Asee peer logo

The effectiveness of writing interventions on first-year engineering reports.

Download Paper |


2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M1B: WIP - Learning Experiences 2

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kimberlyn Gray West Virginia University Inst. of Tech.

visit author page

Dr. Kimberlyn Gray is an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in the department of Chemical Engineering. She coordinated STEM outreach for the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences.

visit author page


Rachel L. Bragg West Virginia University Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Bragg is an Assistant Professor of English at West Virginia University Institute of Technology. Her research interests include writing studies and visual rhetoric.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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 [1]. Perkins and Salomon term the ability to apply knowledge to a new set of circumstances as transfer.[1]. 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 [1]. However, teachers can address this issue by being aware of transfer and using strategies that encourage transfer [1]. 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.

[1] D. N. Perkins and G. Salomon, “Teaching for transfer,” Educational Leadership, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 22-32, Sep. 1988. [Online]. Available: ERIC, [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.

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: © 2019 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