Preliminary essay plans: assisting students to engage academic literacy in a first year communication course

Kiernan, Eleanor and Lawrence, Jill and Sankey, Michael D. (2006) Preliminary essay plans: assisting students to engage academic literacy in a first year communication course. In: Proceedings of the 9th Pacific Rim in Higher Education Conference: Engaging students. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1-10. ISBN 0-646-46313-6

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[Abstract]: The engagement and retention of first year students has become a critical component of
university endeavour as the diversity of the student body increases and as student enrolments
drop. This paper documents a research study evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention
strategy designed to increase students’ capacities to engage with their university studies. The
intervention strategy comprises part of the assessment in a core first year communication
course conducted by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Southern Queensland. A
preliminary essay plan was introduced to help students become more familiar with academic
processes to help them with their major essay – assignment 3. The research study measured
the effectiveness of this strategy by first comparing the mean mark of the final essay before
and after the preliminary essay plan was introduced and secondly, by documenting students’
comments about the assignment. It was found that students’ mean score for their essays
increased by a grade from a ‘C’ to a ‘B’. While this result was encouraging there were other
variables (changes in class format, other assessment items and staffing) that could have
contributed to this increase. Nevertheless, the results warranted further investigation. A
qualitative analysis of student perceptions revealed wider benefits of the PEP beyond
improved marks such as enhanced student planning and engagement with the course

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author retains copyright. This is the published version of the paper, although it doesn't have conference details on it.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Distance and e-Learning Centre
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:36
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: engagement, first year students, higher education, first year communication course, University of Southern Queensland, essay writing
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200199 Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education

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