Supporting university staff to develop student writing: collaborative writing as a method of inquiry
Keywords:collaborative writing, writing as inquiry, writing workshop, mark making, exploratory process, writing in the curriculum
There is a feeling in the Learning Development community – and in academia more generally – that discipline staff see the academic writing of students as a problem better ‘fixed’ by others. However, staff at a writing workshop held within a learning and teaching conference revealed positions that were more nuanced, inflected, compassionate and ‘responsible’ than this. Writing collaboratively around the words produced by staff at our workshop, led to new insights into ways that staff could support student writing as an emergent practice. We decided to collect and share the many ways that discipline staff might be encouraged to harness writing in their own curriculum spaces: a staff guide on supporting writing and other forms of learning and assessment emerged. In this paper we discuss collaborative writing as a method of inquiry as we explore the contested terrain of academic writing, challenge the notion of ‘writing skills’, and model a more emergent form of exploratory writing.
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