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Dr Jackie Tuck

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Open University. I have over thirty years’ experience as a teacher and lecturer in English Language, English Literature and Communication in a range of postcompulsory settings, including Higher, Further, Adult and Community Education, English as a Foreign Language and English for Academic Purposes. I have also worked in learning support, writing development and academic development roles. I started work with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in1997. I now combine a range of teaching roles with pursuing my research interests.

My work with student writers and in staff development led me to pursue doctoral research (supervised by Theresa Lillis and Mary Lea) exploring the practices of academics teaching in the disciplines in UK Higher Education around undergraduate writing, from teachers’ own perspectives. I adopted an “academic literacies” approach, viewing pedagogies around writing as social practice and employing an ethnographically-oriented methodology to explore teachers’ lived experiences of work around student writing. The study provided new insights into the challenges faced by lecturers working at the academic ‘textface’ but also acknowledged the creative and collaborative labour many are engaged in through their work with student writers.

Research interests

My research is positioned at the cusp between two broad fields of interest: on one hand the study of literacies as social practice, and on the other higher education pedagogy research and practice. A key element of my approach and expertise is to employ ethnographically-oriented methodologies to explore pedagogic practices around student writing. By placing academic teachers, rather than student writers, at the centre of these enquiries, my work provides an in-depth focus on an under-researched area of higher education. It provides an insight into the complexity of practice around student writing and in particular those “hidden” literacy practices and events, such as the marking of students’ written work, which play a huge but take-for-granted role in higher education. This focus also helps to throw new light on work with student writing as evaluative literacies and as an aspect of academic labour. One key consequence is that my work has the potential to contribute to academic development and higher education research more widely by challenging a tendency to “blame” teachers for intractable problems in education and by offering insight into how more transformative outcomes for students can be achieved despite pressures in the HE sector environment.

Some of these arguments figure centrally in a published monograph with Routledge rooted in my PhD research, entitled Academics Engaging with Student Writing: Working at the Higher Education Textface. (See publications list for the full details.)

I extended this programme of work in collaboration with South African colleagues Dr Lynn Coleman, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Dr Moeain Arend, University of Cape Town (UCT), in a CPUT-funded project entitled Conceptualisations of Academic Writing in the University of Technology Sector. The project explored lecturers’ perspectives on student writers and their writing, and on writing more broadly, with a particular focus on the institutional and biographical factors at play in shaping their understandings, experiences and practices around student writing. Two published co-authored articles were based on this empirical study (see publications list).

Another key recent empirical study is entitled Writing for the Professional Doctorate (PD), funded by the PRAXIS scholarship fund within the Faculty of WELS. This project took place over two years, with an initial phase based on analysis of feedback texts, followed by a more in-depth study involving PD students and supervisors. A scholarship report is available on the Open University's Scholarship Exchange site and on ORO. I am currently working towards a published article based on this study and have shared findings with PD supervisors.

A further research project is underway, with extensive data analysis ongoing, focusing on higher education marking practices. Marking continues to be a site of contention and challenge and marking practices are evolving rapidly in response to technological and economic and political change at institutional level and beyond. I conducted an ethnographically-oriented study of the marking practices of eight UK university teachers, drawing on multiple data sources including screen and audio recordings, interviews and texts. The study explores how combining a literacies-oriented theoretical lens with methodologies sensitive to the micro-dynamics of textual reception, evaluation and production can support deeper understanding of this core educational practice. One article based on this project has been submitted for peer review in the field of higher education and I am currently working on further publications focusing more on the theoretical and methodological implications for academic reading and writing research. It is hoped that this phase of work will prepare the ground for a larger empirical study exploring marking practices across different institutions.

I am also currently exploring another key aspect of academic literacies and labour, that of reading. I am interested in the place of reading in academics' working lives, and the relationship between their reading practices, their writing and publication practices, and the evaluation regimes of higher education and am currently developing an empirical project in this area.

I am part of a research team investigating Student Writing and Tutor Assessment Practice (SWaTAP) in a distance learning context through a combination of corpus linguistics and in-depth, text-oriented interviews. The PI is Dr Maria Leedham and my other co-I is Dr Prithvi Shrestha. The project benefits from the research support of Dr Dana Therova.

I am also interested in and have written about (academic) literacies theory, in the relationships between theory and practice and in the ways in which methods and approaches in the study of language and literacy practices and processes can be generative when brought to bear on the study of higher education practices.

I am a founding member of the Professional, Academic and Work-based Literacies (PAWBL) SIG within the British Association of Applied Linguistics, former convenor and now advise the current convenor of the SIG.

Teaching interests

I Chair L101, an introductory Level 1 English language module first presented in February 2019. This module has been designed to combine engaging, contemporary teaching and research material in the field of English Language and Linguistics with a fully integrated academic and digital literacies curriculum, with the aim of providing an accessible and solid grounding for students who wish to progress to Level 2 English Language studies, or who wish to specialise in other English-related and/or Language degree qualifications at the Open University. L101 received a WELS Teaching Award in 2020-21. I am also  former Chair of the popular third level module EA300 Children’s Literature. Jointly with Dr Dena Attar, I received an Open University Teaching Award in 2016 for scholarship work leading to the development of online collaborative learning on EA300. I am currently a member of the academic team producing the remake of this module, L301: Language, Literature and Childhood. I have also contributed to the production of other English Language modules E304 Exploring English Grammar and, at Masters level, EE817 Applied Linguistics, including a lead role in the academic co-ordination of audiovisual materials production.

I am also the Postgraduate Research Convenor for the area of Applied Linguistics and as such am a part of the Facultyy of WELS PGR team, working with doctoral students on PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes.

Beyond the Faculty, I play a leading role on the PACE (Professional Academic Communication in English) programme, first set up by colleagues in Applied Linguistics and Literacies at the OU and which now operates from the Graduate School to make a significant contribution to capacity-building in the area of academic and research communication across the university. The PACE is co-ordinated on a daily basis by Dr Julia Molinari and works mainly with research postgraduates at the OU, both face-to-face and online. The team devises and runs workshop sessions on a range of issues relating to academic reading, writing and speaking for postgraduate research. PACE also offers a monthly Writing Circle and also provides 1-1 bookable appointments. With colleagues Professor Theresa Lillis and Jenny McMullan, I created an online resource available to all OU researchers to support the development of their academic literacy practices.

Central to my practice as an educator is a commitment to promoting wider participation and greater equity and diversity in higher education, and this motivation is reflected in all of my teaching and research activity.

In May 2020 I became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am now a mentor on the OU's Applaud programme which provides a route to HEA Fellowship.

Research supervision

I currently supervise one PhD student, investigating topics in the following areas:

Exploring contemporary citation practices of Russian scholars writing in Russian and English in three disciplinary fields (Economics, Sociology, and Philosophy): static and dynamic approaches

I also supervise two EdD students, investigating these topics:

An Exploration of the role of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Leaders and Managers in a range of UK Higher Education Contexts.

Exploring Belonging through Foundation Year Writing Provision

I welcome enquiries by prospective PhD or EdD students interested in pursuing research in the following areas: ethnographic and other qualitative approaches to academic and professional literacies, pedagogies around academic reading and writing, traditional and emergent academic writing and/or reading practices, writing and assessment in higher education, critical approaches to higher education pedagogy and development, the role and location of writing and writing work in the academy, academic labour around writing, gender and academic writing.


Defamiliarizing assessment and feedback: exploring the potential of ‘moments of engagement’ to throw light on the marking of undergraduate assignments (2023)
Tuck, Jackie
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 49(1) (pp. 72-85)

[Book Review] Review of Paltridge, Starfield & Tardy (2016): Ethnographic Perspectives on Academic Writing & Guillén-Galve & Bocanegra-Valle (2021): Ethnographies of Academic Writing Research: Theory, methods and interpretation (2022-06)
Tuck, Jackie
Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes, 3(1) (pp. 154-163)

Understanding student writing from lecturers’ perspectives: acknowledging pedagogic complexity to support transformative practices in context (2021)
Coleman, Lynn and Tuck, Jackie
Studies in Higher Education, 46(9) (pp. 1894-1906)

’We do not have a writing culture’: exploring the nature of ‘academic drift’ through a study of lecturer perspectives on student writing in a vocational university (2020)
Coleman, Lynn and Tuck, Jackie
Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 72(4) (pp. 575-594)

Book Review of 'On Writtenness: the cultural politics of academic writing' by Joan Turner (2019-09)
Tuck, Jackie
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 41, Article 100765

"I'm nobody's Mum in this university": The gendering of work around student writing in UK higher education (2018-03-31)
Tuck, Jackie
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 32 (pp. 32-41)

Gender and academic writing (2018-03)
Lillis, Theresa; McMullan, Jenny and Tuck, Jackie
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 32 (pp. 1-8)

'That ain't going to get you a professorship': discourses of writing and the positioning of academics' work with student writers in UK higher education (2016)
Tuck, Jackie
Studies in Higher Education, 41(9) (pp. 1612-1626)

Academic literacies: débats et développements actuels (2012-12)
Tuck, Jackie
Recherches en Didactiques. Les Cahiers Théodile(14) (pp. 159-173)

Feedback-giving as social practice: teachers’ perspectives on feedback as institutional requirement, work and dialogue (2012)
Tuck, Jackie
Teaching in Higher Education, 17(2) (pp. 209-221)

Academics Engaging with Student Writing: Working at the Higher Education Textface (2017-07-14)
Tuck, Jackie
Routledge Research in Higher Education
ISBN : 9781138952232 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Reflecting on the design of online modules in Applied Linguistics and English Language: a dialogue. (2023-05-18)
Tuck, Jackie and Shrestha, Prithvi
In: Leedham, Maria; Tagg, Caroline and Tuck, Jackie eds. Online pedagogy and the student experience: teaching applied linguistics and beyond
ISBN : 9780335251889 | Publisher : Open University Press McGraw Hill | Published : London, UK

Introduction (2023-05-18)
Tuck, Jackie; Tagg, Caroline and Leedham, Maria
In: Leedham, Maria; Tagg, Caroline and Tuck, Jackie eds. Online Pedagogy and the Student Experience: Teaching Applied Linguistics and Beyond
ISBN : 9780335251889 | Publisher : Open University Press, McGraw-Hill | Published : London, UK

From ‘should’ to ‘could’ in academic writing: integrating Academic Literacies in an online undergraduate applied linguistics module (2023)
Tuck, Jackie
In: Leedham, Maria; Tagg, Caroline and Tuck, Jackie eds. Online pedagogy and the student experience: teaching applied linguistics and beyond
Publisher : Open University Press, McGraw Hill | Published : London

Academic literacies: Theorizing language as social practice (2022-08-25)
Tuck, Jackie
In: Ding, Alex and Evans, Michelle eds. Social Theory for English for Academic Purposes: Foundations and Perspectives. New Perspectives for English for Academic Purposes (pp. 39-58)
ISBN : 978-1-350-22766-8 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London

Academic Literacies: a critical lens on writing and reading in the academy (2016-01-25)
Lillis, Theresa and Tuck, Jackie
In: Hyland, Ken and Shaw, Philip eds. The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes. Routledge Handbooks (pp. 30-43)
ISBN : 9781138774711 | Publisher : Routledge

“Doing something that’s really important”: meaningful engagement for teachers as a resource for transformative work with student writers in the disciplines. (2015-06-15)
Tuck, Jackie
In: Lillis, Theresa; Harrington, Kathy; Lea, Mary R. and Mitchell, Sally eds. Working With Academic Literacies: Case Studies Towards Transformative Practice. Perspectives on Writing (pp. 195-204)
Publisher : WAC Clearinghouse/Parlor Press | Published : Fort Collins, Colorado

Online Pedagogy and the Student Experience: Teaching Applied Linguistics and Beyond (2023-06-05)
Leedham, Maria; Tagg, Caroline and Tuck, Jackie eds.
ISBN : 9780335251889 | Publisher : Open University Press, McGraw-Hill | Published : London, UK

Student Writing and Assessment Practices: combining corpus linguistics and in-depth interviews to investigate assessment in a distance university context (2023-06)
Leedham, Maria; Tuck, Jackie; Shrestha, Prithvi; Therova, Dana and Ullmann, Thomas
In : Assessment in Higher Education (22-23 Jun 2023, Manchester, UK)

Student Writing and Assessment Practices: combining corpus linguistics and in-depth interviews to investigate written assessment in a distance university context (2023-03)
Leedham, Maria; Tuck, Jackie; Shrestha, Prithvi; Therova, Dana and Ullmann, Thomas
In : The twelfth international Corpus Linguistics conference (CL2023) (3-6 Jul 2023, Lancaster, UK.)

What do EAP Practitioners need to know? (2017-01)
Tuck, Jackie
In : BALEAP ResTES Symposium (28 Jan 2017, University of Leeds)