The Academic Writing Skills Programme

If you're a member of staff, this page should answer most of your questions about how this affects your students. They will be invited to take part in the AWSP by email at the relevant time, as agreed at School / College level, by staff in LEADS.

Note that students who are in your specific class may not be taking part at the same time as each other, particularly in pre-Honours years, due to being enrolled on different degree programmes (see 'When does it take place?' for more details). If they have any questions about this, you can direct them to the student-facing version of this information.

What is it?

Helpful for improving your writing skills and for understanding what is expected of university students. - previous AWSP student

The Academic Writing Skills Programme (AWSP) is a writing diagnostic that allows and encourages students to adapt to writing practices within the University of Glasgow. The AWSP is designed to be an informative and supportive mechanism that allows students to receive feedback on their written work at the point in their degree when accurate and correct written grammar and style most matter.

Specifically, the AWSP consists of a range of writing and grammar advice materials (covering topics ranging from elements of style and punctuation, through information on plagiarism and academic integrity, to wider details on structure and argumentation), a range of multiple-choice questions on grammar, and a short essay (chosen by the student from a bank of questions).

Students submit answers to the multiple-choice questions and their essay via Moodle. The essay is then assessed by our team of Teaching Assistants in LEADS, and students are given feedback that specifically targets any issues/areas of development in their writing. In this way, the feedback given to students is targeted and specific to their writing needs, and the feedback provides opportunity for further development of writing. 

Overall, it was a good course. It felt like a mini or condensed writing course. - previous AWSP student

Students are then offered a variety of progression options. Some students will be advised to attend the open classes run by LEADS on an optional basis; certain students will be advised to complete an online writing course (hosted via Moodle) that provides further information on grammar and effective writing; other students will be invited to attend in-person classes to work on improving the grammar and coherence of their writing. This range of provision allows for targeted provision in student academic writing development.


When does it take place?

I'm surprised this has been the most enjoyable class I've been to in the last six weeks I've been at uni! - previous AWSP student

There are a number of iterations of the AWSP running throughout the academic year. Students are divided into groups based on College/subject area; each College/subject area’s student cohort completes the AWSP at a pre-determined slot throughout the academic year. (The AWSP runs once in Semester 1, again in Semester 2, and once in May.)

Students are given an hour and ten minutes to complete the online diagnostic element of the AWSP. The classes run at a variety of times after the completion of the essay submissions, and students are able to pick a class time that best suits their timetable.

Staff and students will be informed well in advance of the submission deadlines for their College/subject area.


What's the rationale behind it?

Compact, clear, concise. Everything was explained clearly. - previous AWSP student

The AWSP provides students with the opportunity to reflect on, and develop, their writing in advance of submission of assessed coursework. With a focus on development and enhancement of academic literacies amongst students, the AWSP aims to enhance students’ success and graduate attributes.

Specifically, the AWSP works to target:

  • student retention and success (through providing timely feedback on written work, alongside a range of materials and writing development information, that allows students the opportunity to engage with the requirements of University writing at an early stage)

Everything was clear. Amazing lecturer! Not time-consuming. - previous AWSP student

  • academic practice, integrity and issues of plagiarism (through providing centralised, clear information on the key components of academic integrity, referencing and plagiarism)
  • graduate attributes (through encouraging effective, clear communication and promotion of student ability to 'defend their ideas in dialogue with peers and challenge disciplinary assumptions' (University of Glasgow Graduate Attributes Matrix))
  • enhanced institutional reputation (through innovative use of blended and online resourcing and teaching to deliver specific and tailored writing development for all students)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do my students enrol onto the AWSP?

They'll receive an email well in advance of their AWSP session with instructions on how to begin the AWSP. This email will give them instructions on the Moodle course and dates/deadlines for submission of the Programme. (They do not need to enrol themselves onto the AWSP on MyGlasgow.)


When do my students take part in the AWSP?

Students in the Colleges of Arts, Social Sciences and MVLS (Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences), both undergraduate and postgraduate taught, take part in the AWSP at the start of Semester 1 (in September).

Postgraduate students in the College of Science and Engineering take part in the AWSP at the start of Semester 1 (in September).

Undergraduate students in the College of Science and Engineering take part in the AWSP at the start of Semester 2 (in January).


How do my students access the AWSP?

The link to their specific AWSP Moodle will be emailed to them. They must log into the relevant Moodle site to access and complete the AWSP.


How long does the AWSP take to complete?

The initial diagnostic exercise takes just over an hour. It is completed through Moodle, so can be done anywhere. Your students will need to complete the diagnostic in one sitting, so they should ensure they give themselves the time to finish within that hour.


Do my students have to take part in the AWSP / can they opt out of the AWSP?

All incoming undergraduate and postgraduate taught students take part in the AWSP. Completion is by submitting an essay in answer to one of the available questions; we cannot accept any prior work as a submission.


I have online students; do they still have to take part in the AWSP?

Yes, AWSP is completed online via Moodle. Any follow-up work after the exercise can be completed through an online writing course, and online students are very welcome to make Skype/telephone appointments with the relevant Effective Learning Adviser.


Can my students take the AWSP in an alternative format?

Yes, absolutely. If they require a different format for their AWSP submission, please ask them to contact Dr Andrew Struan directly (andrew.struan@glasgow.ac.uk).


Why do my students have to do the AWSP?

The AWSP is unique to Glasgow. As such, it allows your students to engage with Glasgow-specific writing processes and practices before their grades are affected. The AWSP is a positive opportunity for your students to receive specific, tailored feedback on their writing without it impacting on any final grades. All incoming undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should complete AWSP; this completion will be recorded on student transcripts.


What about after the AWSP? How do my students keep improving their writing?

LEADS works with students all year round, and at all levels, to continually improve their academic work and their academic writing. Your students are welcome to attend any of our classes or book a one-to-one appointment with us. Information on everything can be found at www.gla.ac.uk/LEADS/students.


I still have questions!

Email your questions to andrew.struan@glasgow.ac.uk.

The AWSP is co-ordinated by Dr Andrew Struan, Writing & Study Skills Co-ordinator within LEADS.