Understanding student preferences for one to one writing appointments post-pandemic
Keywords:pandemic, COVID-19, academic writing, near peer, academic skills, one to one support
The academic writing scheme at the university is a near-peer service, which provides students with the opportunity to book one to one appointments with an academic writing tutor. All academic writing tutors are currently studying for their PhD and offer support to students with planning assignments, being critical, structuring their writing, understanding tutor feedback and referencing. When launched in 2019, all appointments took place in-person in the university library. When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, the service moved online, with appointments taking place over Microsoft Teams. However, with this, we noticed a drop in appointment bookings.
Within this study, an online survey was conducted, and the 701 responses analysed to investigate students’ preferences in relation to the delivery of one to one writing appointments post-pandemic. The results indicated a preference for in-person appointments to be available, with 55.8% of the respondents choosing this. The main factor was the preference for communicating in-person as it allows for more questions and a natural conversation.
However, there is clearly still an appetite for appointments to be delivered online, with postgraduate students in particular expressing an interest in this format. Students indicated that the accessibility of appointments for students who are not on campus regularly as the biggest factor for choosing online as their preference.
It can be concluded that a hybrid model, where students can choose between the two appointment types is most appropriate, which along with increased targeted promotion to specific faculties and year groups, should increase the usage of the service.
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