Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for academic purposes university pathway programs
Roche, T 2017, 'Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for academic purposes university pathway programs', Journal of Academic Language & Learning, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. A71 - A87.
In the higher education sector, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs play an important role preparing an increasing number of international English as Additional Language (EAL) students for university degree programs where English is the medium of instruction. These pathway programs differ in their conceptualisation and operationalisation of EAP, and as a result of which, in their learning outcomes for students. This research aims to develop a better understanding of undergraduate EAL students’ (N = 125) academic experience at an Australian university through contrasting the experience of students who have gained admission via a university EAP pathway program with an explicit focus on digital literacy practices, with students who entered via an alternate pathway without explicit digital literacy tuition. I explore how embedding digital literacy practices in an EAP program impacts on students’ performance in and perception of difficulties in subsequent first-year undergraduate study. The study finds that students who enter via the university’s EAP pathway with an explicit digital literacy focus report a better understanding of academic integrity practices and institutional policy, and less difficulty accessing course content. As a result of which, I argue for a reconceptualisation of EAP to include an explicit digital literacy component.