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Engineering Faculty on Writing: What They Think and What They Want

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Writing and Communication II

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/p.26645

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26645

Download Count

97

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Paper Authors

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Natascha Trellinger Buswell Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8503-5787

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Natascha Trellinger is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She graduated with her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University where her interest in the teaching and learning aspects of engineering began. At Purdue, Natascha is a member of the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) and is particularly interested in graduate level engineering education and faculty experiences.

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Brent K Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He is also an Associate Director of Purdue’s Global Engineering Program, leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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Cary Troy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Cary Troy is an associate professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. His research focuses on environmental fluid mechanics, coastal engineering, physical oceanography, and Lake Michigan hydrodynamics, as well as innovative and effective pedagogical techniques in large engineering courses.

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Josh Boyd Purdue University

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Josh Boyd is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at the Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University. He frequently teaches writing-intensive classes, and he studies ways to improve writing and assessment of writing across the curriculum.

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Rebecca R Essig Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5518-2636

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Rebecca Essig is a 6th year PhD Candidate at Purdue University in Civil Engineering. Rebecca is a GAANN Fellow under Dr. Cary Troy specializing in Environmental Fluid Mechanics. She received her BS and MS from the Lyles School of Civil Engineering in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

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Abstract

Writing has been identified as an important skill for engineers, and while faculty generally agree that writing should be included in the engineering classroom, there are many barriers that may discourage faculty to do so. This survey explored how faculty are including writing in their classes, what barriers they face, and also asks faculty what resources they would like so that the inclusion of writing could be more realistic and feasible.

In terms of their approaches to incorporating writing in their courses, a majority of respondents reported sometimes or frequently assigning writing in the following types of assignments: project documentation, written explanations of homework, and short-answer questions on tests and quizzes. A majority of respondents also reported frequent use of grading rubrics for writing, as well as specifying the audiences for whom students should target their writing.

Respondents identified their top challenges to including writing in their courses, including large enrollments, lack of time, and lack of teaching assistants competent to assess writing. To address these challenges, the most favored suggestion was having teaching assistants trained to assess writing, followed by expanding the availability of writing resources for faculty and students. Additionally, the issue of student preparation was brought up on numerous occasions; faculty stated that previous negative experiences with student writing hindered faculty from including writing assignments in their courses.

In a perfect world, all faculty would have teaching assistants that were trained in teaching engineering writing. However, other more realistic resources include providing rubrics and sample work on an accessible and easy to use website. This paper reports on the faculty survey about writing and also how it relates the larger project that includes providing these important resources to faculty.

Buswell, N. T., & Jesiek, B. K., & Troy, C., & Boyd, J., & Essig, R. R. (2016, June), Engineering Faculty on Writing: What They Think and What They Want Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26645

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015