienced tutors on the staff of the Writing Walk-In Service have seen what kinds of responses from instructors are most helpful, and which are less helpful; they have seen types of writing assignments that can create difficulty, as well as those that provide useful guidance. When an instructor requests an Essay Response consultation, a tutor reads a set of papers on which the instructor has written comments, and then the two meet for a one-to-one consultation to discuss questions and insights regarding response to student work. Instructors have asked how to avoid the sense of doing battle with students when grading papers, how to prioritize substantive topics in their comments, how to help students elicit their own solutions to revision problems rather than giving teacher-dependent answers. Tutors have better learned how to demystify the language of paper commentary for students, and how to encourage students to approach their instructors with questions about writing. The collaboration has strengthened these components of Cornell’s Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines.
Godfrey , Jeanne – Rankin , Stephen
University of Westminster , UK
Integration and Identity: An Example of an Organizational Model that Works across an HE Institution to Meet Diverse Student Needs
We will look at the interrelation of the writing program and writing centre at the University of Westminster, an urban university with a large and diverse student population. We will explain how we have developed a writing programme within a writing centre by making conscious decisions about structural and chronological development as part of the ‘learning community’. We will also outline how we have balanced the following potential tensions:
- Academic writing skills provision as part of degree programme versus free/open tutorials and classes.
- Compulsory modules versus option modules
- Face to face versus on-line teaching
- Group teaching versus one-to-one teaching
- General academic writing skills versus subject specific academic writing
- Remedial language support versus new and transitional skills
We will discuss the setting up of the Academic Writing Centre as a writing programme within a centre and the structure of our academic writing modules and diagnostic procedures. We will then look at the student profile and statistics for attendance and pass rates. Finally, we will explain the successful development of both programme and centre in raising awareness of academic writing across the institution, embedding academic writing within the curriculum, while at the same time maintaining a unique identity.
16.00-16.35 Parallel Presentations
Gulasarian, Alexandra - Kananyan, Sophia
Department of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, Yerevan State Linguistic University after V.Brusov, Armenia
Introducing a 'Critical Thinking and Writing Skills' Course in Armenia
Post-Soviet Armenia is a young democracy experiencing an urgent need for independent citizens capable of questioning familiar patterns of thought, making decisions on their own, and taking responsibility for their actions. The previous political system did not allow for practicing independent thinking and did not place emphasis on reasoning and writing analytically. The introduction of Critical Thinking and Writing Skills courses into Armenian university curricula is crucial to improve students’ thinking, enable them to write quality academic papers, and become competitive members of the world-wide academic community, as well as active members of the society at large. Previous attempts to introduce US course materials have been however largely unsuccessful, meeting with resistance from local teachers and students. In this presentation, we will discuss the rationale for the development of our own academic course rather than importing existing courses, as well as provide a justification for the chosen combination of genre and process methodological approaches. In addition, special attention will be devoted to the organizational model of developing and introducing this course in the university curriculum at the national level. The model incorporates collaborative work of the team of qualified national experts with the international consultant and takes into account contemporary pedagogy – “the learning paradigm” by Robert B. Barr and John Tagg (1995). The presentation may be of interest to all who are involved in introducing writing into institutional environments where it has previously played little or no role.
Centre for Language and Communication, Chalmers U niversity of T echnology , Sweden
Academic Communication as Integrated Learning Activities in Educational Programmes and their Content Courses: Problems and Opportunities of Teaching Academic Writing for Specific Purposes
The Centre for Language and Communication at Chalmers University of Technology offers one example of how academic writing and communication is provided in Swedish HE. Organisationally situated outside the research organization and directly connected to the education organization, the centre collaborates closely with most of the educational programmes at the level of program managers as well as course managers. The centre delivers programme specific courses integrated with the programmes’ content courses and the learning goals of the respective programmes. Such courses are thus integrated into content courses running parallel or form learning activities for content courses already delivered. Where necessary, the centre also delivers smaller modules as part of content courses in programmes. Such modules are identified together with students, teachers, and programme managers.
