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ERIC Number: ED346783
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The University as Context for Writing: How Undergraduates See It.
Procter, Margaret
A faculty member at the University of Toronto (Ontario) developed an informal survey designed to assess her undergraduate students' views of the writing they did during the course of their university studies. The survey consisted of a 2-page questionnaire that could be completed in 5 to 10 minutes; it was administered to 722 students during the academic years 1989-1990 and 1990-1991. The students were already in "writing intensive" courses, in that the writing of essays, reports, and essay type exams was essential to all their course work. The university prides itself on maintaining an emphasis on writing throughout its curriculum based on the British tradition of expecting students to write many essays. Analysis of the questionnaire responses suggested that there is a gap of attitude and understanding between the institution and the students on the importance and role of writing in university education. In particular, responses showed that students' enjoyment of writing is much stronger than their self-confidence; that as students move through their undergraduate career their self-confidence remains low and enjoyment also decreases; that students take writing seriously; that they are dissatisfied with the way writing is used in their education (because of uninteresting and artificial essay topics and dislike of the forms of academic writing); and that succeeding means getting the spelling, punctuation and grammar right. Further, the study suggests that student experience of learning by writing is one of restriction and punishment--a current of red marks all over their texts. The University of Toronto has recently set up a consultative group on writing to advise the central administration about ways to help students learn to write. This study shows that teachers can at least be sure that what they have to offer is wanted. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A