Academic Writing

The following resources are designed to help you assess and develop your students’ academic writing skills.
All our resources are available for free educational use under a Creative Commons licence. You are welcome to link to them, use them and adapt them if necessary for your students, but please acknowledge LearnHigher as authors.

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Creative Learning Activity Cards

Creative Learning Activity Cards are an interactive teaching and learning resource for students of creative subjects at Foundation, BA or MA level to help scaffold student academic skills. This evidence-based resource consists of 50 activity cards divided into five sections of ten cards on: • Planning• Research• Thinking• Writing• Wild Card (includes tips for overcoming writer’s block, anxiety and procrastination, and building motivation) The cards can be used as materials in both online and face-to-face facilitated seminars or workshops, as the basis for teaching in lectures or as an independent study resource for students.To print you can use PowerPoint option of choosing number of slides per page, e.g. 4 slides per A4 and cut them out. You could also choose single page and print the desired ones to full A4 so they can be used as A4 handouts. Another option could be using photo paper, e.g. 10x15cm and print them individually (select 'fill whole page' option via printer setting).

Activity time:

Types of media: Worksheet, Slides, PowerPoint File, Interactive Learning Object

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Freewriting

This resource encourages students to write on a given topic for a set amount of time. It is is designed to test information recall ability as well as help students improve their confidence in their writing ability.

Activity time: 20 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet, Word Document

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Checklist: Editing & proofreading your assignment

The document is a checklist, which could complement a teaching session on editing and proofreading skills. It could be used as a study guide for independent learning, or it could also used in class for students to observe/revise/critique a piece of writing.

Activity time: 15 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Helpsheet

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Critical thinking: an introduction

The material covers the basics of what critical thinking is, and how this abstract concept is realised in actual academic reading and writing. It was originally used for a generic 30-minute webinar on the topic, but it is recommended for a session of 45+ minutes to allow sufficient for students to engage in the interactive activities (e.g. analysing a text).

Activity time:

Types of media: PowerPoint File, Word Document

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Excelling at critical analysis: a 3-stage method with an image

The aim of this activity is to clarify the difference between descriptive and analytical writing and emphasise the importance of research-based argument. Participants engage in an interactive 3-stage exercise that interrogates a (visual) text in order to generate a piece of academic writing.

Activity time: 1 hour

Types of media: Handout/s, Slides, PowerPoint File

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Videos to develop dissertation writing

Discuss the requirements of each dissertation chapterApply the advice to your own dissertation

Activity time: Videos from 13-22 minutes each, but further time needed to complete activities

Types of media: PowerPoint File, Video

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Using an academic glossary

Academic glossary booklet, and slides and activity sheet

Activity time: 30 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Slides, PowerPoint File, Word Document

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Essays: Conclusion paragraphs

Identify common parts in conclusion paragraphs for essays.

Activity time: 2 minutes

Types of media: Video

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Feedforward check sheet

Students will be able to:Explain the different writing features of different writing examples (and their own work if applicable)Compare and contrast the effect of different ways of writing an assessmentUse their analysis of different assessment examples to produce specific actions for their own writing

Activity time: 20-60 minutes, depending on length of the assessments which are being examined

Types of media: Worksheet

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Learn Hacks

The animations are all based around the themes of productivity, curation, discovery, collaboration, impact and transferable skills. It is to highlight the many ways students can engage with technology to improve their learning experience.

Activity time: 3 minutes

Types of media: Video

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Easy Proofreading Wins with Microsoft Word

By completing these learning resources, students will be able to: Appreciate the limits and uses of Microsoft Word in aiding proofreading beyond built-in spelling and grammar checks. Use A-Z sort, Find, and Find and Replace to eliminate common proofreading errors efficiently. Find further free sources of developmental support for proofreading skills.

Activity time: 30 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet, Word Document, Quiz

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Focusing on the functions and qualities of writing using Wrasse

A classroom activity, designed to help students recognise the broad functions of academic writing

Activity time: 20 minutes

Types of media: Webpage

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Writing for Assignments E-library (Wrasse)

Students can browse examples of students work from a number of subject areas, and see comments from lecturers

Activity time: Variable

Types of media: Webpage

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Critical thinking and reflection

A comprehensive range of guides exploring the critical thinking process.

Activity time: Up to 1 hour

Types of media: Handout/s, Video, Interactive Learning Object

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Is a dissertation just a longer report?

