Penn State University , Pennsylvania
July 28, 2019
July 28, 2019
July 30, 2019
FYEE Conference - Paper Submission
The effectiveness of writing interventions on first-year engineering reports.
This abstract is for a work-in-progress paper. First-year engineering students often struggle to compose effective technical reports despite taking an English composition course concurrently. Many students do not seem to see the connection between the information presented in their English course and the reports they are asked to create in their engineering courses. This lack of ability to transfer knowledge from one context to another has been documented by scholars such as Perkins and Salomon . Perkins and Salomon term the ability to apply knowledge to a new set of circumstances as transfer.. In their study of transfer, they argue that students fail to apply what they learn in new contexts for various reasons, including the difference between local knowledge and general knowledge, where local knowledge is that which is viewed as being more specific . However, teachers can address this issue by being aware of transfer and using strategies that encourage transfer . Enhancing transfer is the goal of the current research project. The authors, an engineering professor teaching an introduction to engineering course, and an English professor with experience teaching English composition and technical writing, are working together to improve writing outcomes in a first-year engineering course. The scope of this project is two-fold: 1) students will receive additional feedback on their writing and 2) the engineering professor will improve provided materials and in-class course content (e.g,, lectures, activities, practice) on writing with guidance from the English professor. This project began with a spring first-year engineering class, while students are concurrently taking their second composition course. The two courses are not linked in any other way. For their first writing assignment in the engineering course, the students did not receive interventions or additional writing information. This assignment will be used as a baseline for the students. The subsequent assignments will be assessed by both faculty members with additional feedback being provided specific to writing skills with the goal of improving writing quality in the technical reports.
 D. N. Perkins and G. Salomon, “Teaching for transfer,” Educational Leadership, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 22-32, Sep. 1988. [Online]. Available: ERIC, http://eric.ed.gov. [Accessed Feb. 6, 2019].
Gray, K., & Bragg, R. L. (2019, July), The effectiveness of writing interventions on first-year engineering reports. Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/33731
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