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AWC Online is a collection of writing and peer-reviewing editing exercises which allows students to develop their writing skills. AWC Online students are assigned weekly writing tasks and editing tasks. Editing tasks consist of specific questions which assist students in providing constructive feedback rather than criticism. Guided editing tasks help students to re-evaluate and improve their own writing. Students then rate the usefulness of the critique they received. In this way, points are awarded for effort rather than existing ability or experience. The entire process is strictly anonymous. The AWC takes on a supportive role for the duration of the course. Students receive weekly readings and emails.
The project aims to design a course on academic writing which uses partial supervision and peer-editing, an efficient and timely method of increasing students’ writing proficiency. The course is entitled AWC Online. AWC stands for the Academic Writing Centre at the James Hardiman Library, a unit that provides free one-on-one tutorials on academic writing to all NUI Galway students.
AWC Online was developed as a staff-student EXPLORE by Dr Ira Ruppo Malone (staff partner) and Patricia O’Beirne (student partner). The project partners found that the abundance of grammar guides in the internet contrasted with the scarcity of opportunities for students to practice their writing in a guided manner. AWC Online addresses this problem by establishing a process which enables students to learn from each other. AWC Online differs from currently available online writing courses. Its design is the result of research into different approaches to teaching writing.
AWC Online is now used by the following disciplines: Earth and Ocean Sciences (1st year students); Science (2nd year students); Law (2nd year students); Engineering (1st year students).