Building confidence is central to all of this. And one place where confidence has historically been pretty low is in the academic writing skills that students bring to the table when they begin their course. With a such a wide variety of previous learning, understanding or application of writing skills, it is nigh on impossible to support each and every student in a way that progresses their ability to produce strong academic submissions right from the start.
So how do you remove the barriers to successful academic writing?
Our survey of more than 1700 students gathered insight into how students perceive the support they receive with their academic writing. It may come as no surprise that many of your students feel they lack the ability to spot potential issues with their writing, but you may find it concerning how many feel they lack the confidence even to reach out and ask for support.
It seems that a high proportion of your students simply won’t make use of academic writing support that requires interaction with a member of staff. A wide range of factors appear to influence this, and current circumstances suggest that students may retreat further still from this kind of support.
Together with the recent joint research published by Pearson and Wonkhe on students' experiences during and after COVID-19, these findings set the stage as to the way students expect universities to manage their interactions and online learning.
Out of hours, round-the-clock, on-demand. This is the type of support students want to be able to access – online and with the benefit of relative anonymity.
Whether or not the findings of this survey resonate with your experiences of supporting your own students with their writing, providing a range of opportunities for students to access timely support and feedback could make all the difference to those who never seem to ask for help.
Not only with encouraging them produce more effective assignments, but with their skills development, confidence in both their abilities and the support they receive from their university, as well as their willingness to stay the course.