Senior Lecturer presents at SAAALP 2022

Posted on October 03, 2022

Dr. Brenda van Wyk, contract Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Science, presented at the South African Association for Academic Literacy Practitioners (SAAALP) 2022.

The main aim of SAAALP is to provide South African academic literacy practitioners with an opportunity to discuss key issues of the day, share ideas and insights into AL best practice, as well as form a community of practice.

Dr. van Wyk’s paper was titled “Exploring the value of online writing clinics as third space for enhanced inclusivity in developing research literacy - a case study”. The abstract reads as follows:

Literature abounds the lack of research and eResearch literacy among novice researchers. Research competency refers to the ability to apply a range of statistical, technical, and theoretical knowledge, among very specific skills. E-research requires the use of information and communication technology to facilitate research and requires, inter alia, both academic and digital literacies. During the pandemic lockdown, a number of issues surfaced in the case under study: the lived extent and impact of digital exclusion, the inequality of the teaching and learning ecosystem were foremost in hampering the acquisitioning of eResearch skills. The transition to technology-assisted online facilitation posed challenges to both information specialists, academic and students alike. The aim was to answers two questions: firstly, which research literacy, e-Research skills and research competency are required by novice researchers; and secondly, how can writing clinics transition from the traditional writing centres to online facilitation in supporting academic writing and research online? Informed by recent research, and through the lens of Third Space theory, this paper reports on the findings of a mixed-method study. Qualitative data were collected from semi-structured interviews with research managers and triangulated with collected quantitative data from a survey of 26 academic and support staff involved in academic and information literacy. Findings are that the foremost reported barriers and challenges include a lack of critical digital literacies and eResearch competency to enable self-determined research and learning. Online writing clinics as a Third Space was offered as a solution. The difference between a writing clinic and the traditional a writing centre lies in the acknowledgement of prevailing metacognitive injustice and addressing this design a more personal approach in alleviating fears of failure. This paper sets out to add to the existing body of knowledge and address inequalities.

- Author Anneke Nel

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