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The Writing Centre launches new online Assignment Planner to support student writing
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The Laurier Writing Centre on the Waterloo campus has introduced a new online writing resource that guides students through the process of researching and writing an academic paper.
“As class sizes have grown, the possibilities for in-class writing instruction have decreased,” said Emmy Misser, manager of the Writing Centre. “That is why we have created a readily accessible, online writing resource to supplement the writing instruction that goes on in the classroom.”
The Assignment Planner helps students complete an assignment over a projected timeline by breaking down the process into 11 steps. It suggests the time it should take to accomplish each step before the due date, and provides email reminders to help students manage their time. Each step gives succinct advice on a particular aspect of the research or writing process and introduces students to effective, evidence-based writing strategies, fleshed out with examples and links to relevant online resources.
“The Assignment Planner is ideal for facilitating writing instruction and supporting nested or cumulative assignments which are increasingly used by faculty to help students break down the research and writing process,” said Writing Consultant Boba Samuels.
“Some on-line writing programs can promote a mechanical approach to source use. The Assignment Planner, on the other hand, is designed to encourage students to understand and reflect critically upon how to use sources appropriately. Like Clicker technology, faculty use of the Assignment Planner can be individualized and adapted for in-class use.”
Laurier’s Assignment Planner is an in-house product that provides research-based instruction rather than general advice or tips for good writing. Said Samuels, “With the launch of the Assignment Planner, we use evidence from writing research to introduce systematic and detailed strategies to students so that they are able to improve their academic writing whenever they want to, as often as they need to, and in whatever way is most useful them."
“Using the Planner will supplement the writing instruction they receive in class and also make it feasible for large classes to access the expertise available in services like our Writing Centre.”
Ada Sharpe, the doctoral candidate responsible for leading the project, added, “The Planner enables students to take charge of their academic writing and research and learn to become strong, self-sufficient writers in the process. It invites students to engage in writing as a self-aware practice and to transcend entrenched thinking and writing habits.”