Teaching academic writing: a conference in seven tweets

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(Royal Holloway, University of London)

 

I recently attended one of the three days of the 9th Conference of the European Association for Teaching Academic Writing, hosted this year by Royal Holloway, University of London.  As an Academic Learning Support Tutor, this conference is about as closely related to my work as it gets.

As some of the day was concerned with issues around learning in the digital (or post-digital) age, I’ve decided to summarise and/or extrapolate from each of the sessions I attended, or intended to attend, in the Twitter format of fewer than 140 characters. I might have cheated slightly by not counting spaces.

Here, then, are my very brief summaries of seven sessions:

‘If you don’t write yourself, on what grounds can you offer advice about writing to others?’: perspectives on the importance of publishing by teachers of academic writing – a paper presentation by Mary Davis, Oxford Brookes University

Writing for publication makes us better able to support our students to write, but institutions must recognise this and support us in it.

‘Professor please read and tell me what I should be doing?’: how international students navigate the requirement to write critically – a paper presentation by Jessica Hancock, Glasgow Caledonian University, London

Students tend to see critical writing as being their personal response to texts; this is a starting point for acquiring the skill of objective evaluation of evidence.

‘Natural’ academic writing acquisition? A natural language processing analysis of student papers in four disciplines – a paper presentation by David Russell, Iowa State University

Some students are better than others at picking up the specialised writing style in a subject area that’s new to them. What are the cognitive or cultural reasons?

Addressing retention through academic writing – a paper presentation by Christina Delistathi, Birkbeck, University of London

First year undergraduates view their first assignment as a moment of reflection on how well they’re doing. More scaffolded, formative support would aid retention.

History of a history student: composition strategies in the digital age – a paper presentation by Stuart Wrigley, Royal Holloway, University of London

Much of the literature on academic writing composition is from a pre-internet or early-internet era; how much has the internet changed approaches to composition?

Towards post‐digital engagement: a study of international students’ composing practices – a paper presentation by Lavinia Hirsu, University of Glasgow

Students use some of the skills we want to see in their academic work, e.g. building an argument, routinely on social media, so ignoring this is a missed opportunity.

Constructing the spaces between: a collaborative approach to academic writing consultations – a paper presentation by Deak Kirkham, University of Leeds

One-to-one tutorials could be replaced with two-to-one in some cases, fostering a more collaborative approach and better use of the time between meetings.

In case my (almost) tweet-length summaries leave you wanting to know more, the conference abstract booklet can be found here:

http://eataw2017.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EATAW-2017-Abstract-booklet-3.pdf

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