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Promoting pedagogical change around writing: Observations of discursive turbulence

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Conference

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/42053

Download Count

44

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Paper Authors

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Julie Zilles University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Dr. Zilles is a Research Associate 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 the transdisciplinary Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) team, which is focused on promoting and adapting best practices from writing studies for STEM classes and curricula.

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Ryan Ware

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Megan Mericle

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Megan Mericle is a PhD student in Writing Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the construction of expertise and citizenship in literate activity surrounding citizen science. She is an Assistant Director for the Center for Writing Studies and a member of the research team Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) where she is conducting research on graduate student experiences in a STEM writing course.

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Paul Prior

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Paul Prior is a Professor in the Center for Writing Studies and the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 2016, he has been part of a team engaged in transdisciplinary action research on writing in STEM classes and curricula.

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John Gallagher University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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John R. Gallagher is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. He studies interfaces, participatory audiences, and technical communication.

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John Popovics University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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John Popovics is a Professor, Associate Head, and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His interests include writing instruction for engineering students.

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Lance Cooper

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Celia Elliott University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Abstract

Our work aims to support engineering and science faculty in adapting core concepts and best practices from writing studies and technical communication for their courses. We also study the effectiveness of varied supports, with an aim of improving the diffusion of effective pedagogies. Our Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) program includes a semester-long faculty learning community, followed by sustained mentoring, during which faculty and graduate students from our multidisciplinary team work with mentees to develop and implement new pedagogies and course materials. For graduate students, we developed an engineering course focused on engineering and science writing practices and pedagogies. This paper focuses on one key finding from our analysis: discussions about writing practices involving people from different disciplines often involve irregular and sporadic bumpiness through which foundational changes can emerge. We call this phenomenon discursive turbulence. In our experience, signs of discursive turbulence include affective intensity and co-existing contradictory beliefs. We share four examples to illustrate ways in which discursive turbulence appears, drawn from people with varying degrees and types of engagement with our transdisciplinary work: i) project team members, ii) a faculty mentee, iii) faculty who participated in a focus group on disciplinary writing goals, and iv) engineering graduate students who took our class on writing practice and pedagogy. Discursive turbulence now informs our mentoring approach. It can be generative as well as challenging. Importantly, it takes time to resolve, suggesting the utility of sustained mentoring during pedagogical change.

Zilles, J., & Ware, R., & Mericle, M., & Prior, P., & Gallagher, J., & Popovics, J., & Cooper, L., & Elliott, C. (2022, August), Promoting pedagogical change around writing: Observations of discursive turbulence Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42053

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