Reference : Designing and managing an online, personalised research writing course for postgraduates
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
Designing and managing an online, personalised research writing course for postgraduates
Deroey, Katrien mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM) >]
Skipp, Jennifer []
BALEAP Conference
from 06-04-2021 to 10-04-2021
University of Glasgow
[en] research writing ; personalized writing ; EAP course design
[en] This paper describes and evaluates an online research article writing course at the University of Luxembourg. Participants were self-referred PhD students from different disciplines. The aim of the ten-week course is to improve insight into the structural, stylistic and rhetorical features of research articles as well as the writing and publication process. It also provides tools for students to develop their own writing.
We will situate our course rationale and design within the literature, then compare these to both the reality of managing and delivering the course online as well as participants’ feedback as reflected in 30 surveys. We will focus on the following results:
• The practicability of including multiple pedagogical elements in an online course was challenging. We wanted to integrate both independent and collaborative work, production and reflection. However, results of the surveys and our own experience show that the multiplicity of elements was often seen as complex and difficult to manage and multiple submission deadlines problematic.
• Students favoured working alone over working together and uptake of writing groups (Aitchison, 2009) was poor. Multi-disciplinary peer groups were, however, positively reviewed (cf. Hyland, 2012).
• The flexibility of the online environment was seen as positive, yet many reported problems finding time to write. However, participants did see the benefit in having to write regularly. Tools of reflection did not score highly.
• The personalisation of learning input scored highly in the survey, but this was time-consuming to implement. Whilst instructor-student consultations were offered to further personalise feedback, these had a low uptake (8/30).
• We wanted to create a course which included guidance on the writing and publication process (Starfield & Paltridge, 2016) as well as increased genre awareness (Swales, 1990) to prepare students for publication. However, tasks on language and structure were rated more useful by more students than this content.
• More participants commented on the benefit of working through their language issues in live sessions over learning how to address language issues through the corpus-tools that were integrated into the course (Charles, 2018).
Through sharing this information, we hope to generate a discussion with the audience about ways to optimise online writing courses and manage some of the problems associated with online delivery.

Aitchison, C. (2009). Writing groups for doctoral education. Studies in Higher Education, 34(8), 905-916.
Charles, M. (2018) Corpus-assisted editing for doctoral students: More than just concordancing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 36, 15-26.
Charles, M. (2018). Using do-it-yourself-corpora in EAP: A tailor-made resource for teachers and students. Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes, 6(2), 217-224.
Hyland, K. (2012). Disciplinary Identities: Individuality and Community in Academic Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nesi, H. & Gardener, S. (2012). Genres across the disciplines: Student writing in higher education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Paltridge, B., & Starfield, S. (2016). Getting published in academic journals: Navigating the publication process. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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