At the University of Klagenfurt writing is not embedded in the curriculum of most disciplines. Therefore, students lack knowledge in techniques of academic writing.
In our talk, we will present a conceptual way to counter the institutional resistance and indifference to students’ writing problems: the “open writing lab” (die “Offene Schreibwerkstatt”), developed by Carmen Mertlitsch and Ursula Doleschal elaborating on the theory of “theme-centered interaction (TCI)” by Ruth Cohn and the approach of Christa Roth’s, among others.
The open writing lab is a low-level forum where students from different disciplines and grades can discuss their problems and receive support from peer tutors.
The open writing lab takes place once a week and is organized in four topical groups. Students can visit the writing lab at any stage of the writing process according to their current personal needs. They are taught and supported by peer tutors who have passed a special training as writing coaches. These characteristics are a fundamental development of Roth’s concept.
We will verify the hypothesis that “The open writing lab” is not only an SOS-institution but has also sustainable impact and benefit through empirical research based on feedback-sheets and questionnaires filled in by students.
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