Project development and deliverables

We propose an indicative time-plan to be carried out according to the following scheme, organised by research directions and deliverables:

First year

Research directions:

1. Survey and systematisation of the literature on the topic:
- analysis of writing handbooks (and similar material), especially (but not only) for the Italian language, mainly in order to understand what is usually recommended to students in university writing handbooks, what is considered important or necessary (not only in university writing handbooks, but also in official task descriptions and learning goals), if there is a correspondence between high schools’ learning goals and admission prerequisites for the main degree programmes (First cycle degree programmes or Single cycle degree programmes);
- analysis of studies dedicated to neostandard Italian, also in a typological perspective, and to the Italian of university students, in order to single out those features that are considered distinctive in the (socio)linguistic literature on the topic;
- analysis of the literature on spontaneous writing (with particular attention to social networks).

2. Design of the sampling, the autobiographic questionnaire and the sociolinguistic questionnaire.

3. Design and the implementation of the computational infrastructure which will host the corpus (following the model adopted in the setting up of CORIS/CODIS) and the sociolinguistic data matrix.

The deliverables at the end of the first year will be:
- the definition of a sample of university students on which the data collection will be based
- the sociobiographic questionnaire and the questionnaire on neostandard features
- the basic guidelines for the written production task
- the creation of the computational infrastructure to host the corpus
- the creation of an annotated bibliography on the topic under exam
- the collection of linguistic skills considered necessary for the admission to the first year of university education (e.g., a certain level of lexical knowledge, the ability to master certain types of syntactic structures, awareness of diaphasic variation, etc.)
- the drafting of summary reports on the relevant literature, to be used as groundwork for the subsequent stages.

The questionnaires and the written production task will be delivered at a subsequent stage (each unit will be assigned a portion of the sample), according to the availability of the various venues, surveyed between the first and the second year.

Second year

Research directions:
- Systematisation and typological and sociolinguistic analysis of data and drafting of a list of linguistic features peculiar to the Italian of university students;
- comparison the data emerging from the texts collected for the project with the guidelines contained in writing handbooks and courses, in official task descriptions and learning goals in order to single out the areas for specific teaching actions. This analysis will also comprise a survey of admission tests with an assessment of linguistic competences and of practices in the teaching of writing skills in university courses, writing workshops, distance learning, etc., over a selected sample of Italian universities (built according to the same criteria used for the representative sample of university students).

The deliverables at the end of the second year will be
- a corpus of the Italian of university students (made accessible to the entire scientific community at the end of the project)
- a survey of admission tests with an assessment of linguistic competences and of writing courses over a sample of Italian universities, presented on the website referred to below
- a virtual space for sharing and exchanging experiences at the national level, also aimed at collecting material which may enrich the corpus, hosted on the website that will be created for the project

Third year

Research directions:
Joint work of all units on the analysis of the collected data, made available through the corpus: the results of the analyses will be integrated into a common framework, in order to outline a truly exhaustive profile of the Italian of university students. This profile will be presented to the scientific community both during an international conference and by means of a specific publication. The core of the activities in the third year will be devoted to the elaboration of guidelines for the teaching of written Italian in the framework of university courses and to a prototype of distance learning course on one of the aspects singled out in the analysis.

The deliverables at the end of the third year will be:
- a reliable linguistic profile of the Italian of university students, analysed in a typological and sociolinguistic perspective
- guidelines for the teaching of writing skills at university level
- a prototype of a distance learning course
- an international conference where the project results will be presented (in Bologna)
- the final publication of the project results