UEL pioneers new online 24/7 feedback service for academic writing
University teams up with YourTutor.com to provide students with extra support at any time of day or night
The University of East London (UEL) is pioneering a new study support service which offers students online help with their academic writing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The innovative ‘24/7 Writing Feedback’ service allows students to upload essays and other work and receive expert feedback within a matter of hours on issues such as grammar, referencing and academic writing.
The service is provided by Australian company YourTutor.com and is already used by more than 50 per cent of universities in Australia. UEL is the first higher education institution in the UK to take up the service following its launch today (1st February).
YourTutor is designed to be an out-of-hours supplement to the on-campus learning support already provided by the University during daytime hours, providing access to help at any time of the day or night.
Around a third of UEL students have children or other dependents and most hold down a job while studying for their degree, which means accessing the daytime service is not always possible.
Professor Nora Ann Colton, UEL’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, said, “YourTutor is an innovative online service which we believe will prove highly popular with our students. It is one of a number of steps we are taking to ensure they have the best possible learning support so that they can fulfil their potential and flourish academically.
“It will be of particular benefit to students who have difficulty accessing more traditional, face-to-face help, including distance learners and students with work commitments or other responsibilities.”
More than 70 per cent of submissions to YourTutor are made after 5pm, according to YourTutor data.
The online tutors who provide feedback on students’ work are teachers, PhD candidates and master’s students based in Australia, Canada and South Africa – ensuring 24-hour working patterns – while the company is also planning to recruit tutors in the UK. All go through a rigorous selection and training process.
The tutors provide feedback on academic skills and constructive insights on how students can improve their work prior to final submission. They do not offer subject-specific advice, and nor do they proofread or write essays.
Alistair Morey, Head of Learning and Language Support at UEL, explained, “Tutors adhere to the same principles as UEL’s own academic skills tutors.
“They provide students with advice on how to correct or improve their own work. They do not advise on academic content.”
Michael Larsen, CEO of YourTutor, said, “YourTutor offers personalised learning support online and on-demand – a key component of student engagement and success.
“UEL is clearly embracing new ways to support how, when and where students are learning.”
The initial UEL rollout of YourTutor will be available to foundation year students and students in their first year of degree study. If successful, it will be made available to other students.