Insiders and outsiders?

Dr Gayle Pringle Barnes and Anneli Williams from the University of Glasgow are going to talk about flexible identities around an in-sessional course.

In this talk, we reflect on how an in-sessional academic writing course is shaped in response to the flexible identities of learners and teachers. Developing Your Academic Writing (DYAW) is offered on an optional, non-credit-bearing basis to taught postgraduate students in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow. It is open to both home and international students, and attracts over 300 participants across the academic year. The course is designed using insights from both academic literacies and a genre-based EAP approach (Wingate and Tribble, 2012).

Around the course emerge a series of insider/outsider identities. Learners moving from pre-sessional to in-sessional may continue to identify with and participate in EAP or academic literacies provision, and have a new focus based on their desire to do well in the academic practices of their degree courses. Yet in-sessional provision becomes a much more marginal part of the learning experience, demonstrated as learners drop ‘in and out’ of DYAW classes as other priorities take hold. The DYAW course is itself positioned both ‘in and out’: subject-specific in focus but non-credit-bearing and designed and delivered by EAP specialists rather than subject lecturers.

These insider/outsider positions bring both challenges and opportunities and our talk explores how the DYAW course has been designed to respond effectively to these flexible identities through the course aims, organisation, content and delivery.


Wingate, U. and Tribble, C. (2012) ‘The best of both worlds? Towards an English for Academic Purposes/Academic Literacies writing pedagogy’, Studies in Higher Education 37(4): 481-495.


The presentation slides can be accessed here [PDF].


gayle-pringle-barnesGayle Pringle Barnes is International Student Learning Officer in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow, where she works primarily with taught postgraduate students. Her interests include postgraduate writing, particularly around the Masters’ dissertation, and the relationship between academic literacies and EAP approaches.


Processed with Snapseed.Anneli Williams is based at the University of Glasgow and has been working in the field of EAP for over twenty years as a  teacher, materials writer, course designer, course convenor, and latterly as manager for in-sessional and pre-sessional provision. She has a particular interest in genre based approaches to writing instruction and assessment of language proficiency.


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