Asee peer logo

Providing Sustainable Scientific Writing Support for Graduate Engineering Students by Creating a Local Scientific Learning Community

Download Paper |

Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Professional Skills for Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30909

Download Count

23

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Prasun Lala École de Technologie Supérieure

visit author page

Prasun Lala is a member of SARA’s team at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), in Montréal, where he focuses on helping engineering graduate students learn skills related to scientific communication, through group activities involving writing and reviewing their own scientific work. He holds a M.Sc. in Neurophysiology from the Aerospace Medical Research Unit (AMRU) at McGill University and is part of the research support staff in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM) at McGill

visit author page

biography

Félix Langevin Harnois École de Technologie Supérieure

visit author page

Librarian at École de technologie supérieure, an engineering school in Montreal, he works on developing information literacy skills for undergraduate and graduate doctoral students. He also works, in collaboration with 3 professors and a researcher, on the SARA service which uses peer-support to help graduate students who have to write a thesis, a journal article or who want to develop their scientific communication skills.

visit author page

biography

Ghizlane El Boussaidi École de Technologie Supérieure

visit author page

Ghizlane El Boussaidi is a professor at the department of software and IT engineering at Ecole de Technologie Supérieure (University of Québec). Her areas of research and interest include software design, model-driven engineering, safety-critical systems, software modernization and software engineering education. She has cumulated over 15 years of industrial experience with various software and IT companies.

visit author page

biography

Christian Desrosiers École de Technologie Supérieure

visit author page

Christian Desrosiers obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Polytechnique Montréal in 2008, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota on the topic of machine learning. In 2009, he joined ÉTS Montréal as professor in the Dept. of Software and IT Engineering. His main research interests focus on machine learning, image processing, computer vision and medical imaging. Dr. Desrosiers is codirector of the Laboratoire d’imagerie, de vision et d’intelligence artificielle (LIVIA) and is a member of the REPARTI research network.

visit author page

biography

Catherine Laporte École de Technologie Supérieure

visit author page

Catherine Laporte obtained her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in 2010. Since then, she has been a professor of electrical engineering at École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), where she teaches undergraduate courses in algorithms, biomedical instrumentation and medical imaging. Her research focuses on medical ultrasound image analysis, and aims to address problems relating to image acquisition, image segmentation and registration, 3D reconstruction, tracking and shape analysis using statistical methods. As an adjunct researcher at Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre, she is currently developing applications of ultrasound image analysis for non-invasive follow-up of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the analysis of tongue motion for the study of speech production.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Objectives: Provide sustainable support to graduate students that are writing scientific texts, while breaking their sense of isolation Graduate students share the results of their scientific research mainly by writing and publishing scientific papers. To acquire the writing skills necessary for this task, engineering graduate students tend to use the same proven tools they have used for acquiring their technical engineering skills, i.e. classical pedagogical resources such as guides, workshops, and classroom-style instruction, if using any tools at all. Many institutions and educators also turn to these classical methods, even if they do not have adequate resources to meet student demand; thus, students may have limited access to many of these learning tools. Furthermore, personalized feedback on student scientific writing in progress is limited in scope to a specific assigned task e.g. in a class. With no practical experience, many students also feel a sense of isolation in the undertaking of scientific writing. In this context, we aimed to create a sustainable means for providing support for scientific writing by leveraging our existing engineering community’s experience and knowledge. Methods: Create a local scientific learning community that supports each other through feedback and exchange At our engineering school, we created a microcosm of the scientific community at large in order to give students practical experience and feedback in writing and evaluating scientific texts. Students, professors, and research staff of diverse backgrounds and experience exchanged, evaluated and discussed texts within the scope of various activities and services. With the guidance of the library and motivated students and professors, these activities included, among others, the following: A web platform mimicking the article submission process of a conference, with volunteer peer reviewers; regular writing-support group meetings of small groups of students exchanging and giving feedback on scientific texts in progress; writing blitz activities where students focused on their own writing but in a rallying group setting; regular contests on scientific writing and reviewing with specific writing goals in mind. The activities mostly emphasized practical results, where students achieved tangible goals in a group setting instead of working in isolation. The activities also afforded students the opportunity to exchange insights, learned experiences, and ideas on how to best communicate research. The support for these activities came from the existing resource of students, professors, librarians, and research staff. Results: Students joined a sustainable learning community in which they reported feeling less isolated and having better support in scientific writing and publishing The activities mentioned above were supported by the established local community. Students from diverse engineering fields made connections and reported that they appreciated the support of their peers within the local scientific community, but more importantly found that their communications skills improved. Students who started this active learning process as scientific writing “novices” were eventually able to mentor other students, and honed their critical reviewing skills as well. Conclusion: Support for student writing can be achieved through community-based exchange, even with limited resources Providing the tools for graduate students to collaborate, share and receive feedback, constructively discuss, actively learn, and experience first hand, a microcosm of scientific communication, succeeded in supporting student writing and critical thinking as well as breaking student isolation. A paucity of resources should not inhibit educators from launching a scientific writing assistance program, as they can guide the growth of a learning community that provides such assistance.

Lala, P., & Langevin Harnois, F., & El Boussaidi, G., & Desrosiers, C., & Laporte, C. (2018, June), Providing Sustainable Scientific Writing Support for Graduate Engineering Students by Creating a Local Scientific Learning Community Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30909

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: © 2018 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