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Theme: Support Systems and Programs

What lecturers' want: an investigation of lecturers' expectations in first year essay writing tasks

Iris Vardi
Teaching and Learning Development Officer
Edith Cowan University

When students first enter university, they are often introduced to a range of disciplines, each allowing students to experience what it might be like to study further in that area. However, the excitement of experiencing new and different ways of thinking about information can be overshadowed by the difficulties students encounter in expressing these in writing as they move from one unit to another, and as a result, from one discipline to another as well as from one set of lecturer expectations to the next. This paper explores some of the writing challenges students face when they move from unit to unit by examining a snapshot of one semester's essay writing requirements along with lecturer expectations as revealed through in-depth interviews with first year lecturers in a multidisciplinary compulsory first year. The differing requirements and expectations in writing are compared between units and used as a basis for analysing some of the reasons why students experience difficulty and why lecturers are often so frustrated with the written performance of their students.

Full Paper in MS Word

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