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Implementing Writing-as-Process in Engineering Education

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Promoting Communication Skills

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

26

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34786

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34786

Download Count

167

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Paper Authors

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Bruce Kovanen University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Bruce Kovanen is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and the Center for Writing Studies. He works with faculty and teaching assistants across disciplines to help hone their writing pedagogy. His research and teaching focus on sociocultural perspectives of literacy and learning.

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Ryan Ware University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Ryan Ware is a doctoral candidate in Writing Studies primarily interested in cultural-historical theories of writing and learning to write. He is part of an interdisciplinary team that focuses on helping STEM instructors integrate writing into their courses, and that helps departments integrate writing across undergraduate curricula.

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Megan Mericle University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Megan Mericle is a PhD student in Writing Studies. She is a member of a research team focused on writing in STEM, where she works with faculty to develop and implement learning objectives for writing in undergraduate science and engineering courses. In her own work, she focuses on disciplinary identity as well as communication practices in citizen science.

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Nicole Turnipseed University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Nicole Turnipseed is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and the Center for Writing Studies. She teaches a range of writing courses and helps teachers across disciplines hone their writing pedagogy. Her research and teaching focus on developing robust learning environments to support holistic literate development.

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J. Patrick Coleman University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Patrick Coleman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He researches synchronization in non-linear dynamical systems. He is also part of an interdisciplinary team that studies and improves the way writing is incorporated in STEM curriculum.

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Celia Mathews Elliott University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Celia Mathews Elliott is a science writer and technical editor in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been teaching technical communications to upper-level undergraduate physics majors since 2000, and recently developed, with S. Lance Cooper, a graduate technical writing course.

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John S. Popovics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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John Popovics is a Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and his Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Penn State. His research interests include testing, sensing and imaging of infrastructure and geologic materials. He is also involved in efforts to improve writing skills in engineering students.

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S. Lance Cooper University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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S. Lance Cooper is Professor and Associate Head for Graduate Programs in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Virginia in 1982, his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois in 1988, and he was a postdoctoral research associate at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1988-1990. Cooper’s research interests include optical spectroscopic studies of novel magnetic and superconducting materials at high pressures, high magnetic fields, and low temperatures. Since 2013, Cooper has co-taught (with Celia Elliott) a graduate-level technical writing course each spring to physics and engineering graduate students.

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John R. Gallagher University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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I am an assistant professor of English at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Paul Prior University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Paul Prior is the Director of the Center for Writing Studies and Professor of the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Julie L. Zilles University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8684-4519

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Dr. Zilles is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She received her B.S. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. In addition to research at the intersection of microbiology, agriculture, and environmental engineering, she leads a transdisciplinary team focused on integrating best practices from writing studies in STEM classes and curricula.

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Abstract

Although professional boards and engineering employers have emphasized written communication as a key feature of engineering education and practice, a range of challenges—from lack of pedagogical training in writing to large class sizes and heavy content requirements—often prevent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) faculty from incorporating writing instruction into classes. This paper focuses on a key theoretical concept from the field of writing studies, writing-as-process, and explores how it has been included by STEM faculty in their teaching. We first review theoretical and empirical work that supports writing-as-process as an effective tool for facilitating student learning. We then illustrate how writing-as-process has been incorporated into varied types of courses, drawing on a multi-year intervention project designed to enhance writing in engineering and STEM. The examples describe reflective, writing-to-learn activities for first-year orientation courses; scaffolded approaches for laboratory and problem-based-learning classes; and directed peer review and response to reviewer comments in middle- and upper-level courses. The paper concludes by addressing the vital role STEM faculty play in socializing their students into ways of thinking, being, and writing in their disciplines and demonstrates how a process orientation to writing instruction can help faculty achieve that goal.

Kovanen, B., & Ware, R., & Mericle, M., & Turnipseed, N., & Coleman, J. P., & Elliott, C. M., & Popovics, J. S., & Cooper, S. L., & Gallagher, J. R., & Prior, P., & Zilles, J. L. (2020, June), Implementing Writing-as-Process in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34786

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