Critical Issues in Online Resourcing for International and Local Students' Academic Writing

Critical Issues in Online Resourcing for International and Local Students' Academic Writing

Rosemary Clerehan (Monash University, Australia) and Ian Walker (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-874-1.ch014


Notwithstanding the proliferation of web 2.0 modes of text production, the traditional essay or report remains a key component of learning and assessment in higher education. As such, it can pose problems for diverse cohorts of local and international students. In stage one of the current research with a large first-year marketing subject, a substantial proportion of students reported that they felt unprepared and did not fully understand the assessment requirements. Key issues identified were research, writing, and understanding assignment guidelines. The second stage involved the building of a website to address the identified needs and provide support, based on a contextualised view of writing as social practice. In stage three, students were surveyed to assess the helpfulness of the resources and the site was revised. It was concluded that, with appropriate research-based development, one resource can serve both international and local students, but questions remain regarding the future sustainability of such a resource.
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Whether face-to-face, online, or both, supportive learning environments which are sensitive to both the strengths and the weaknesses of learners’ ethno-cultural contexts will surely increasingly become a hallmark of quality higher education. In the case of online learning devised in Western institutions for diverse student audiences, the design models themselves, however, may be the product of a particular culture (Henderson, 1996). The dominant cultural literacy can unwittingly disadvantage a student if the curriculum materials lack sociocultural responsiveness (MacKinnon & Manathunga, 2003), to the point where there is potential for mediated education to become another form of neo-colonialism (Lauzon, 1999).

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