Blog Bart Hendriks: Academic Writing Module in Multiphase Reactor Modeling

After a workshop has taken place, student ambassadors write a blog to explain interesting content and give you an impression of what the workshop was about. This time Bart (Chemical Engineering) wrote a blog about academic writing.

Because most students have little experience in writing scientific papers, SkillsLab organized an academic writing module for Master students of Chemical Engineering in the specialization course Multiphase Reactor Modeling (6EMA05). In this course, students have to write a thorough literature review and a Matlab model and the results are discussed in a scientific paper. The first session was a lecture by Academic English Professional Astri Keizer in which the main issues faced by students in the writing process were discussed. General information was provided on the goal of scientific reporting, the structure of a scientific paper and the structure of the various parts of the paper. Moreover, common mistakes in language and style were pointed out and students were encouraged to brainstorm about a logical structure of their paper. Guidelines for writing a group research project are online on the SkillsLab Guided Learning page.

After this lecture, the groups had one month for deeply investigating the topic of their choice and writing a proper scientific paper. The academic writing quality was assessed in the second session organized by Skillslab: a peer review. Every student was asked to read two papers written by other groups and score these on the quality of writing based on a rubric with assessment criteria. In the peer review session, each group received feedback from two professionals in Academic English and fellow students.

Although this module increased the workload for the students, students were satisfied with the feedback they received, especially the feedback from the professionals. In other writing assignments, the received feedback on the quality of academic writing was minimal and therefore this module can be regarded as a valuable addition to this course.