Process and Product: Supporting Academic Writing in Higher Education

Farrell, Alison and Tighe-Mooney, Sharon (2013) Process and Product: Supporting Academic Writing in Higher Education. AISHE-J, 5 (1). pp. 1101-1118.


In academic year 2010-2011, the English Department and Centre for Teaching and Learning atNational University of Ireland Maynooth collaborated to provide academic writing support forfirst year students. The sessions, which were workshops and large group lectures, were activeand participative in nature, and designed with the sole purpose of helping students to improvetheir writing, regardless of the level from which they were beginning. The intervention was aresponse to a desire by staff at departmental level to help students to understand what wasrequired with regards writing in university and to assist them to meet these requirements. Inaddition, the topic was raised during discussions at the Teaching and Learning Committee, andsubsequently, was undertaken as a pilot/case study rather than as a research project. Theimplications of the intervention were gauged by analysing the written feedback on the processprovided by students. This paper provides an opportunity to reflect on the various aspects ofthis exercise and to plan the future activity of academic writing support for students. In order toorientate the reader for the discussion to follow, the genesis for support for student writing inthe wider context will be briefly described. In addition, the role of the key stakeholders involvedin the motivation for the writing intervention will be explored.

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