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Board 8: Work in Progress: BME Students’ Perspectives on a Laboratory Technical Writing Cycle

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Robert Gammon-Pitman Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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PhD student in STEM education with a focus in engineering education. I am an engineering educator determined to improve student learning via effective teaching & learning strategies, professional development, outreach, and community development.

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Tanya M. Nocera Ph.D. Ohio State University

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Tanya M. Nocera, PhD earned a BS in Physics from Allegheny College and a MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from The Ohio State University (OSU), before joining the OSU BME Department as an Assistant Professor of Practice in 2014. Her roles include designing and teaching undergraduate BME laboratory courses, and mentoring multidisciplinary senior capstone teams on rehabilitation engineering and medical device design projects. She also leads K-12 engineering outreach events, and is pursuing scholarship in student technical communication skills and preparing BME students for careers in industry.

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Graduates from ABET accredited engineering programs are expected to demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively. Technical writing skills are particularly difficult to teach and even more time consuming to assess, often limiting the number of opportunities students are given to practice and improve writing skills throughout their undergraduate education. This study expands upon our rubric-driven approach for teaching and assessing technical writing in multiple upper-level biomedical engineering laboratory courses. In each lab course, students are provided a detailed rubric outlining the requirements for a full technical paper. Students are then permitted one revision and re-submission opportunity, during which they can address deficiencies in their writing as indicated by the graduate teaching assistants’ (GTA) feedback. As next steps in the work-in-progress, a survey has been developed to measure students’ perceptions on the impacts of the writing cycle on the technical writing skills. Although data collection from the survey is ongoing, the preliminary results from autumn 2018 and spring 2019 semesters will be collected, analyzed, and shared. We anticipate that student survey responses will identify key insight on: confusing steps in the writing cycle; grading inconsistencies; effectiveness of feedback from the rubric or GTA; and student confidence in writing future technical reports with and without the rubric. Our previous analyses provided a quantitative means for assessing students’ improvement in their abilities to communicate effectively. These new student survey responses are expected to identify key areas for improvement in the writing cycle, as well as potentially validate the overall effectiveness of our rubric-driven technical writing cycle.

Gammon-Pitman, R., & Nocera, T. M. (2019, June), Board 8: Work in Progress: BME Students’ Perspectives on a Laboratory Technical Writing Cycle Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32433

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