Harvey, Halina and Byrne, Gillian (2010) Embedded Writing Practice. In: WDHE (Writing Development in Higher Education) Conference 2010, 28th - 30th June 2010, London, UK. (Unpublished)

Where students do not see a direct connection between academic skills teaching and their assessment they find it difficult to perceive its benefit. In our experience when academic and writing skills have been delivered as a ‘bolt-on’, student engagement has been limited. Indeed such provision has received criticism as students find it difficult to see the relevance to their learning (Wingate, 2006). In addition, this lack of engagement with academic and writing skills teaching has resulted in limited directed writing practice.
The literature has suggested that there is a positive developmental relationship between writing and thinking and learning. Regular writing practice ‘promotes thinking, learning and communication’ (Bjork et al., 2003, p.9). The benefits of reflective thinking and writing in relation to skills development are also well documented in the literature (Moon, 1999; King, 2002). Indeed, the skill of reflection is highlighted with in the UK QAA benchmarking statement for postgraduate students (QAA, 2007).
As members of University of Huddersfield, business school academic teaching team, academic skills tutors are better able to develop working relationships with subject tutors enabling collaborative projects, greater awareness of the subject curriculum, accessible, timely and embedded provision.
This paper will describe and evaluate an embedded model which was developed using new media in the form of a blogging tool in order to encourage a culture of critical and reflective writing, across post-graduate courses in the business school. It will suggest that regular writing is essential in the development of skills and learning, especially amongst international student cohorts. Illustrative examples will detail the use of blogs to support students in weekly writing tasks, encouraging both regular writing practice and reflection on themselves as developing learners.

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