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Wednesday, June 17 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.14 - Two successful strategies for improving students’ academic writing and study skills in Australia

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Many of the University of Newcastle (UoN), Australia’s students come from backgrounds including low SES, first-in-family and mature students, and they are underprepared to succeed at university study. UoN has recently implemented two strategies (one synchronous and one asynchronous) that provide academic writing and study skills to help these students achieve academic success. A student mentoring drop-in service utilising the skills of post-graduate students has been implemented to offer just-in-time assistance to students. Peer-supported writing programs available at other Australian rural university campuses were investigated (Dooley, Mc Niece & Martin, 2012; Williamson and Goldsmith, 2013) and the program initiated. The drop-in replaces individual consultations and structured workshops, and allows ‘just in time’ style support from post-graduate students in an open door fashion. A second support service, econsult, provides written feedback on a piece of writing by email. In 2010-11 we began exploring options for support that would best cater for students who were time poor, and juggling a variety of commitments that included study. As email usage is one of the most commonly held skills (Gray, et al, 2009) this was seen as the most effective method of making the service widely available. Any student can post their selected piece of writing and questions to the econsult address, and they are provided detailed personalised feedback within two days. This is especially helpful for students with multiple external commitments. Also, as most support offered is synchronous, it more closely aligns with the asynchronous nature of online and blended course delivery.


Dooley, S., Mc Niece, A., & Martin, J. (2012, November). Undergraduate students as academic skills tutors: A transformative experience. Paper presented at Students Support Student Learning (SSSL) Symposium, Victoria University, Melbourne. Retrieved from http://www.aall.org.au/sites/default/files/SSSL%20Symposium%202012%20eBook_0.pdf

Gray, K., Kennedy, G., Waycott, J., Dalgarno, B., Bennett, S., Chang, R., Judd, t., Bishop, A., Maton, K. and Krause, K (2009). Educating the Net Generation – A Toolkit for Educators in Australian Universities – 2009. Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Retrieved from http://www.netgen.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/toolkit/NetGenToolkit.pdf

Williamson, F. & Goldsmith, R. (2013) PASSwrite: Recalibrating student academic literacies development. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice. 10(2). Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol10/iss2/r

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

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