Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Exceling at soft skills remain an Achilles heel for engineers with written communication continuing to be the weakest of them all. Most engineering students only experience writing during their curriculums in English Composition, Technical Writing, and End-of-Semester term papers that rarely receive feedback. We aimed to teach our students to be more effective writers in a senior-level problem-based learning course titled Biomedical Materials.
First, we recognized the importance of equipping instructors with skills to effectively train students to improve their writing. The course instructor was enrolled in an intensive three-week summer course facilitated by the university’s quality enhancement program: Maroon and Write. Through this course, the instructor learned the importance of writing as a process and not product, conveying clear instructions to the students with an anticipated audience and rubric detailed, as well as the importance of scaffolding writing assignments to allow multiple edits.
Secondly, the knowledge gained by the instructor was used to implement new initiatives in the Biomedical Materials course. Prior to this semester, students (groups of four) were given one month to design a problem solution and write a research proposal. Writing scaffolding was incorporated into the course by assigning two smaller individual writing assignments related to each problem prior to the final research proposal. Peer-Reviews were used after the second writing assignment, 2-page individual mini-proposal, to assist with the construction of the final group proposal. We will perform formative and summative assessments to analyze the effect of the course advancements on student performance and effective writing skills.
Simpson, C. L., & Dechert, E. (2018, June), Board 27: Work in Progress: The Use of Scaffolding and Peer Reviews to Improve Effective Writing Skills in Biomedical Engineers Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29996
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