Addressing the theme ‘Organisational models for the teaching of academic writing’, I will offer examples of the types of solutions that programmes have chosen and the centre’s dual emphasis on writing-to-learn and learning-to-write. I will outline some of the organizational conditions that influence our work including funding, curricular dimensions, and the fact that Chalmers has neither a formal writing programme nor a writing centre in the sense of a generally available support centre for students and tutors.
Haacke, Stefanie - Lahm, Swantje
University of Bielefeld , Germany
Promoting Writing Instruction to Tutors and Teaching in the Disciplines
The Involvement of the Writing Center into the current reform of higher education at the University of Bielefeld, Germany
German Universities are involved in a process of change. The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms. One of the issues of the reforms is to put more emphasis on the teaching of discipline-specific and generic competences. Teachers shall henceforce not only convey what learners should know in theory but also what they should be able to do in practice.
The University of Bielefeld put their writing center in the middle of this process of change. They incorporated it into a center for advanced communication skills which is linked to the career service of the university. The main duty of the Writing Center is now to support faculty in the disciplines to fortify their teaching through writing-instruction.
Our presentation will focus on the following questions:
- Is writing a generic competence?
- How does the institutional change affect the role of the writing center?
- What has the writing center staff to consider in his work with the various disciplines?
Haviland, Carol Peterson - Mayberry, Bob
Department of English , California State University , USA
Writing/Righting Academic Discourse: Writing Centers' and Writing Programs' Roles as Assimilators/Contributors
Particularly as they work with writers new to academic language(s), writing instructors and writing center tutors feel the pull toward fast-track assimilation. Indeed, as Lisa Delpit argues, to deny that a language of power exists and to deny students access to that language is to deny them important opportunities. However, reifying norms carries its own costs as it reinforces linguistic and rhetorical norms and elides the richness "outsiders" may contribute.
Drawing on theories that notice the gaps and the conflicts, this session will tussle with the competing goods classroom instructors and tutors face: writers' desires for quick assimilation and tutors' awareness of the valuable voice of the "other." Anchoring the discussion in two landmark CCC articles ( Cushman and Grimm), participants will explore ways that faculty members and tutors can merge these two seemingly contradictory roles in their praxis.
Kruiningen Van, Jacqueline F.
Department of Language and Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Academic Writing Programs in the Netherlands. Mishmash, Mirage or Potential?
At the first two EATAW-conferences, in 2001 and 2003, it struck me that only few colleagues from other Dutch universities attended these conferences. Those colleagues we did meet at these occasions shared the opinion that we knew very little of the activities and developments at other Dutch universities. Now that we gradually started to get an impression of WAC-, WID- and writing centre initiatives on European level (due to the EATAW), it seemed more than significant to also initiate an investigation of activities at our own Dutch universities, even more so because the Dutch universities are – as are most European universities – in the middle of redesigning their study-programs. For those concerned with teaching academic writing, this seems to be a time to reconsider the activities, roles and responsibilities, particularly in the light of the gradual switch towards more student-centered and ‘skills-integrated’ study-programs. The Dutch university writing programs, if existing, seem to show a great diversity in models and there hardly seems to be any policy or awareness of this topic at management level. Recently, we planned to organise an expert meeting with colleagues from all Dutch universities, in order to exchange experiences and to make an inventory of activities, strategies, theoretical / didactical backgrounds and needs. At the time of writing this abstract, preparations for the meeting were in full swing, but the meeting had not yet taken place. At the EATAW-conference, I will present the outcomes of this expert meeting and relate them to developments on a European level and to current international literature on the topic of academic writing programs.
