DEVELOPING ANALYTICAL AND ACADEMIC WRITING PRACTICES THROUGH A SUSTAINABLE BLENDED LEARNING PROGRAM

Yvonne C. Davila, Matthew P. Padula, Neela Griffiths

Abstract


Students entering postgraduate coursework degrees transition into content-rich and challenging learning environments, and many are unprepared for the analytical and evaluative skills expected. In the subject ‘Proteomics’, these skills are key for designing an authentic experimental plan, the major assessment. To support our students in developing these critical skills and literacies, we designed, created and embedded three interactive, self-paced H5P online tutorials and two face-to-face writing workshops targeting assignment structure, academic and scientific language, and critical evaluation. Embedding these materials means they are core curriculum and sustainable, supporting a student enhancement rather than a student deficit model (McWilliams & Allen, 2014).

In 2020, we adapted our blended design for online delivery by converting the face-to-face workshops into online workshops. Our evaluation showed many students completed the non-assessible online tutorials more than once, suggesting that students used the tutorials to reinforce their understanding of the writing practices presented. Surveys (HREC approved) revealed some students self-reporting increases in confidence in their writing practices, while others remained neutral. Overall, the assignments were better in 2020 than previous years. Our implementation will continue as core content. Ideally, future iterations of the writing workshops will be face-to-face to enable more focussed writing and feedback opportunities.

REFERENCES
McWilliams, R. & Allen, Q. (2014). Embedding Academic Literacy Skills: Towards a better practice model. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 11(3), 8.

Keywords


academic writing, blended learning, biological science, H5P, postgraduate

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