Scaling Academic Writing Instruction: Evaluation of a Scaffolding Tool (Thesis Writer)

Published on Dec 1, 2018
· DOI :10.1007/s40593-017-0162-z
Christian Rapp4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Zürcher Fachhochschule),
Peter Emau Kauf1
Estimated H-index: 1
No thesis - no graduation. Academic writing poses manifold challenges to students, instructors and institutions alike. High labor costs, increasing student numbers, and the Bologna Process (which has reduced the period after which undergraduates in Europe submit their first thesis and thus the time available to focus on writing skills) all pose a threat to students’ academic writing abilities. This situation gave rise to the practical goal of this study: to determine if, and to what extent, academic writing and its instruction can be scaled (i.e., designed more efficiently) using a technological solution, in this case Thesis Writer (TW), a domain-specific, online learning environment for the scaffolding of student academic writing, combined with an online editor optimized for producing academic text. Compared to existing automated essay scoring and writing evaluation tools, TW is not focusing on feedback but on instruction, planning, and genre mastery. While most US-based tools, particularly those also used in secondary education, are targeting on the essay genre, TW is tailored to the needs of theses and research article writing (IMRD scheme). This mixed-methods paper reports data of a test run with a first-year course of 102 business administration students. A technology adoption model served as a frame of reference for the research design. From a student’s perspective, problems posed by the task of writing a research proposal as well as the use, usability, and usefulness of TW were studied through an online survey and focus groups (explanatory sequential design). Results seen were positive to highly positive – TW is being used, and has been deemed supportive by students. In particular, it supports the scaling of writing instruction in group assignment settings.
  • References (48)
  • Citations (4)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
32 Citations
3 Citations
4 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Laura K. AllenH-Index: 10
Last. Danielle S. McNamaraH-Index: 50
view all 3 authors...
15 Citations
#1Madalina Chitez (Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)H-Index: 3
#2Christian Rapp (Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)H-Index: 4
Last. Otto Kruse (Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)H-Index: 6
view all 3 authors...
Phraseology has long been used in L2 teaching of academic writing, and corpus linguistics has played a major role in the compilation and assessment of academic phrases. However, there are only a few interactive academic writing tools in which corpus methodology is implemented in a real-time design to support formulation processes. In this paper, we describe several corpus-related methods that we have developed and implemented as part of an interactive thesis-writing tool, Thesis Writer, designed...
2 CitationsSource
Part I: A Conceptual Framework for the Field of Mixed Methods Research Chapter 1: Why a Guide to the Field of Mixed Methods Research? Introducing a Conceptual Framework of the Field The Essence of Mixed Methods Research The Field of Mixed Methods Research The Need for a Guide for Navigating the Field of Mixed Methods Research The Socio-Ecological Framework for the Field of Mixed Methods Research Application of the Socio-Ecological Framework to a Mixed Methods Study Using the Socio-Ecological Fra...
42 Citations
#1Michael D. Williams (Swansea University)H-Index: 33
#2Nripendra P. Rana (Swansea University)H-Index: 28
Last. Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University)H-Index: 51
view all 3 authors...
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to perform a systematic review of articles that have used the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT). Design/methodology/approach – The results produced in this research are based on the literature analysis of 174 existing articles on the UTAUT model. This has been performed by collecting data including demographic details, methodological details, limitations, and significance of relationships between the constructs from the available ar...
135 CitationsSource
#1Christian Rapp (Zürcher Fachhochschule)H-Index: 4
#2Otto Kruse (Zürcher Fachhochschule)H-Index: 6
Last. Jakob Ott (Zürcher Fachhochschule)H-Index: 1
view all 4 authors...
Learning to write in academic contexts is a challenging task faced by many students, and no less challenging is the instruction and tutoring of student writers. The most demanding paper students have to write is their thesis, which is equally an important part of their learning program as it is for graduation requirements. This new online support system aids thesis writing through a variety of tools and tutorials, guiding students through the writing process from initial idea to completed thesis...
5 CitationsSource
#1Rod D. Roscoe (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 19
#2Laura K. Allen (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 10
Last. Danielle S. McNamara (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 50
view all 5 authors...
