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By N. Sivasothi
A "writing workshop" of three 24-hour essays is integrated into a first year core module (biodiversity) and a personal statement and field report are requirements of a popular second year elective (ecology).
General and specific feedback is provided by motivated TAs to students in groups and individually. Offered both semesters, the typical enrolment is about 200 students. It had became clear that skills for a digital age had to be specifically taught to enhance scholarship. Some of those lessons are discussed here.
Besides the slew of tips for conducting an effective Google search, an ability to adapt the vocabulary of specific disciplines and an evaluation of site credibility are important skills.
Learning and understanding citation of sources in detail has turned out to be key in ensuring an appreciation and differentiation of the diversity of resources available online. This helps eliminate unintended plagiarism (which we evaluate using Turnintin) and facilitates an understanding of scholarship.
Other basics which require exploration are Creative Commons for use of digital resources, Wikipedia as a jump start rather than a primary resource, the quick way to invoke NUS Digital Library access to journals and the basics of email etiquette.
While our writing workshops were initiated to emphasise the critical basics of clear and effective writing, a critical component will be digital skills.