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The Writing Hub

Most Humanities disciplines require students to both (a) critically engage with academic texts and concepts and (b) produce well-formulated arguments about these, right from their first year of study. As pedagogues, we are well aware of the structural and cultural nature of the ‘articulation gap’ between high school and university that prevents many students from satisfying the institution’s academic demands.  For this reason, departmental Writing Hubs were conceptualized as a complement to the Plus Tutorials (run as a part of the Plus Tuts). The Writing Hubs aim to make use of online platforms to help students to master disciplinary concepts and texts, and give them feedback on their assignment drafts as they develop. For this purpose, Masters students in each department are recruited and trained to work as ED Tutors and Writing Hub Consultants (WHCs) under the supervision of the departmental ED TA.

The Writing Hubs (which focus on very specific written tasks embedded in disciplinary discourses and course content) have been conceptualised to complement rather than compete with the university’s Writing Centre (which focuses on face-to-face feedback on generic writing issues, including argumentation, logic, and structure).

In 2014, the Humanities EDP Writing Hubs offered face-to-face writing consultations and, in some cases, online writing consultations through the Google Documents platform. Students submitted their evolving assignment drafts to the WHC and received feedback on their structure, argumentation, and mastery of content and concepts. In 2015, Aditi Hunma, the HUM EDU staff member who ran the Writing Hub Project, assisted departments with training and development of Word Press Sites as the platform for the Hubs. Some departments also used Turnitin as a platform. Aditi Hunma left the HUM EDU at the start of 2016, and currently departments are evolving their own Writing Hub spaces, and in many cases tying them more closely to the work that is taking place in the Plus Tutorials.

Year

Platform

Activities

2014

Google drive

Face-to-face and online writing consultations, online draft feedback

2015

Word press sites, Turnitin

Face-to-face and online writing consultations, online draft feedback

2016

Various

Different departments doing different things

Table summarizing Writing Hub platforms and pedagogies