Teaching subject literacies through blended learning: Reflections on a collaboration between academic learning staff and teachers in the disciplines

  • Kate Chanock La Trobe University
Keywords: embedding, collaboration, academic literacies, online or blended teaching and learning

Abstract

For ALL practitioners helping students to write more effectively for their disciplines, the trend towards online teaching and learning carries both threats and possibilities. It can distance us from our students, but it can also sidestep the inhibitions and inconvenience, and perceptions of irrelevance, that keep many students from consulting us. By collaborating with discipline teachers within their subjects, we can reach many more students and show that what we offer is relevant and appropriate for all of them, rather than remedial. Moreover, this kind of collaboration can bridge the gap between discipline teachers’ knowledge about content and ALL teachers’ knowledge about language and discourse (Elton, 2010), and prevent ALL staff being sidelined, and ALL expertise lost, by “doing away with study skills” (Wingate, 2006). It raises subject teachers’ awareness of their students’ difficulties, and equips them with strategies to address these. The challenges for ALL staff are to get entrée into discipline subjects; to familiarise ourselves sufficiently with the focus, scope, structure and approach of each subject to which we contribute; and to ensure that this approach complements, rather than replaces, other valuable modes of teaching. This paper discusses these challenges in the context of my involvement with a large first-year, first-semester sociology subject taught by blended learning across five campuses. Because the work was done in the weeks before teaching began, it proved possible to implement the collaboration at no cost to the Faculty, and no loss of capacity for individual teaching; and it did not entail additional technical training.

Author Biography

Kate Chanock, La Trobe University
Level D (Associate Prof) Academic Language & Learning Unit
Published
2013-11-28
How to Cite
Chanock, K. (2013). Teaching subject literacies through blended learning: Reflections on a collaboration between academic learning staff and teachers in the disciplines. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A106-A119. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/256