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[en] We present a research article writing course that departs from traditional models in using a flipped classroom approach based on independent, personalised learning (Deroey & Skipp, 2023). This student-centred approach has at its core non-instructor-led activities. The number of classes is limited in favour of tasks using an in-house e-coursebook designed for self-directed learning; peer review; and information gathering from corpora and disciplinary informants. Course design considers practical issues such as PhD students’ busy schedules (Casanave, 2010), their ability to work independently and limited staff resources. The course has been successfully delivered both fully and partly online to several mixed-discipline cohorts of doctoral students. We will explain how this independent, personalised approach works and formulate recommendations based on course evaluations and lecturer experiences.
The aim of the course is to improve insight into the structural, stylistic and rhetorical features of research articles as well as the writing and publication process. To maximise personalised learning through independent work, the course is ‘deconstructed’ into five interlocking components: independent learning tasks, workshops, peer review, writing and reflections, and consultations. Learner autonomy and continuous learning are further promoted through corpus work (Charles, 2018), writing reflection, and analysis of disciplinary texts (Yasuda, 2011). Peers and disciplinary experts are important additional learning resources (Cho & MacArthur, 2010; Zhu, 2004).
Prior to a workshop, students complete an independent learning task by reading the relevant chapter from the e-coursebook and completing exercises. These exercises include working with writing from their discipline through corpus searches and text analysis as well as applying learning about structure, style and rhetoric to their own texts. This work is submitted before the workshop, allowing us to illustrate key points and design activities with examples from their tasks. Students also submit article drafts with reflections on how course learning has informed their writing. Peer review happens without an instructor present but using a template to guide feedback. Writing consultations with the lecturer enable participants to get further personal feedback from a writing expert.
This course design has several advantages. First, it stimulates budding research writers to become writing researchers, which promotes continuous, independent learning. The course tools and analytical frameworks help them explore answers to their personal disciplinary, genre and language questions. Second, it maximises the added value of the workshops: prior independent work with e-book theory and exercises means we can limit theoretical explanations and use their task output to personalise workshops. Third, on an organizational level, students can manage their time better by being less bound to attend more workshops on our central campus. A fully online version of the course is also offered. However, we continue to look for ways to meet the challenges of our course approach. The personalisation of workshops and monitoring task completion constitutes a considerable workload for lecturers. We conclude by opening a discussion about how to manage independent, personalised learning.
Casanave, C. P. (2010). Dovetailing under impossible circumstances. In C. Aitchison, B. Kamler, & A. Lee (Eds.), Publishing pedagogies for the doctorate and beyond (pp. 47-63). Routledge.
Charles, M. (2018). Corpus-assisted editing for doctoral students: More than just concordancing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 36, 15-25.
Cho, K., & MacArthur, C. (2010). Student revision with peer and expert reviewing. Learning and Instruction, 20, 328-338.
Deroey, K. L. B., & Skipp, J. (2023). Designing and delivering an online research article writing course for doctoral students in Luxembourg during Covid-19. In B. Fenton-Smith, J. Gimenez, K. Mansfield, M. Percy, & M. Spinillo (Eds.), International perspectives on teaching academic English in turbulent times (pp. 81-94). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003283409-10
Yasuda, S. (2011). Genre-based tasks in foreign language writing: Developing writers’ genre awareness, linguistic knowledge, and writing competence. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20(2), 111-133.
Zhu, W. (2004). Faculty views on the importance of writing, the nature of academic writing, and teaching and responding to writing in the disciplines. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13(1), 29-48.