Maklad, Jasmine - Browne, Heather
American University in Cairo, Egypt
Changing Negative Perceptions and Promoting Positive Images of the Writing Center
Faculty perceptions towards writing centers influence how students view and utilize tutorial services. Identifying these perceptions is the first step in making writing centers a more valuable university resource. This presentation will address changes in student and faculty perceptions of the purpose of the Writing Center at the American University in Cairo (AUC) over the past five years. A 1999 survey found that AUC writing instructors perceived the center as a remedial service for weak students. Writing Center tutors, however, seemed to realize that the role of the center is to support students of all skill levels in improving their writing at any stage of the process. Students, though aware that tutoring is not limited to grammar, were not motivated to make use of the services. Preliminary results of a replication of the 1999 survey have shown that in the past five years there has been a shift in attitudes primarily among the faculty which has affected patterns of student use of the Writing Center. Based on an analysis of the factors which led to this change, we plan to offer recommendations on how to better promote a positive image of the Writing Center and maximize its potential.
Nebel, Anne - Irvine-Niakaris, Christine
Center for Applied Linguistics and Language Studies (CALLS), Hellenic American Union, Greece
The Development of Academic Writing Materials in the Post-process Era
This paper will address the application of current theories in EFL writing to materials development. Beginning with an overview of post process writing pedagogy and genre theory, the presenters will focus on implications for teachers of writing in terms of broadening their knowledge base, their conceptions of writing and awareness of methodological principles and materials for teaching writing in an EFL context.
Using the text, Build Up Your Writing Skills for the University of Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency (ECPE) published by the Hellenic American Union , in 2005 as an example, the presenters will discuss how post-process understandings of writing can be applied to the development of exam-oriented writing support materials. These materials aim to help EFL students produce an argumentative and expository essays at an advanced proficiency level of writing required for studies in higher education through the medium of English. The presenters will invite comment and discussion on the materials and make suggestions for further development in writing materials at this level.
16.45-17.20 Parallel Presentations
Panaitescu, Stefania Petronela - Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Oradea, Romania
Lupu, Olesia - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Al. I. Cuza University, Romania
University of Oradea , Romania
Finding Solutions for the Challenges Regarding Academic Writing in English in Eastern European Universitie
The need for Academic Writing Centres is more and more felt in Romanian universities especially as these have undergone the process of aligning to all the European educational requirements. New under-graduate and graduate programmes are established and for many the language of instruction is English. Consequently, students feel the need for well-structured modules on academic writing in English to help them with their research and writing assignments. This paper looks at modalities to meet such demands at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Oradea, where this academic year has seen the start of MA programmes in English and Business English is a subject on the core curriculum, being taught during five semesters to under-graduate students majoring in as many as six speciality areas.
A project currently on the drawing board is to establish a Linguistic Academic Centre, which, it is hoped, will achieve these goals. This paper will consider the challenges ahead by drawing also from the experience of other eastern European universities that have dealt with or are currently dealing with this same process. It will make a needs-analysis, offer proposals for the modules and a set of activities that could constitute the core of the new Centre and present primary results and feed-back from the student body.
Parker , Janet
Institute of Educational Technology, Open University , UK
From WAC to WiD in Europe: Transformatory Disciplinary Writing
'Academic literacies’ research in the UK developed in response to WAC which was seen as promoting a 'skills' agenda, and as inadequately informed by the richer understanding of writing as a socially situated practice.
'Academic literacies’ research points to the university as a manifold institution with complex and often tacit codes and conventions: excellent in seeing student writing as part of pedagogy, as implicating meaning-making and identity formation, but also problematic. For the very insistence on making conventions explicit can codify and consolidate them, both preventing flexibility and development and encouraging a reproducing approach to writing.
Academic Writing in the UK is therefore polarised between a “reductive” skills agenda and a “richer” but problematic Academic Literacies model. However, this paper argues that WAC and Writing in the Disciplines (WiD)’s perspective on disciplinary writing offers a “skills” and “rich” model without encouraging mimetic writing! For writing assignments that are congruent with both text and pedagogic aim, I argue, develop disciplinary skills while challenging students to use them to ask their own questions. When fed back into the communities of both practice and discourse which the modern European university comprises, such writing can transform the agenda of both student and community.
