MyStudyWorks is a new tool that has recently been developed by an academic team in Australia in response to concerns that many students arriving at university with poorly-developed writing skills or English as a second language. This challenge is evidenced in the research where numerous papers describe efforts to improve students’ academic writing skills. Poor writing can be a serious impediment to students’ confidence and education outcomes and often leads to dropout, particularly in the first year. MyStudyWorks is a holistic approach, providing students, academics and institutions with a comprehensive solution for writing and giving support. It is a cloud-based platform assisting students to improve their critical thinking and academic writing skills, simplify compliance with academic standards and better manage all aspects of their submissions.
A wizard helps students create a scaffold, providing structure, so they organise their thoughts and communicate more effectively. An algorithm is used to suggest word count allocation for each topic or section. Students can review their whole document, including the pages, appendices and if the formatting has been pre-set, it is now applied. At any stage the student can return to the Write tab and edit their paper. If editing alters the sequencing of references, images or attachments, the sequencing is automatically updated. All versions of the documents are retained so students can go back and retrieve text they may have deleted.
Academics have real-time visibility of students’ work in progress, better interaction with and support for students throughout the lifecycle of their assignments and easier identification of struggling students. Institutions get real-time activity related data to help student support, enhance the student experience, and have a powerful asset to attract and retain more students from all avenues.
Successful students understand the importance of research and using the right terminology. MyStudyWorks has a setting for key terminology, authors and readings (KTAR) to encourage these behaviours. Lecturers can set their own KTAR, then track student usage. They can also decide whether to make KTAR visible to the students or not. As students often struggle with the referencing aspect of writing papers, so to remove any confusion or difficulty, MyStudyWorks uses a 3-step wizard to simplify referencing, which automatically generates the in-text citation and reference list/bibliography.
The session will demonstrate the tool, describe its evolution and give the results of pilot studies that are about to be conducted this year in the UK and Australia. The pilots are intended to give institutions the opportunity to test the product with one ot two groups of students to
* help address specific goals such as retaining students, or improving student and academics experiences, etc.
* to undertand how the tool can align with current practices, and
* explore the potential of integration into a VLE.
The pilots are negotiated on either meeting agreed success criteria with the full costs being credited against future licences or on a 50% rebate if there are no agreed critieria. Feedback on the product and suggestion on future enhancements is key to the pilot partnerships
Ingale, G.S.D. (2017). Techniques in teaching writing skills. IUP Journal of English Studies, 12(1), 16-20
Piršl, D., Piršl, T. & Kesić, D. (2011). Writing skills at university level, SportLogia, 7(1), 69−72
Surono, S.I. (2015). Importance of academic writing skills at the university. Presentation to British Council English in Higher Education Conference, Jakarta, March, 2015. Available at https://www.britishcouncil.id/sites/default/files/parallel_session_2_-_ingrid_surono-_binus_university.pdf
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