Establishing a Writing Practice Remotely: A WhatsApp Course for Academics


In many universities there are numerous writing courses, workshops, resources and writing centres for academics. Some of these were disrupted by the Covid pandemic. A positive outcome has been moving beyond Emergency Remote Teaching to innovative pedagogical alternatives that continue to be effective as lecturers and academic developers reenvisage teaching interventions past the pandemic era. A WhatsApp Writing intervention has provided a new way for research writers to make progress on their writing. This study describes and reports on a 10-day WhatsApp writing course that is designed to connect group members, increase accountability, address obstacles to writing and develop the identity of the writer. The format addresses issues of access and zoom fatigue. The theoretical basis of the design draws from mindfulness, coaching and research into academic writing. The course was run for between 10 and 40 participants in 16 separate courses. Participants include supervisors, postgraduate students, as well as creative writers across South Africa and internationally. I analyse and share some observations from participants’ contributions on what makes writing difficult, their writing blocks, as well as their perceptions (and changing perceptions) of themselves as writers. Personal perspectives from writers show up three main common concerns of lack of confidence, distractions, and isolation. The posts also highlight the individual sense writers have of their identity. The course format could serve as a model for similar curricula design interventions.

Author Information
Moyra Keane, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Nurturing Creativity & Innovation: New

This paper is part of the ECE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Keane M. (2022) Establishing a Writing Practice Remotely: A WhatsApp Course for Academics ISSN: 2188-1162 The European Conference on Education 2022: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon