Angus Dalrymple-Smith and Daniëlle Teeuwen, two lecturers in this course, have experienced that the current way of teaching these academic skills, which involves a standard lecture format in which the core principles are explained, is not very effective as it does not take account of the differences in students’ learning needs and styles. The aim of the education innovation project is to make better use of the possibilities of digital learning technologies to create a flexible course in which teachers can blend online and classroom activities to provide as much, or as little training in academic writing that each student needs.
The new programme will consist of three online modules, which will enable lecturers to follow the students’ progress step-by-step and to give personalised feedback. The modules will cover the following topics: (1) finding academic literature, and understanding the differences between different types of academic sources; (2) referencing and plagiarism; (3) essay writing. Each module will follow the test–teach–test format: to start there will be a basic test which students make before the start of the class, and which assesses students' existing knowledge and skills. Secondly, there will be an interactive lesson, supported by digital exercises. Lastly, there will be a more extensive test to assess whether the students master the skills discussed in class. Both tests will be open ended: if students score highly and therefore demonstrate they understand academic writing skills, the quiz ends. If they score poorly, they are directed to further activities and explanations to help develop their knowledge. All the results will be made available to the teacher so they can identify students who need extra attention and help.
This academic skills programme will be made available in both Dutch and English, and, importantly, can be adjusted in detail to make it suitable to other Bsc or Msc programmes.