This guide is designed to show you how to adapt your current report writing practices for doing a longer independent research project like a dissertation.

Activity time: Unknown time

Types of media: Webpage, Helpsheet

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Academic writing for reports

A group editorial activity aimed at highlighting examples of bad practice in academic writing. Presents the opportunty to make selective changes in order to develop academic writing skills.

Activity time: 25 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s

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Writing clearly and concisely

A helpsheet explaining how to write clearly and concisely. Includes sections on the use of long words and abbreviations.

Activity time: Varies

Types of media: Helpsheet

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Academic writing with free writing

Workshop activities on academic writing, including a powerpoint download outlining activities.

Activity time: Activities range from 1-10 minutes.

Types of media: PowerPoint File

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Getting started with writing

This resource includes ideas for initiating discussions about writing with students, and facilitates the opportunity to begin writing assignments during the activity.

Activity time: Varies

Types of media: Slides, PowerPoint File

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Essay writing pack

A downloadable workbook for students which can be tailored to different essay questions. The workbook structures enables the essay to be structured in an orderly way, allowing for the process to be learned as the assignment is completed.

Activity time: Varies

Types of media: Helpsheet, Word Document, Interactive Learning Object

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Free writing

A resource which would be particularly useful for staff teaching on a creative writing programme. Includes two structured writing exercises and information on free writing.

Activity time: Varies

Types of media: Webpage, Helpsheet, PowerPoint File

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How to start writing

An overview of some techniques to get started with writing after conducting research for an assignment. Includes information about planning, freewriting, structuring and writing paragraphs.Includes a worksheet for students to download and keep for reference.

Activity time: 30 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet, Word Document

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Approaching the Question

This resource highlights the importance of fully considering an essay title and offers guidance on essay title interpretation. The resource suggests how identifying directive words, the topic area and limiting words may help students to organise and structure their essays effectively, and thus obtain higher grades.

Activity time: 20 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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Commas

This resource identifies how attention to punctuation, particularly standard comma use, may improve coherence and grades. The main uses of commas are identified, such as listing, bracketing and joining. Explanations and examples are given for the context in which they are most commonly correctly utilised in academic work.

Activity time: 20 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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Planning your work

This resource highlights the importance of planning work, and how this may improve essay coherence and structure. According to personal preference, the resource offers the linear, cornell or mindmapping approach to planning as guidance for achieving higher grades.

Activity time: 20 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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How to structure your writing

Highlighting the importance of structure to constructing clear and effective communication, this resource offers advice on improving structure and planning in academic writing. The resource offers techniques, particularly essay focus and basic structures, which may help to improve student work.

Activity time: 20 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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How to structure a paragraph

This resource highlights the importance of clear and effective paragraphing to essay coherence. The resource explains the basic aims and structure of a paragraph, along with a checklist of features. Signposting words and phrases can be particularly useful for introducing theory, linking or concluding an essay.

Activity time: 20 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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What is academic writing?

This resource identifies the common key features of academic writing, such as formality, correct grammar and a logical structure, and how this may be different from other forms of writing.

Activity time: 20 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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Assignment Paraphrase

Based on the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) approach, this resource prompts students to consider the assignment question and discuss the ways in which they would answer it prior to beginning writing. A full understanding of the assignment title or question is crucial to obtain the best possible mark.

Activity time: 20 minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet, Word Document

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The Three Liner

This resource provides an activity which aims to ensure students stay focused on the essay question. Students answer the essay question with a one-word answer, and then expand on this forming a basis for each paragraph, and so on.

Activity time: 20 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet, Word Document

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Revision techniques podcast

This resource, a podcast, offers advice on revision techniques and dealing with examination stress. This includes varying peer-to-peer tips, as well as lecturer guidance.

Activity time: 15 Minutes

Types of media: Podcast, MP3

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Academic writing for exams podcast

This resource features a podcast which focuses upon academic writing technique. The podcast particularly concerns lecturer feedback regarding the importance of focusing on the essay title given.

Activity time: 15 Minutes

Types of media: Podcast, MP3

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Checking your assignments’ references

This resource highlights the importance of referencing to the overall assignment quality. The resource directs students to proof-read their work and identify correct use of referencing in the main body of the essay, as well as in the reference list itself.

Activity time: 30 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet

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