Perpignan , Hadara
Bar-Ilan University and University of Haifa, Israel
Academic Writing for Literature: Toward a Model of Practice
EFL students of literature make up a very unique group of learners of academic writing. For them, English is both the object of their studies and the main vehicle of academic communication. However, in spite of the enormous demands made of them, their specific writing needs are seldom directly addressed in the research on writing and learning to write. Research into the teaching and learning of writing in L1 and L2 stems mainly from two rich traditions: that of compositionists and that of teachers of English to speakers of other languages (Matsuda, 2003). Other relevant areas of research include writing for specific purposes, studies in higher education and discourse analysis, each with its own links to specific pedagogical approaches, methods and materials. But in the absence of a writing research tradition of their own, teachers of EFL students of English literature are left with the option of reinterpreting and adapting others’ theories and practices. The purpose of this paper is to propose, based on the existing research, an integrative model of practice which answers specific needs of EFL students writing about literature, and which can perhaps be useful as well to their counterparts working in other foreign languages.
Pinho, Anabela - Loureiro, M. José
Universi ty of Aveiro , Portugal
Students' Self Perceptions of Writing
Nowadays, according to the state-of-the-art, latest pedagogical and didactic tendencies, writing has a very important role in the education of participant and active citizens and the competence of future learners depends a lot on the relationship that the teacher maintains with the act of writing. This relationship is in turn determining for the choice of learning practices, more or less creative, helpful and productive, as far as the development of the writing competence is concerned.
This study is based on a questionnaire applied to a class of 40 first year students taking a degree in Teacher Education for Primary Education.
The main goals of the study are (i) to determine students’ difficulties about different typologies of texts and (ii) to determine students’ difficulties about different demands of the writing process. The questionnaire also aimed at identifying the students’ conceptions about their own writing skills. The data obtained from the questionnaires will be complemented and clarified through interviews, a research stage that is ongoing.
Preliminary observation of collected data – which is still being worked on – allows us to infer that students view writing more as an expressive process than as a communicative one.
By confronting students with their writing difficulties, the study attempts to promote the understanding of the academic writing process, with the ultimate goal of designing a set of best practices for the development of writing competences. This is important both for teachers and especially for learners, who do not perceive academic writing correctly and, therefore, do not identify correctly what underlies the writing act and where they are getting it wrong.
Division of Foreign Languages , Tel Aviv University , Israel
Bridging the Gap between Academic and Workplace Needs through Writing
How Executive Master of Business Administration (EXMBA) programs can satisfy both academic and workplace requirements is an ongoing discussion in the literature on accountability (Winter, 1993). For EFL learners in an EXMBA program, the issue becomes more complicated since many of the instructional materials are in English and since many of the participants are in managerial positions requiring the daily use of English. Participants in the program must be able to handle the reading material, but they also expect to improve their English communication skills so they can perform better as managers.
This presentation offers an approach to teaching a Business English course, as part of the EXMBA program, which functions as a bridge between the two worlds of academia and the workplace. Incorporating reading-based writing tasks into the syllabus (Desmond, Berry & Lewkowicz, 1995) can help participants to: (i) become better, more motivated readers, (ii) improve writing communication skills, (iii) develop oral presentation skills. The talk demonstrates how three writing tasks, email, memorandums, and support materials accompanying oral presentations, are used to accomplish the above goals. Examples of student work will be provided to show how writing was evaluated, revised and applied to the real-world needs of the participants.
Schindler , Kristen
Institut für Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Teaching Writing to Engineering Students - Experiences with an Interdisciplinary Cooperation
In January 2005 we set up a writing project for the engineering department at Aachen University ( Germany) with three main objectives:
- research on scientific and professional writing of engineering students and professional engineers
- accumulation and publication of educational material (best in class examples, writing assignments) to teach (professional and academic) writing to engineering students
- implementation of a peer-tutoring programme and training of writing tutors (advanced engineering students).
