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Redesigning Writing Instruction Within a Lab-Based Civil Engineering Course: Reporting on the Evolution Across Several Semesters

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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

Civil Engineering Division - Huh? What Did You Say? What Does That Mean?

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/41443

Download Count

66

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Paper Authors

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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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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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Karthik Pattaje Sooryanarayana University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Karthik Pattaje is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering (Construction Materials) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include concrete rheology and 3D printing. He has been involved in teaching and redesigning a laboratory course to improve the technical writing skills of undergraduate STEM students.

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Rebecca Avgoustopoulos University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Rebecca Avgoustopoulos is a PhD student in Writing Studies at the University of Illinois. She has taught First-Year Writing and Business Writing, and is currently focused on pursuing her research interests in writing across disciplines. She works with faculty to integrate writing into their STEM-oriented classrooms and to evaluate its influence on student learning.

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Ryan Ware

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Mia Renna University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Renna is a PhD Civil Engineering student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign primarily interested in natural disaster mitigation engineering policy. She is part of an interdisciplinary team that focuses on helping STEM instructors integrate writing into their courses. Renna obtained her B.S. from Clemson University and her M.S. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Renna is a 2021 Tilman Scholar awardee and has earned professional certifications in Project Management Professional, Lean Six-Sigma Green Belt, and LEED Green Associate. Renna is a military veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an engineering officer for over 8 years.

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Abstract

Development of effective communication skills in engineering students is critical, yet challenging. As engineering programs are technically rigorous, work-intensive, and challenged by their high enrollment numbers, methods to improve students’ writing skills must be costeffective and scalable. This paper describes pedagogical changes and shares course materials designed to integrate core concepts from writing studies into an advanced laboratory-based civil engineering course. We incorporate language units developed by the Civil Engineering Writing Project that provide strong connections to professional engineers’ writing. Specific concepts that guided the redesign are genre awareness and flexibility, process orientation to writing, and global, prioritized feedback. Several semesters into the iterative implementation of these changes, teaching assistants observe greater student engagement, without an increase in teaching workload.

Popovics, J., & Zilles, J., & Pattaje Sooryanarayana, K., & Avgoustopoulos, R., & Ware, R., & Renna, M. (2022, August), Redesigning Writing Instruction Within a Lab-Based Civil Engineering Course: Reporting on the Evolution Across Several Semesters Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41443

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