Any efforts to improve the proficiency in academic writing particularly thesis structuring and formatting among students must targeted at two categories, the students and the faculty members, particularly the lecturers who had finished thier PhDs during the late 70s till the late 90s.
part 1: Faculty members training
It is well known that many of these academicians would have written their theses during the late 70s till the late 90s and during that period, LaTeX was considered to be the state of the art in academic writing.However, a decade later or so, many academicians have started using Ms word for compatibility with other administration levels. Many scholars have completely converted to Ms word in the early 2000s and there is a high tendency for many academicians to use Ms word as if they are using LaTeX.
The integration of the current ‘best practices’ in Ms word with thesis writing skills into research methodology classes can only take place if the academicians themselves are convinced with the effectiveness and benefits of these ‘best practices’.
Hence of that, awareness should be created among the academicians so they are able to appreciate the current ‘best practices’ of thesis writing in Ms word and apply them into their own work. This will eventually facilitate the integration of Ms word skills into the current research and methodology class. The academicians themselves would be the ‘advocates’ for the skills required in thesis writing.
Therefore, it is proposed that the academicians attend some workshops on Ms word ‘best practices’ in thesis writing.
part2: Students training
It is essential for the students to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge/ skills in MS word. This can be done by integrating the proposed thesis template into the current research methodology class conducted for UM students. MS-Word skills is an essential part of the research and methodology class because it lays the foundation for a good thesis layout. Thus, classes solely on MS-Word alone could be ineffective due to rigidness of the topic itself.
This training should start in an early stage of the thesis writing process. To help the students to organize their notes and data in a useful way for future. Also it is better to do this service in an early stage to give the students the chance to practice using the template for sufficient time before the final submission of the thesis.
This training should be the second or the third lecture in the research methodology course. This training is created in a friendly and engaging manner to capture the student’s interest.The lecture consists of the following parts:
- Introduction about the general format of thesis and its major parts; the conceptual parts and the structural or formatting parts.
- What are the available software for thesis formatting?
Like LATEX and MS-Word and its alternatives.
- The fact that MS-Word is the dominating software in thesis formatting and is the most popular.
- What is the thesis template?
- What does the template do?
- How to use thesis template properly?
The lecturer rule
3 hours time will not be enough to answer these question. hence, the lecturer shall direct the students to do the following:
- To visits The official thesis webpage (created by the university) and download the required pdfs and videos about thesis formatting
- To attend the monthly workshop about thesis formatting held in the main library or IPS.
- The students would be required to successfully prepare a suitable thesis. According to the official thesis template and the regulations given by IPS.