Developing Academic Writing in Computing: what importance do employers place on high level transferable writing skills

A. Whitfield, C. Parkinson, M. O'Doherty, C. Beaumont

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Employers require graduates to have transferable skills including analytical, evaluative and organisational skills. Students in computing often privilege practical skills above academic literacy, evaluative and organisational skills. They often demonstrate a reluctance to engage in the process of developing their own writing skills. It is important that students are aware of the place writing has in the industry and their future. This paper examines how one new University approached the task of improving computing students' ability to write in an academic way, emphasising the relationship to employers needs. The project aimed to develop first year Computing students' competence and confidence in their academic writing skills through improved feedback. To enable good feedback practice, the design and delivery of a feed forward cycle of systematic, formative guidance was planned [2] [11]. Within this integrated programme, formative learning activities were embedded which aimed to enhance students' engagement with writing for assessment. In particular, weekly sessions provided the opportunity for dialogue including a discussion of the writing process and the role of academic writing within the students own professional development. Students baseline understanding was measured against their understanding on completion and performance indicated a significant improvement between 2006/7 (control group) and 2007/8 (intervention group) cohorts of Computing students. There was a 27% increase in students achieving a grade above C (or equivalent %) in their first written assignment. The importance of developing skills required by employers [4] and the importance of independent learning that takes the student beyond graduation [3] informed the work of this project.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 17 Nov 200819 Nov 2008


ConferenceInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation


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