Timetabling Workshops

Other People’s Writing
Peer Mentoring for Academic Writing
Christine Hardy and Ed Foster
Student Academic Writing
• Given time constraints
• Taken as a given that there are problems with students’ academic
Changing nature of writing in school & FE
Greater diversity in student intake
Higher numbers & lower staff/ student ratios
Increasing use of alt formats for comms
• Has consequences for learners
– In extreme cases this includes retention
• In small groups, please consider the different types of writing
students undertaking an undergraduate programme are asked to do
– 2 minutes
– Prizes for the longest (legitimate) list
At least 64 different types of writing,
Examination essay
Final year undergraduate
Literature review
OHP/PowerPoint slides
Poster text
Work placement log
Performance review
Written material to support
visual work
Reflective journal
Log book
Film Script
Technical report
Art/design critique
Annotated bibliography
Book review
Case study
Business plan
Popular article
(Ganobcsik- Williams, 2004)
Approaches to developing writing
• Generic Writing Courses
– Often part of 1st year skills/ professional modules
• Teaching Writing in the Disciplines (WID)
– Reflecting on the discipline-specific nature of academic writing
• Study Support/Study Skills Tutoring
- Central/ School/ faculty based
• Computerised Support for Student Writing
– Usually tests and exemplars, some experiments in feedback
• Dedicated one-to-one tutoring in academic writing
by an academic
by a specialist non-academic
Provided by an external source
Peer mentoring
Peer Mentoring
• Mentoring is “the relationship between a less experienced person
and a more experienced partner who guides and supports [them]”
– Falchikov (2001)
• Originates from US, Supplemental Instruction (SI)
– Originally for students on demanding subjects with high failure rates
– Well integrated into programmes of study in which SI sessions follow the
curriculum, providing structured revision/ reflection
• Sporadic use in UK
– Most significant impact at Bournemouth
– Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) http://pal.bournemouth.ac.uk/
– Postgraduate students helping undergraduates with academic writing
Academic Writing Mentoring in CADBE
All mentors are:
- Postgraduate students
- Recruited and selected
- Trained
- Supported
All mentors worked in pairs
Recruitment and Training
• Job Description and Personnel Specification
• The interview
• Training day
– Reflected on own writing experience
– Reviewed sample essays
– Discussed boundaries and limitations
• Support for the mentors
– Learning & Teaching Officer (Academic Writing) sat in once a week to discuss
issues and challenges with mentors
– Discussed problems with school staff
Marketing the scheme
• Marketing to undergraduate students
– Posters
– Emails
– Over time, increasingly through academic staff
Managing the process
• Timetabling/scheduling & venue
– Hard-to-find rooms
– Working across two schools
• Employment and payment issues
– Administratively burdensome
• Staff engagement in the scheme and embedding within the College
– Needed much greater level of buy-in from staff
Lessons learnt
• Feedback from colleagues
– Students who used service were positive about the experience
But it’s not an ‘easy’ option
Recruiting mentors and training relatively easy to facilitate
Requires relatively high levels of administrative support (timetabling & pay)
Unless embedded as ‘normal’, hard to get undergraduate engagement
Mentors need information from subject tutors
• Mentors (video)
– Some thoughts from two of the student mentors
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FQIA7mwRFU