The application-oriented project – and this represents a new approach in the German context – combines the focus on a specific audience (engineering students) with theoretical, empirical and didactical interests in writing. Expressing the strengthened role of communicative competencies it is embedded in the introduction of the BA/MA system and financed by the vice-chancellor of the University for two and a half year.
In my presentation I would like to discuss our concept and evaluate first experiences from our work, especially regarding the cooperation with the engineering department.
Foreign Languages Department for the Sciences, National Ivan Franko University of L'viv , Ukraine
Teaching English Academic Writing to Mature Researchers: Methods and Challenges
Although academic writing is a popular college discipline in many countries, it has only recently started to be taught in Ukraine. Within the Ukrainian context, mature researchers with an adequate general level of English competence appear to be the most active and interested group of potential learners since they are willing to establish international contacts and to become members of appropriate research communities.
In this paper, a special English academic writing training for such a targeted group is described, partially demonstrated and reflexively analyzed. The participants were Ukrainian researchers in the fields of economics and sociology of the age ranging from 30 to 52 years. The training lasted for two days and included various types of genre-based activities elaborated by the author of this presentation in terms of Swales’s (1990) and Bhatia’s (1993) models with due regard for Ukrainian cultural and educational context.
Despite highly positive anonymous evaluation of the training by its attendees, there happened to be a number of problems caused by learners’ insufficient awareness of culture-specific aspects of English academic written discourse. These inevitable challenges and the ways of their overcoming are specifically addressed in the presentation.
Ahmed , Soheil
SSS University of Queensland, Australia
Academic Writing and Difference
This paper addresses the theme of cross-cultural issues in the teaching of writing and examines the implications of identity or cultural politics for the teaching and learning of academic writing.
Success in academic writing is dependent not merely on general competence, but also on an understanding of the constitutive cultural system of academic writing. In negotiating writing tasks, writers must also negotiate underlying assumptions of reader expectations and writing strategies which have decided cultural bases (Grabe and Kaplan 1996).
What Canagarajah (2000) calls “the geopolitics of academic writing” arises from an asymmetry of power between academic writing and the other discourses that it tends to negate. To perpetuate itself, academic writing conceals its own cultural roots which lie demonstrably in Western notions of rationality affiliated with the Enlightenment (Knoblauch and Brannon 1984 ). Thus what is, in fact, cultural is made to appear as neutral.
But by making academic writing more ethnologically informed it may be possible to open up a dialogue that transforms the very conceptualisation of academic writing into “writing across cultures” (Grabe and Kaplan 1996 p. 178).
I explore the possibilities of this via France (1994), Bleich (1993), Clifford and Marcus (1986), and others.
17.30-18.05 Parallel Presentations
Department of Education and Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway
Writing with Social Science Postgraduates Students
The paper presents findings from an ongoing postdoctoral project on writing groups (group supervision) with postgraduate students. 13 PhD candidates from various departments at the faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway, participated in writing groups in relation to the writing of an obligatory PhD essay. The aim of the groups was to prevent delays in the candidates’ writing process and to create a support environment (Dysthe & Westrheim, 2003; Kjeldsen & Dysthe, 1997). The candidates were divided into three interdisciplinary writing groups that committed themselves to meeting regularly and giving feedback on each others’ essay drafts. The groups were followed up through observation and qualitative group interviews in the autumn semester 2004. All the candidates of group 1 and most of group 2 delivered their essays before the end of 2004, while the candidates of the third group had a delay in delivering and decided to continue the group sessions in spring 2005. The findings from the first two groups underline the writing group’s beneficial impact on the students’ writing process (Lonka, 2003; Wisker, Robinson, Trafford, Warnes, & Creighton, 2003). A particular focus is peer response and the routines the supervision process followed; implications for practice are made. The group’s functioning as a support mechanism for the candidates is also discussed (Torrance & Thomas, 1994; UK Council for Graduate Education, 2000).
