Project background

A photo of international students studying in class

The open multimedia video resource to support the transition to academic writing has been designed and built to address the gap in the provision of academic writing support offered by the University of Glasgow to international students.

This group of students often find the first encounter with academic writing a challenge – English is not their first language, they often meet only the target minimum entry requirements and their experience of academic writing is often limited to IELTS exam (a common international exam that is used as proof of English proficiency when accepting students to start academic study) writing tasks, which despite being referred to as academic, is notably different from what is expected of the assignments written at the University. Moore and Morton (2005) highlight a number of differences including sources of information referred to, types of argumentation and objectivity. Nesi and Gardner (2012) also identify the wide range of possibly unfamiliar genres that students encounter on academic programmes.  This means the students need to quickly adapt to the range and requirements of written assessment tasks and this need is particularly pressing for PGT students on year-long masters programmes: they often have limited time to attend in-sessional classes and rarely have access to examples of these occluded genres.

This open web resource intends to help support students in their transition to becoming academic writers in English. It is hoped that students will benefit from a flexible, easy to access and negotiate resource, with a specifically targeted commentary made accessible to students at the threshold entry level to the University.


The project was made possible due to the University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Development Fund received in Spring 2014.

The assignments used in the resource are authentic samples written by the students on pre-sessional and post-grad courses at English for Academic Study at the University of Glasgow. They gave their consent to use of their assignment having been briefed about the project rationale and contents as well as their rights as research participants. The project was granted ethical approval by the Ethics Committee at the University of Glasgow.

We would like to thank all the student participants for their willingness to share their writing samples for the project purposes as well as helping us evaluate and refine the resource!


References

Moore,T. and  Morton, J.M. (2005) Dimensions of difference: a comparison of university writing and IELTS writing, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4(1) 1, pp. 43-66,

Nesi, H. and Gardner, S. (2012) Genres across the Disciplines: Student writing in higher education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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