Writing as Process or Product? Implications for Institutional Practice and Student Engagement
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Writing as Process or Product? Implications for Institutional Practice and Student Engagement

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Writing as Process or Product? Implications for Institutional Practice and Student Engagement Writing as Process or Product? Implications for Institutional Practice and Student Engagement Presentation Transcript

  • WRITING AS PROCESS OR PRODUCT? IMPLICATIONS FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRACTICE AND STAFF ENGAGEMENT Alison McEntee Centre for Academic and Professional Development
  • Overview  International, National and Institutional Context  Current practice at The University of the West of Scotland (UWS)  Writing as a process of learning  Implications for staff engagement at UWS
  • International Context  The United States  Disciplines of Composition and Rhetoric  Clear professional identity  Writing in the disciplines(WID), Writing across the curriculum (WAC)  An integral part of disciplinary learning for all students  Developed alongside increased access to postcompulsory education
  • National Context  Elite system   Students were well prepared for demands of academic writing Mass system  Wider diversity of student body  Implications for academic writing instruction  Move to modular system/combined degrees
  • National Context  The Dearing Report (NCIHE 1997) highlighted the importance of ‘transferable’, ‘key’ and ‘graduate’ skills acquisition in HE  Governmental and institutional priorities:     Access and inclusion Retention and progression Personal Development Planning (PDP) EmployabilityMiss the importance of language in the student experience of learning and focus on writing as a ‘decontextualised skill’
  • UWS Context ‘The University of the West of Scotland aims to have a transformational influence on the economic, social and cultural development of the West of Scotland and beyond by providing relevant, high quality, inclusive higher education and innovative and useful research’  20,000 students across 4 campuses  49.7% full time – 50.3% part time  58% of students are 25 or over
  • UWS Context Strategic Aims - Learning and Teaching ‘The underpinning assumption is that the diversity of UWS students will continue to increase. This will require the University to respond and design programmes accordingly, a critical factor in making UWS a University of choice and, consequently, improving student recruitment. The mix will include full and part-time students, school leavers and non-traditional learners, and increasing numbers of new Scots, EU students and international students’  Implications for development of writing instruction
  • Effective Learning - Background  Strategy for the Enhancement of the Quality of Learning, Teaching and Assessment (SEQLTA, 2007); Student Progression and Retention Strategy  Funding from the Wider Access Retention Premium  Drop in sessions/individual tutorials/ ad hoc arrangements to embed writing development  Move from deficit to developmental model?  academic status?  perception as a discipline?
  • Staff Engagement ‘Basis of Provision (Staff Development) - Effective Learning will assist academic staff in the evaluation of current curricula and practice. The service will assist in embedding learning skills into the curriculum and in supporting the development of new and innovative practice in this area. This will be informed by evaluation data collected through student provision. The staff development role will link with and build on existing School-based study skills support for students’ (University of the West of Scotland (2009) Development plan for the Effective Learning Service 2008-2011)   Current focus on writing for assessment Challenge is ‘to link writing with thinking, learning and disciplinary expertise’ (Ganobcsik Williams 2006, p.50)
  • The Writing Process/Product Continuum (Adapted from Mitchell & Evison, 2006, p.74)
  • Staff Engagement  Dialogue and collaboration:  Cross disciplinary communities of practice  Illuminate the writing process as a site of learning  Challenge assumptions about the location of the ‘problem’ of student writing  Encourage a ‘shift in consciousness' to view student writing as feedback on teaching
  • Staff Engagement  Curriculum development:  Writing to facilitate and enhance learning of subject content  Writing intensive courses  Challenge traditional approach where curricula tend to be defined by content  Writing and textual practice as important as any other teaching task
  • A Shift in Approach?  Writing as ‘an epistemic process in which thinking and reflection develop...and as a communicative product, structured in particular ways by particular conventions and forming particular, recognisable social functions’ (Britton 1982, p.94)   Writing as usefully problematic ; greater focus on process ‘Encouragement and crafting of students’ active response to the subject: their construction of knowledge’ (Mitchell & Evison 2006, p.82)  A embedded approach that links to the discipline specific epistemological assumptions underpinning feedback language
  • A Shift in Approach?  Built in writing tasks may involve less coverage of content but students;  absorb more from materials  respond better  raise questions with texts  think critically  become independent learners (Fernandez & Marsh,2002)  Policy implications and practical considerations  Implications for development of the Effective Learning Team
  • The Right Approach?  Writing is central to student learning and assessment across all disciplines  Development of the student as a person and as a thinker/writer  Academic success and graduate employability  Embedded provision viewed by students as being more important  Inclusive approach in line with initiatives to foster student engagement  Central to the development of the university as a teaching establishment
  • Take a strategic approach Develop individuals’ practice Work towards cultural change