Department of English , CERGE-EI , Czech Republic
Teaching the Literature Review: A More Coherent Approach
One of the most problematic areas that international post graduate students have to deal with in their academic writing is that of the dreaded literature review. This is especially so when considering that students come from many different countries and cultures with varied educational and academic backgrounds and expectations. (see Reinecker and Stray Jörgensen 2003). Problems often stem from an initial lack of focus, a perception of what their paper is actually setting out to do, what their contribution is and why their research is therefore needed (Bellers and Smith 2004). It is not surprising then, as Swales and Lindemann (in Johns 2002) note, that faculty often complain about the quality of literature review sections in student papers. To address these problems a critical literature review course was developed at a post graduate institute, CERGE (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education,) of Charles University in Prague that involved input and coordination from both English tutors and subject specialists. The presentation will look at the cooperation between the two parties in the implementation of the course with particular emphasis given to the role played by the English department. The presentation will argue that it is through such cooperation that a more coherent approach to the teaching of the literature review can be achieved. Finally, implications from the model used will be considered with regard to the design of similar courses in the future.
Stassen , Ingrid - Wilbers, Usha - Boeschoten, Vincent
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
The Development of Academic Writing: Work in Progress
This presentation reports the first progress in a four-year longitudinal study of writing development at Radboud University Nijmegen, the first university in the Netherlands to have an academic writing center. The aim of this research is to develop a didactical blueprint for the teaching and coaching of writing in various situations: writing in composition courses, writing in the disciplines, writing theses and writing in the writing center, off-line as well as on-line.
Selected students were followed in the development of their writing in several contexts, including composition courses, "content" courses, and writing center (both off- and on-line). The study characterizes the range of instruction, tasks, and topics, the structure of the writing programs, students writing strategies, frequency and type of coaching and feedback, forms of collaboration, forms of reflection and the effects of these on the students writing processes and products. This presentation focuses on first descriptions of students 'real life' writing processes (Van der Geest, 1995) with special attention to reviewers comments and expectations, and students interpretation of the comments and the goals and plans for revisions.
Storch, Neomy - Wigglesworth, Gillian
Department of Linguistics & Applied Linguistics, School of Languages, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Writing Tasks: the Effects of Collaboration
The paper addresses the theme of research in the teaching of writing. An innovative approach in the teaching of L2 writing is to ask students to write collaboratively. The advantages of collaboration have been documented in a small number of studies (e.g., DiCamilla & Anton, 1997; Donato, 1994 Storch, 2002; Swain & Lapkin, 1998). In this paper we report on a study which aimed to investigate the processes and product of collaborative writing tasks. In this study, advanced ESL graduate students were asked to complete two writing tasks fairly common in tertiary settings: a report and an essay. One group of students completed the tasks in pairs and another group completed the tasks individually. Students working in pairs were audio recorded. An analysis of the recorded pair interaction highlighted the effect of task type on the quantity and quality of interaction. A comparison of the collaboratively completed tasks with those completed by students working individually shows the merits of collaboration in terms of fluency, accuracy and complexity. The paper concludes with implications of collaborative writing tasks for classroom implementation..
Stray Jorgensen, Peter - Skov, Signe
Academic Writing Center, Department of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Adapting Toulmin´s Argument Model to Students´Papers - Not Vice Versa
The research paper (and student papers written as research papers) is commonly considered as one argument (Booth et al 2003, Neman 1995, and others) – “to write a scientific argument”. At the Academic Writing Center ( University of Copenhagen) we allocate a considerable time to teaching the academic paper (research paper) as one argument. For this purpose, we use Toulmin’s argument model (Toulmin 1958, Williams & Colomb 2003, Hegelund & Kock 2003) with some success. The Toulmin model is suited for this, especially because of the warrant element which establishes the logical link between the claim (the conclusion) and data (documentation). In the papers, the warrant is the scientific method used to provide the documentation. The warrant and the discussion of the warrant is in fact what qualify the paper scientifically. It is important that the argumentation is clearly displayed in the structure of the paper. However, we face difficulties when teaching students the connection between the elements of argumentation and the structure of their paper. Therefore, we have adapted the elements of the Toulmin model to conform to the overall structure of the research paper.
