Origin of the Writing Centre
The Writing Centre of the TU-Darmstadt is one of the largest writing-facility amongst all other German universities. It was started in 2008 as a project to promote the writing skills of students. However, it was officially launched in 2010 and since the launch; more than 1,500 students have sought advice on various areas of scientific writing through individual consultations.
57 students were first trained as counsellors and acquired a German recognized and certified additional qualification. In addition to advising, the certificate course also trains the students in designing workshops and courses on scientific writing. Hence, since the 2010/11 winter semester, the Writing Centre has conducted 61 workshops with a total of 304 participants. Furthermore, the team at the Writing Centre also works on a variety of projects.
Inception of the Writing Centre
The idea of supporting foreign students in writing was initially brought up in the Language Centre of TU-Darmstadt. This idea further led to the inception of the OWL (Online Writing Lab). On the OWL, students could find writing information for all disciplines which they could use to improve their writing skills.
Starting in 2008, the idea was further developed and the first tutoring sessions of students were carried out. Thus, the peer tutors concept found its way into the writing advice offered by the Language Centre and the training of student counsellors commenced. The concept, as it still exists today, sees the involvement of student tutors in many areas: they create modules for OWL, design workshops and provide other services, such as online counselling. In addition, a research project was launched in cooperation with the Department of Multilingualism in Writing at the TU-Darmstadt.
Goals and current projects
The objectives of the Writing Centre since its inception have been: to help the students by assisting them in improving their writing skills across various disciplines. Furthermore, students can also write together in the Writing Café. The main objective of the Writing Café is to initiate student writing groups for mutual exchange – as it is better to write together than alone.
Meanwhile, the Writing Centre has expanded its core activities and now also participates in providing writing-intensive education for different departments at the TU-Darmstadt. Some pioneer courses are “Scientific Writing in Mechanical Engineering“, which is conceptually supported by the Writing Centre and the lecture ”Engineers in Society“ (formerly ”Philosophy for Mechanical Engineers"). The latter is supported by writing tutorials, which are carried out by consultants of the Writing Centre.