iWRITE: Selected Student Comments from Online and Post-Course Surveys (arranged by theme)

Access to expert knowledge

1.      Whenever I come to this site I have the impression of being in a lecture hall. In my case as a mature student, eager to learn, it's awesome.

2.     It's like having access to a prof 24/7 to answer your questions and reassure you.

3.     It's very helpful to understand the scope of assignments. Lectures and tutorials do not always explain how the assignment should be, and the iWRITE is a very useful tool to provide examples.

4.     As a first year student, this shows some sense of what is expected in the Ethical issues assignment. I would personally consider the iWRITE more of a guide than a sample. This will indeed help in handing in a better essay.

5.      A good resource—gives an idea of what is expected. Although essays pertaining to our exact topic would have been useful, people would inevitably shadow their essays too closely to those on the site, so I think it is a better idea to have essays for other topics to avoid such a problem.

6.     This is helpful as the prof was not very clear about what he expected for written answers before midterms and this provides a basis for the amount of detail expected.

7.      Only having one writing assignment in a course is somewhat scary because it leaves no room for improvement once you know what the instructor expects. This site helps to show the sort of thing a student should aim for.

8.      My complaint is that a lot of the information here was never given out in class (e.g., the grading criteria). I wasn't planning on using this site b/c I thought it was a general writing site & didn't realize how specific it was to the course and assignment. It answered a lot of the questions I had (although I didn't expect it to).

Insider view of reward structure

9.      It's great because the student is now able to see/read what he/she is expected to write in a university paper. In addition, the papers are graded so it give an excellent account of how much time and effort must go into the paper to achieve a specific grade. I think this site is great because writing papers in high school and university is so different... I am greatful that this site exists so that i am able to get the upper hand when writing my first university paper.

10.  iWRITE gave me a clear idea of what the professors were looking for in terms of structure and composition (such as the lack of necessity for sub headings) along with reinforcing some strong ideas I had neglected myself, such as having a third party proofread the draft. iWRITE also gave me some useful tips, such as not adding any page numbers in embedded citations, except when direct quotes are used.

11.  The student samples were excellent in allowing me to see what Prof. Browne liked and disliked.

12. It's useful for writing essays as we can see clearly where the marks were awarded and deducted.

13.  Made me realise the difference between my typical essay and an A grade essay

Support for individual process

14.  I didn't understand why the B essay of the fiction section was graded that way until I read the A paper; then it clicked. An A paper requires a constant display of a wide array of knowledge and grasp of the subject at hand throughout the paper. Not just the thesis, not just one or two paragraphs here and there, but from start to end, it needs to display insight and information interwoven in a balanced formula of eloquent writing and style.

15.  Great site! Now I don't feel as confused or apprehensive about getting started. Thanks.

16.  I was interested in reading examples of other essays, and am now relieved. They aren't as convoluted and obscure as I had originally thought.

17.  Helps to streamline my thoughts so I can be more focussed, which is not easy for me.

18.  Really like the prompter section. Brought together ideas that I was having some difficulty trying to organize.

19.  Very good addition to BIO250! Lack of feedback is almost my #1 concern at university (especially in large classes like this one)

20.  It's rare to see such indepth feedback on one's own work for many classes. This was a good way to see what is expected from this assignment and common mistakes that can be made.

21.  It is really helpful as it provides you to grade other essays because when you are writing yourself you do not find that many mistakes as you do in other papers. It helped somewhat to fill in the loopwholes in my writing.

22.  When seeing some of the awkward sentence constructions in one of the samples, I thought "hey, I do that too!" They really helped me in zeroing in on my own weaknesses.

23.  Having others peer review one's work is a very helpful way of improving the quality of reviews—allows for a second opinion.

24.  It not only shows instructors' comments on the samples, but also other students' comments on my actual work. Those help me look at my topic from different angles.

25.  The samples for the portfolio really helped me. By having 3 distinct examples, I understood how diverse our portfolio could be; there was no set template. Therefore, I was not restricted to write anything specific.

Selected and arranged by Margaret Procter, June 2008