In our presentation we will show and exemplify how the overall argumentation corresponds to the structure of the research paper, and how we have transformed the Toulmin model for this purpose. Finally, we want to discuss the potentials for a university writing pedagogy.
Tuero , Susana
Department of Modern Languages , Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina
How College EFL Majors React to Peer Feedback on Writing
Revision is a fundamental element in the process of writing. Most writing instructors advise their students to set their writing aside for a few hours (overnight or for a few days if possible) so that they can look at their draft in a new light. So the first basic revision stage is usually covered by the writer himself.
In addition to re-seeing their texts, students can considerably improve their writing if they receive input from a reader. The process of providing / receiving input with the purpose of providing information to improve a text is usually referred to as ‘feedback.’ A review of the literature reveals that there are two major sources of feedback: peers’ comments, and teachers’ comments. The focus of this presentation will be on demonstrating how a review questionnaire was used as a training instrument in a university writing course. Results indicate that to train students to provide feedback is twofold. On the one hand, when student-writers receive comments from their classmates, they feel that their writing is not being evaluated as it is when read by the course instructor. On the other hand, to provide feedback helps student-writers become more aware of their own problems in writing, and so more critical when revising their writing.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Orality in an Academic Writing Class: A Case Study
Prior 1994, the South African higher education system was shaped with a view to serving the goals of successive apartheid governments. Within this context the new higher education policies introduced by South Africa’s first elected government sought to reshape the system into one that met the goals of access and equity.
The influx of African students in previously white institutions of higher learning after 1994 brought in new challenges especially in the delivery of the curricula.
Written assignments are still the main way in which students are assessed in higher education. Writing proficiently in any language is a formidable challenge. Writing in a second language at a university level compound that challenge. The African students are not first speakers of English, denying them ready access to content information, which is taught through the medium of English. For these students English is a third, fourth or fifth language. One response to this situation has been an Academic Literacy course offered to first-year Engineering students in the first semesters of 2003 and 2004.
In the academic writing class, the students often had to negotiate their academic identities because of the manner in which they were positioned in the academy. The tensions between the non-academic discourses (eg.orality) that students draw from in the writing process and the dominant discourses of the institution were evident in their writing.
The paper explores the processes followed by the first-year Engineering students in acquiring academic writing. It will also argue for a space to develop a better synergy between academic literacies and indigenous literacies.
Zegers, Vera – Lawrence , Clive
University of Maastricht Language Centre, The Netherlands
Teaching Academic Writing in 12 Hours. Can it Be Done?
The University of Maastricht Language Centre is charged with introducing multinational undergraduates, from a variety of faculties, to academic writing in English. The aim is to prepare them for the writing requirements of their academic career and beyond.
Whilst acknowledging general principles of teaching a foreign language and of teaching academic writing, we also recognise that Problem Based Learning is the overriding principle of the university’s teaching. This places clear emphasis on the need for learning to be student centred and the conduct of tutorials to be student controlled. In some courses we are limited to 12 hours contact time concentrated into an 8-week block. In addition, we are committed to Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and coordinate each academic writing course closely with the students’ core subject.
In this presentation, we aim to outline our task and the limitations imposed upon us, our theoretical approach and to briefly explain the structure and process of a typical UM undergraduate introductory writing skills course. We do not claim to have the perfect solution, but we know that we achieve encouraging results and have good reviews from students and from university academic staff.