Theme: Academic Literacy and Writing Centre Practitioners’ responses to COVID-19 and the move to online/blended teaching and learning

2022-08-01

Call for papers 

Special issue: Perspectives in Education 

September 2023 

Theme: Academic Literacy and Writing Centre Practitioners’ responses to COVID-19 and the move to online/blended teaching and learning 

Guest edited by: 
Prof Pineteh Angu (University of Pretoria) 
Dr Avasha Rambiritch (University of Pretoria) 
Dr Brian Sibanda (University of the Free State) 
Dr Laura Drennan (University of the Free State) 
Ms Michelle Joubert (University of the Free State) 
Ms Puleng Sefalane (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) 

This call for papers for a special issue of Perspectives in Education (PiE) centres around academic literacy and writing centre practitioners’ experiences of the impact of COVID-19 on the teaching and learning of academic language and literacy. It will especially focus on how the impact of COVID-19 and the move to online and blended learning may affect the teaching (and learning) of academic language and literacy in the future, post-pandemic world. 

The onset of COVID-19 took the world by storm, catapulting us into an era of unexpected change, recent technologies, and novel ways of teaching and learning. At all levels of academic language and literacy provision, lecturers and facilitators at contact universities had to scramble to convert their teaching materials to an online format, had to understand the idiosyncrasies of the virtual classroom very quickly and, as a result, upskill in terms of their knowledge of online platforms (Hedding et al., 2020). Writing centre practitioners too, whose identity is defined by the individualised face-to-face consultations they offer, were challenged to embrace new ways to continue supporting students. 

COVID-19 also brought to the fore the severity of the human condition, making more apparent than ever the social inequalities that plague us. For example, according to UNESCO, 9.8 million African students have had their studies disrupted by the pandemic – going online has been difficult on a continent where only 24% of the population have access to the internet (Tamrat & Teferra, 2020). Many educational contexts the world over were challenged to find effective solutions to ensure the successful completion of the academic year. However, access and connectivity issues were amongst the variables affecting students’ active participation in alternative, often online, teaching and learning initiatives (Department of Higher Education and Training, 2020). Students' living environments were not always conducive to learning, and this, coupled with student hunger, presented a dire picture for South Africa and the world at large. And yet, we as academic literacy practitioners (teachers, lecturers, tutors, writing centre consultants, and coordinators/directors) persevered in our quest to support our students and faculty, as far removed from us as they felt. Amidst the challenges were successes too. We explored and mastered innovative technologies, reimagined our spaces, and revisited our practices, unconfined by the boundaries of time and physical space. Our struggles, we are certain, are similar, as are our successes. It is therefore an important time to reflect upon these successes and challenges because blended and hybrid models of teaching and learning are likely to prevail in the post-pandemic world (Walwyn, 2020; van Schalkwyk, 2020). 

With the above in mind, we invite submission according to the following themes: 

1. What are the challenges that you, as an academic literacy or writing centre practitioner, have faced since the start of the pandemic and how have you responded? 
2. As an academic literacy or writing centre practitioner, how successful has your response been to the teaching and learning of academic language and literacy in your context? 
3. What changes to academic language and literacy provision during COVID-19 will you take into the post-pandemic world? 
4. How have you, as an academic literacy practitioner or writing centre director, coordinator or tutor, weathered the storm of COVID-19? 
5. How have your pedagogical practices been impacted? What will you take into the future? What will you leave behind in the past? 
6. How have you as an academic literacy or writing centre practitioner, continued to develop the academic literacy abilities that are so crucial to our students during these trying times? 
7. As academic literacy or writing centre practitioners, what have been the lessons learned and how will these affect our future practices? 
8. How have you, as an academic literacy or writing centre practitioner, fostered or maintained connections with your staff, faculty and students? 
9. As academic literacy or writing centre practitioners, how has the move online impacted how academic literacy initiatives are realised and negotiated? 

As a start, we welcome theme-related contributions in the form of an abstract of approximately 300 words or no more than one page that address key issues pertaining to the teaching and learning of academic literacy and writing centre support. These include, but are not limited to, aspects related to: 

  • Academic literacy and writing centre interventions;
  • Academic literacy course and academic writing intervention design and development;
  • Discipline-specific academic literacy and writing centre initiatives; and 
  • Individualised writing centre support. 

IMPORTANT SUBMISSION INFORMATION: 

    • Only submissions received through the OJS platform will be considered. https://journals.ufs.ac.za/index.php/pie/about/submissions 
    • Conceptual papers are welcome. 
    • Submission of abstracts close: 30 September 2022.
    • Submission of full manuscripts close: 27 February 2023. Only abstracts selected by the guest editors will be requested to submit full manuscripts. 
    • NO late submissions will be considered.
    • Technical aspects:
      • Arial 11 pt. 
      • 1.5 spacing 
      • Sentence case headings 
      • Please do not underline headings 
      • Use bold for emphasis 
    • Submissions that do not conform to the technical aspects will not be considered.
    • NO author details may be visible in the abstract itself.
      • But please indicate ALL authors and author information on the submission in the system. 
    • The guest editors’ decision is final. 

For any queries or technical assistance with your submission, please contact us at perspectives@ufs.ac.za