About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7768-7776
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain

UNIVERSITY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS' PERSPECTIVES ON ACADEMIC WRITING: A CASE FROM A UNIVERSITY IN ESTONIA

D. Leijen1, A. Jürine1, I. Tragel2

1University of Tartu, Centre for Academic Writing and Communication (ESTONIA)
2University of Tartu, Department of Estonian and General Linguistics (ESTONIA)
This study discusses the needs for developing academic writing skills at the University of Tartu, and Estonia. The shift from European education being elite oriented to mass oriented, international, and represented many different languages in combination with the introduction of the Bologna process has placed additional strain on academic writing (Björk, Bräuer, Rienecker, & Stray Jörgensen (2003); Ruhmann, 2003; Kruse, 2013). As current writing practice in a broader European Higher Educational (HE) context shows, students entering the first year are often unprepared for academic writing requirements set by universities (Kruse, 2003; 2013). This in stark contrast to North America, Australia and the UK (Russell, 2001), where the teaching of writing has developed to form specific traditions, such as those represented by the process approach of writing (Flower & Hayes, 1980; 1981), the Writing-in-the-Discipline tradition (WID) (Russell, 2001), or, as Kruse (2013) also points out, the Academic Literacies Approach (ACLIT), and the academic writing genre approach embedded in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) (Swales, 1995, 2004, Swales and Feak, 2011) and academic discourse (Hyland, 1998, 2000). One reason for this unpreparedness is the gap between writing requirements set by secondary educational institutions in comparison to higher education. In addition, the lack of writing traditions across Europe, transformations of national academic cultures, and the diversity of language demands have often not supported the development of an common understanding of the academic writing genre.

In order to fill these shortcomings in academic writing in higher educational, initiatives have been taken and are being taken to structurally support academic writing. The study investigates the current writing landscape at the University of Tartu to determine primarily how writing is utilized in the different disciplines, and how students at different study levels as well as across different disciplines perceive and experience academic writing. Secondly, the data, obtained from a large-scale university-wide web-based survey, was used to determine whether and how academic writing could be both supported and developed.

The main results of the survey indicate that the most common academic writing tasks among students are exam writing, academic essays, and abstracts. Less common are literature review papers and summaries. As the study level of students increase, the variety of writing decreases and there is a greater focus on thesis writing. In general, across all study levels, students indicate that academic writing is important for their studies. Interestingly, students seem to rate their writing abilities much higher in comparison to how teachers rate the writing ability of students. Despite the fact that students rate their writing skills higher than teachers, they find it important that the university would offer them support for their writing assignments both personally for themselves and for students in general. Based on these findings, we strongly support the idea that a centre for academic writing and communication can teach and support academic writing skills in Estonian and English by utilizing and training students who have good academic writing skills to help their fellow students. Additional results and possible solutions will be presented at the conference.
@InProceedings{LEIJEN2015UNI,
author = {Leijen, D. and J{\"{u}}rine, A. and Tragel, I.},
title = {UNIVERSITY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS' PERSPECTIVES ON ACADEMIC WRITING: A CASE FROM A UNIVERSITY IN ESTONIA},
series = {7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN15 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-8243-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {7768-7776}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Leijen AU - A. Jürine AU - I. Tragel
TI - UNIVERSITY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS' PERSPECTIVES ON ACADEMIC WRITING: A CASE FROM A UNIVERSITY IN ESTONIA
SN - 978-84-606-8243-1/2340-1117
PY - 2015
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2015
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN15 Proceedings
SP - 7768
EP - 7776
ER -
D. Leijen, A. Jürine, I. Tragel (2015) UNIVERSITY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS' PERSPECTIVES ON ACADEMIC WRITING: A CASE FROM A UNIVERSITY IN ESTONIA, EDULEARN15 Proceedings, pp. 7768-7776.
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