The Writing Pal (W-Pal) is an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) designed to improve students’ writing proficiency via a unique combination of explicit strategy instruction, game-based practice, essay writing practice, and automated formative feedback. To develop and refine the many features of the W-Pal tutoring system, we have employed a multiple-method usability testing approach, which capitalizes on the complementary strengths and weakness of methods such as focus groups, component studies, i...
47 CitationsSource
#1Ming Liu (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 11
#2Rafael A. Calvo (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 33
Last. Vasile Rus (U of M: University of Memphis)H-Index: 23
view all 3 authors...
Critical review skill is one important aspect of academic writing. Generic trigger questions have been widely used to support this activity. When students have a concrete topic in mind, trigger questions are less effective if they are too general. This article presents a learning-to-rank based system which automatically generates specific trigger questions from citations for critical review support. The performance of the proposed question ranking models was evaluated and the quality of generate...
10 Citations
#1Eva-Maria JakobsH-Index: 12
#2Daniel PerrinH-Index: 10
This handbook explains state-of-the-art research on writing and text production, focusing on theory and methodology, authors, modes/media, genres, and domains. Exemplary research projects illustrate the theoretical perspectives from globally relevant research spaces and traditions. Both established and future scholars can benefit from the handbook's fresh approach to real-life writing in a globally connected, multi-semiotic, and mediatized world.
10 CitationsSource
#1Gabriela RuhmannH-Index: 2
#2Otto KruseH-Index: 6
#1Matthew A. Stevenson (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 48
#2Aek Phakiti (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 12
Abstract This study provides a critical review of research into the effects of computer-generated feedback, known as automated writing evaluation (AWE), on the quality of students’ writing. An initial research survey revealed that only a relatively small number of studies have been carried out and that most of these studies have examined the effects of AWE feedback on measures of written production such as scores and error frequencies. The critical review of the findings for written production m...
40 CitationsSource
Cited By4
#1Jalal Nouri (Stockholm University)H-Index: 7
#2Ken Larsson (Stockholm University)H-Index: 5
Last. Mohammed Saqr (University of Eastern Finland)H-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
The master thesis is the last formal step in most universities around the world. However, all students do not finish their master thesis. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the non-completion of the master thesis should be viewed as a substantial problem that requires serious attention and proactive planning. This learning analytics study aims to understand better factors that influence completion and non-completion of master thesis projects. More specifically, we ask: which student and super...
#1Carola Strobl (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 3
#2Emilie Ailhaud (University of Lyon)H-Index: 1
Last. Christian Rapp (Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library)H-Index: 4
view all 7 authors...
Abstract This paper presents a review of the technologies designed to support writing instruction in secondary and higher education. The review covers tools to support first and second language writers and focuses on instructional affordances based on their technological specifications. Previous studies in this field centred on Automated Writing Evaluation, Automated Essay Scoring and the rarer Intelligent Tutoring Systems, addressing mainly essay writing needs in US secondary school instruction...
1 CitationsSource
#1Otto Kruse (Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)H-Index: 6
#2Christian Rapp (Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)H-Index: 4
This chapter extends the scope of the term ‘seamless learning’ to include writing as one of the most prominent learning activities in education. The seamless learning concept is used to analyse the ongoing flow of digital innovation with respect to the changing instructional and intellectual positioning of writing in its various contexts. The term ‘seams’ is interpreted as frictions or barriers in the writer’s experience, and the concept of ‘seamlessness’ refers to coherence in the practice and ...
#1Ido Roll (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 23
#2Daniel M. Russell (Google)H-Index: 28
Last. Dragan Gasevic (Monash University)H-Index: 38
view all 3 authors...
Learning at Scale is a fast growing field that affects formal, informal, and workplace education. Highly interdisciplinary, it builds on solid foundations in the learning sciences, computer science, education, and the social sciences. We define learning at scale as the study of the technologies, pedagogies, analyses, and theories of learning and teaching that take place with a large number of learners and a high ratio of learners to facilitators. The scale of these environments often changes the...
3 CitationsSource