Using software to engage design students in academic writing

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 2018, 28 (3), pp. 885 - 898
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© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. First year undergraduate design students have found difficulties in realising the standards expected for academic writing at university level. An assessment initiative was used to engage students with criteria and standards for a core interdisciplinary design subject notable for its demanding assessment of academic writing. The same graduate attribute categories linked to assessment criteria and web-based software (REVIEW™) were used for assessing students’ other design assignments. Students engaged with criterion-referenced assessment of an essay exemplar in order to reflect on their own essay writing process. Tutor marking of the exemplar and student essays used a visual mark on a grading scale to reveal the variation between the tutor’s marks and students’ own judgments against each criterion. Data from the software and post-semester focus group discussions and questionnaires showed that the initiative promoted engagement and dialogue between tutors and students and fostered independence and confidence. Results suggest that students’ understanding of the required academic writing standards was improved by this reflective intervention and increased their appreciation that writing and research skills are important attributes for designers.
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