Asee peer logo

Improving Student Writing Outcomes Through Dynamic Feedback, Design Oriented Projects and Curriculum Modification

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Your Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrations of Hands-On and Virtual In-Class Teaching Aids

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Matthew Willi Brand University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Matthew Brand is a PhD student focusing on sediment transport and modeling coupled human-natural systems in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Irvine. Matthew's work focuses on modeling the interactions between sediment transport and the natural and built environments in coastal estuaries. More specifically, this work investigates how hydromorphodynamic processes, regulations and habitat distributions in Newport Bay and the Tijuana River Estuary will evolve considering sea level rise and long-term climatic and land use changes. Matthew has been a TA for 3 years and is passionate about improving students writing and communication abilities through the use of innovative teaching techniques.

visit author page


Joel Lanning P.E. University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Joel Lanning​ specializes in​ seismic design of civil structures such as bridges and buildings. His research focuses on the development of tools and methods used in structural design and those used in experimental physical testing aimed at improving structural resilience during an earthquake. Lanning is passionate about teaching and is also focused on research and development of strategies to use in the classroom. His teaching philosophy includes building a strong learning community within each class and the use of high-impact practices to engage and challenge his students. ​

visit author page

Download Paper |


Technical writing is an important skill for engineers that is often cited by employers as a weakness among college graduates entering professional practice. Students are often admitted to engineering programs based on capacity for learning STEM topics and with less regard for reading and writing ability, and comprehensive engineering program requirements for learning technical topics limits the amount of coursework for explicitly developing technical writing ability. To assess strategies to improve technical writing among upper divisions students, we report the response of three cohorts of engineering students to modifications of a fluid mechanics course with a hands-on fluid mechanics laboratory project assignment that involves the preparation of a technical report. We find that group format instruction on report preparation, with specific examples of good and bad writing styles and a clear standard for the expected level of performance, is equally effective as small group meetings with more personalized feedback and is substantially less resource intensive. Group instruction materials shown to be effective are presented herein. Data collected found that improvements in groups technical writing ability did not necessarily correlate with an improvement in students’ perceived group effectiveness.

Brand, M. W., & Lanning, J. (2019, June), Improving Student Writing Outcomes Through Dynamic Feedback, Design Oriented Projects and Curriculum Modification Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32949

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: © 2019 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