The boilerplate: a new look at a familiar device: writing in English for "digital natives" and "digital immigrants"

Jane Mattisson, Teri Schamp-Bjerede

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Writing is one of the key means of demonstrating one’s knowledge in academe. Increasingly, students and teachers are required to present their research findings in English. The strict conventions pertaining to academic English are not always readily identifiable, neither are they easy to master for English-as-a-Second-Language users. As a template containing guidelines, suggestions, and solutions, the boilerplate (a term used in the publishing industry to denote a template with static elements) acts as an aid to students and teachers writing papers, reports, essays and theses in English. Unlike the system already available in Microsoft Word,1 the boilerplate is tailored to suit specific subjects and types of document. It can be updated on a regular basis, is user-friendly and inexpensive to produce. The present article discusses the potential of the boilerplate for so-called "digital natives" and "digital immigrants". We consider how it enables students to master threshold concepts in academic writing, thereby laying the ground for life-long learning. In the second half of the article, selected features of the boilerplate are discussed in relation to their potential to solve problems for students writing in English and save precious correction time for teachers and tutors. We also consider user-friendliness and how digital immigrants and digital natives work with computer programs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-41
    Number of pages10
    JournalHögskolepedagogisk debatt
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Pedagogy (50301)


    Dive into the research topics of 'The boilerplate: a new look at a familiar device: writing in English for "digital natives" and "digital immigrants"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this