BrockU experts hit a nerve with online tutorial to teach essay writing

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BrockU experts hit a nerve with online tutorial to teach essay writing

Published on December 09 2009


There’s good news for a generation of university students who are wizards at texting and tweeting, but struggle to write an essay.

Learning-skills experts at Brock University have invented an online tutorial using pop-ups, quizzes and flashy graphics to teach students to write essays that are organized, researched and safe from incidental cut-and-paste plagiarism.

It’s called Essay-Zone. It’s a hit with students and educators. And its reputation is sweeping through the international university grapevine.

While it was being developed last year, Essay-Zone was tried by thousands of Brock students. They loved it, and so did their professors.

But its creators soon learned that essay-writing challenges exist on campuses far beyond Brock. When Essay-Zone was demonstrated in a webinar for North American academics, email inquiries started arriving the next day from as far away as New Zealand.

This autumn Brock officials licensed the tutorial for distribution, and were soon fielding inquiries from places like Texas State University, City University in Hong Kong, Concordia University in Montreal and Mount Royal College in Calgary.

Jill Brindle, learning skills manager at Brock’s Student Development Centre, created Essay-Zone with co-developers Margaret Groombridge and Philipp Lesmana. She says it works because students understand drag-and-drop techniques when it comes to putting essay components in the right sequence.

“It’s computer-based,” said Brindle. “Students are very comfortable with the medium. They’re used to scanning information, and with this program they have the option to ‘surf’ it — which is fun. There are a lot of resources out there, but nothing that is as interactive and fun as this.”

Faculty members hailed it. “The opportunity this has afforded my students and myself has been unbelievable,” said one professor. “I teach first-year students, and the use of the online tutorial along with the quizzes has allowed them to have a reality check regarding their needed skills and competencies in writing at the university level.”

See more at the website: www.academic-zone.com

For further information contact Kevin Cavanagh, Associate Director of Communications & Public Affairs kcavanagh@brocku.ca 905.688.5550 x 5888

Jeffrey Sinibaldi, Media Relations Officer jsinibaldi@brocku.ca 905.688.5550 x 4687

Student Development Centre

Student Development Centre