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Something to Write Home(work) About: An Analysis of Writing Exercises in Fluid Mechanics Textbooks

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Communication Across the Divisions III: Writing as Social–Technical Integration

Tagged Divisions

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society and Computing & Information Technology

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

26.1382.1 - 26.1382.16

DOI

10.18260/p.24719

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24719

Download Count

141

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Paper Authors

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Natascha M. Trellinger Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8503-5787

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Natascha Trellinger is a second year Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University where her interest in the teaching and learning aspects of engineering began. At Purdue, Natascha is a member of the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) and is particularly interested in graduate level engineering education.

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Rebecca R. Essig Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5518-2636

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Rebecca Essig is a 5th year PhD Candidate at Purdue University in Civil Engineering. Rebecca is a GAANN Fellow under Dr. Cary Troy specializing in Environmental Fluid Mechanics. She received her BS and MS from the Lyles School of Civil Engineering in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

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Cary D. Troy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Cary Troy is an associate professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. His research focuses on environmental fluid mechanics and Lake Michigan, as well as innovative and effective pedagogical techniques in large engineering courses.

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Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He is also an Associate Director of Purdue’s Global Engineering Program, leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic,
disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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Josh Boyd Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Josh Boyd is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at the Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University. He frequently teaches writing-intensive classes, and he studies ways to improve writing and assessment of writing across the curriculum.

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Abstract

Something to Write Home(work) About: An Analysis of Writing Exercises in Fluid Mechanics TextbooksAs assessments of learning outcomes are increasingly emphasized through accreditationrequirements (e.g., via ABET) and other quality assurance initiatives, written communication isone area that engineering instructors often find challenging to incorporate and assess. This isparticularly true in large core courses at the sophomore and junior levels. In this project, ananalysis of writing-based problems in fluid mechanics textbooks attempts to locate theavailability of activities that would allow students to practice writing, to learn through writing,and to use writing to relate course content to broader applications and contexts.This study is part of a larger ongoing project to understand and expand the incorporation ofwriting in large-lecture engineering courses, including investigation of faculty perspectives andtextbook assignments and assessments. This snapshot of writing-across-engineering will theninform efforts to create a range of writing activities (and assessment methods), mapped to ABETlearning outcomes, that instructors can incorporate in large engineering classes. Our objective isto examine widely-used textbooks in thermodynamics, materials, circuits, statics, and dynamics.In the preliminary analysis reported in this paper, we study problem sets from five popular fluidmechanics textbooks to find problems requiring more than merely numerical or calculatedanswers. As these writing-based problems are identified, we will categorize them in terms of thetype of prompt they represent, such as asking for explanation of a solution, application of aconcept to real-world examples, or problem-solving that requires description of processes.Once the number and types of writing problems in these textbooks has been analyzed andorganized, we will further explore how well the texts support actually using these exercises inclass. While writing-based prompts might be present, for example, instructors might not havethe resources, expertise, and/or support needed to incorporate them in their classes. Morespecifically, examination of solution sets and instructor’s guides will reveal how much thetextbooks equip instructors to assign and then assess the writing prompts that do exist. Finally,the extant writing assignments will be mapped to ABET learning outcomes to see how promptscan potentially be used to address key learning outcomes, e.g., in relation to the studentoutcomes in ABET Criterion 3.The result of this analysis will be an understanding of how well popular fluid mechanicstextbook assignments guide students in writing, and how well the textbooks equip instructors tomake use of those assignments. We will use this data to identify areas in which more writingassignments and assessment training would be useful for the teaching of engineering. This paperwill likely be of particular interest to faculty and staff interested in using writing to support avariety of technical, professional, and global learning outcomes in core engineering courses.

Trellinger, N. M., & Essig, R. R., & Troy, C. D., & Jesiek, B. K., & Boyd, J. (2015, June), Something to Write Home(work) About: An Analysis of Writing Exercises in Fluid Mechanics Textbooks Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24719

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: © 2015 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