Archives for category: tools

Here is the abstract for a paper I presented at the Student Education Conference and Digital Festival, “Evidencing Excellence” in at the University of Leeds, 8 January 2016.

“Shut up and write!” Making academic writing social

Abstract
Writing is an area with which many students (and academics!) struggle, particularly as it is inherently a solitary practice. “Shut up and Write!” (“SU&W!”) sessions make academic writing social. The format which has recently become popular with researchers (Mewburn et al, 2014) can also be a powerful tool when shared with taught students. “SU&W!” was a departure for Skills@Library with a stronger experiential emphasis than traditional workshops can allow. This session will address how and why “SU&W!” helps students tackle procrastination and lack of focus. Skills@Library first trialled “SU&W!” for taught students as a one-off experiment. Feedback was extremely positive, so in summer 2015, ten “SU&W!” were offered, targeting primarily Masters students. This session uses personal reflections on the “SU&W!” process and analysis of student comments. “SU&W!” provides structured and focussed time with clear goals, providing students with immediate feedback on their writing process. Peer pressure prevents distraction; peer support helps with motivation and encourages student-to-student exchange of strategies for becoming better writers. Sessions are relatively simple to run and can act as a catalyst for students to set up their own groups.
By the end of this session, participants will have learned how and why “SU&W!” can be a powerful tool for reducing student isolation and developing excellent writing practices; and will have the tools to set-up sessions within their own context.

Link to Evidencing Excellence theme
“Shut up and write!” develops self-awareness in managing academic writing through modelling best practices. The session will also highlight applications and digital resources which can be used to support the writing process, both face-to-face and online.

How do you evidence excellence in use of this initiative and/or technology?
“SU&W!” sessions work with undergraduates, taught postgraduate and research students. They fit well with peer support initiatives; study skills sessions taught within modules as well as central provision. Once students have experienced the format they are encouraged to run groups themselves. Similar sessions could target other study skills, such as “Shut up and Read/Revise!”.
“SU&W!” may also be particularly appropriate for supporting part-time and distance students, using Skype.

Ways in which content or technology could be used in other disciplines / services
The session will include the student voice through examples of feedback on “Shut up and write!” sessions, including how it has informed/improved their writing practices.

Here is the hand out as used in sessions with students: Shut up and write2.

 

 

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I have been using Mendeley to manage all my bibliographic information for over a year now.  It does have limitations but ease of use and accessibility are proving a boon. I’ve become something of an evangelist and will be running a workshop at the ALDinHE conference in April. Here’s the abstract.

Manage your information social life using Mendeley

Mendeley is free academic software (Win, Mac & Linux) which enables you to manage, share, read, annotate and cite your research papers. It provides a research network to manage your papers online, discover research trends and statistics, and connect to like‐minded researchers. This workshop will introduce the key features of Mendeley for new users and explore examples how it can be used to set up collaborative projects, work and discuss in groups, and share data. It will be useful for anyone who needs to manage their own research or who supports students to do the same.

A Mendeley group for this workshop can be found at
http://www.mendeley.com/groups/1932651/aldinhe/

There’s also a webinar coming up introducing Mendeley for Librarians which is actually a general introduction. Sign up here.

Slides from the session:

Source: www.mendeley.com