New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Online-Teaching of Creative Writing of Scientific Publications and Project Proposals Using Google Apps

Andreas Zitek, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria)

Alexandra Strauss-Sieberth, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria)

Dominik Ruffeis, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria)


Scientific writing is a core competence of academics, either to communicate their research in a structured way or to apply for project funding. It also supports the learning process itself. Efficient courses are offered rarely, taking an appropriate theoretical, motivational and interactive approach in guiding students through the process of writing which is considered the only way of effectively teaching this competence. Options to manage the distribution of teaching materials, to scaffold the writing process and to provide individualized feedback in time need to be established. To fulfil the above-mentioned requirements an interactive course for creative writing and teaching was developed within an Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development APPEAR project (SCARA-Strengthening Capacities for Agricultural Education, Research and Adoption in Kenya) for students at the Egerton University, Kenya. APPEAR is a programme of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) with the aim to implement its strategy for support of higher education and research for development on an academic institutional level as a contribution to effective and sustainable reduction of poverty. To effectively distribute the content of the lectures and pre-structured template documents with clear guidance for writing, Google Drive together with Google Documents and Google Doctopus was chosen. This setup provided the option to track individual student progresses and allowed for individual feedback. To assess the perceived efficiency of the course, a student evaluation using Google forms was conducted at the end of the course. Out of 23 students 19 provided feedback. According to the feedback received, the course was able to engage students and to significantly enhance their competences in scientific writing of papers and proposals. The chosen approach based on Google Drive and Doctopus was rated as highly efficient in supporting the teaching and learning process. In conclusion Google Doctopus offers a very straightforward way of user/learner management, distribution of pre-structured templates, ways of tracking individual student progress and individualized feedback. This approach with the additional benefit of optional collaborative writing can therefore be recommended for online and classroom teaching of scientific writing, and is also applicable to other fields of science teaching and learning.

KeywordsScientific writing, scaffolding, individualized feedback, Google Doctopus;


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