Examining students’ preferences for academic writing support in a third level institute in Ireland.


  • Emer Connolly TUS


Academic writing support has become an integral part of the learning process at third level. At Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands (TUS: Midlands), the Academic Writing Centre (AWC) offers individual and group support to all 5,000 learners attending the institute. Historically, all support was provided face-to-face, but due to Covid-19 it moved online in March 2020 and since then the service has been available through a combination of remote and face-to-face delivery. Learners attending the AWC during three academic years were asked to outline their
preferences on the provision of support: face-to-face, online or a combination of both.
The findings highlight that in the 2019 – 2020 academic year the majority of students
expressed a preference for face-to-face contact with writing tutors, while in the 2020 –
2021 academic year there was increased preference for working remotely or a
combination of face-to-face and remote delivery. Then, in the 2021 – 2022 academic
year, there was a shift back to a preference for face-to-face delivery. Learners were
also asked to identify specific areas where they needed academic writing support. The
results show that in each academic year the area where students required most
support was writing structure. Grammar and punctuation, referencing and
paraphrasing, language and writing literature reviews were also among the main areas
where academic writing support was requested by learners.