Date(s) - 26/11/2018
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
The UTS 2027 strategy will continue to emphasise the importance of authentic learning for students. Internships, work placements, community service, overseas exchanges and role play team simulations are all contexts in which students experience something of the complexity of real world professional practice.
The question is what and how do students learn from these experiences? One of the most established methods is to ask students to reflect on this in writing. Done well, this can be extremely powerful, but done poorly, it is often experienced as a superficial, meaningless ‘diary’ that is written by students out of obligation.
Now clearly, there’s nothing as valuable as detailed instruction on reflective writing, and then receiving feedback from a good mentor. But this is (i) a scarce skillset and (ii) it’s very labour-intensive. The practical consequence is that many students do not understand what good reflective writing is, and do not receive good feedback on their work. For these reasons, there’s growing interest in the potential of automated techniques to relieve some of the load.
The Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) at UTS has developed a website providing automated feedback on student writing, called AcaWriter. This helps develop students’ reflective writing by providing immediate, actionable feedback on their writing. This has been used in UTS in several contexts, and this workshop will share some of those examples.
In particular, using the software standalone without integrating it in its educational context isn’t enough for students to make the best use of it. For learning analytic tools like AcaWriter to have a meaningful impact on learners, the tools should be embedded in the pedagogical context. In our workshop, we will demonstrate the use of AcaWriter for writing feedback and how we design learning activities around it for different pedagogic contexts.
We will show examples of learning activities integrating AcaWriter in a pedagogical context implemented in UTS: an undergraduate pharmacy unit for relecting on work placements. These models can help you design similar learning activities for students using AcaWriter in your own pedagogical contexts.
So bring along your laptop and some sample writing so you can play with AcaWriter and see how it can help improve your students’ reflective writing.
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