March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
March 22, 2019
Professional writing skills are vital to engineering career success, although they are usually underappreciated by undergraduate engineering students. The students may understand hypothetically that writing will be essential after they graduate, but they do not always understand how. While engineering programs require writing assignments often rooted in genres students may use and situations they may encounter outside the classroom, little attention is paid to assessing writing learning beyond the specific assignment tasks.
To understand strategies to enable students to connect learning from individual assignments to other uses and contexts, we are piloting the use of reflection in senior-level project courses at two academic institutions. Reflection offers potential as a strategy to assess students’ long-term learning of writing skills and connection with writing contexts in their careers. Reflection has long been used in writing studies to increase students’ meta-awareness of how writing works in specific contexts and to facilitate transfer (Yancey, Robertson, Taczak, 2014). In this presentation, we (a faculty member in chemical engineering at Institution A and a faculty member in English/technical communication who works with engineering students at Institution B) explore reflection as a tool to improve course outcomes for writing proficiency and to facilitate continuous improvement in and outside the classroom. To gather data, we will ask students at both institutions to complete a reflection at the end of one course and the start of another. At Institution A, approximately 200 students reflect on their learning; at Institution B, approximately 15 students will complete both reflections. These reflections will ask students to discuss which course writing concepts made the biggest impression, how they plan to incorporate those concepts in future writing, and their awareness of the importance of quality writing in a professional engineering career.
In this presentation, we will share preliminary findings on the impact of asking students to reflect on their writing and how it may affect their writing from one term to the next. In addition, we will assess the possibilities for reflection as a method to enable students to apply their classroom learning to writing post-graduation, in industry or graduate programs. We will conclude with the possibilities of expanding this work to explore best practices for improving student writing learning that they can transfer and enabling them to understand the value of writing education in engineering contexts.
Mallette, N., & Mallette, J. C. (2019, March), Explorations of reflection as a tool for writing knowledge transfer and writing skill appreciation Paper presented at 2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference, Corvallis, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/31878
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