Writing in Academic Subjects

The Writing Centre invites teaching staff to focus on writing in their respective academic discipline in order to find approaches to improve their own teaching. Our understanding is that it is not enough to thematise writing in transdisciplinary workshops on academic writing.

These workshops are helpful and important: students can reflect on their strategies by writing coursework and examination papers and learn about basic techniques for work and study. Furthermore, writing should also explicitly play a role in the subject itself throughout the duration of studies, namely as an approach to knowledge specific to the academic discipline. Literary Studies researchers write in a different style to chemists. Historians write in a different style to physicists. In actual fact, there is no singular style of writing in the context of a university, so it is more precise to talk of many different writing practices.

The question of how each discipline varies in its writing style is not only an intriguing research question, but is also of didactic relevance and extremely interesting for teachers. If teachers can analyse for themselves, how and why they write as academic experts then they can pass on this skill to their students and use writing purposefully as a means to learning in teaching. Reflecting on how writing functions in an academic discipline is a good way to realise the principle of ?reflective expertise?, which is integral to the Basic principles for research oriented teaching at Bielefeld University.

-> With the LitKom-Project (teaching literal competence in the first year of studies) Bielefeld University prioritises "Writing in Academic Discipline". The project has been running since June 2012 and is coordinated by the Writing Centre team.