July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Many graduate students come to engineering education research with technical backgrounds in engineering. This can present a challenge for them in learning to write social science research, with new expectations around the structure of academic arguments for the field of engineering education research. Indeed, Berkencotter, Huckin & Ackerman’s early (1988) study on graduate student literacy suggests that even graduate students familiar with writing strategies struggle when entering new communities of practice and disciplines. Although some scholarship has focused on writing (Craig, 2005; Colwell, Whittington, & Jenks, 2011), minimal strategies for encouraging argumentation through a rhetorical approach have been developed for graduate students. Unlike a focus on written product, which privileges sentence-level concerns, a focus on rhetoric functions on a more abstract level, helping students to understand the structure and purpose of arguments as part of the writing process. Our research addresses the struggle many graduate students in engineering education experience as the work to develop rhetorical argumentation skills and pursues the question, “How can visual page forms support graduate students in the writing process?”
This paper presents findings from a study of a rhetorical approach to supporting graduate student writing that focuses on visualizing arguments using page patterns (Selzer King, Moore, Elder & Frankel, 2017). Like Berdanier (2018), our approach to visualizing arguments engages students in understanding the rhetorical patterns used in arguments, but this paper provides strategies for mentoring students as they develop their own arguments and as they work to understand the arguments of other scholars. This paper provides both the foundational theories required to understand a visual rhetoric approach and preliminary qualitative data that suggests its impact on graduate students in a doctoral level engineering education program.
Our paper presents three phases for engaging students in visual argumentation: --Understanding the Affordances of the Page --Understanding Others’ Arguments through Visualization --Building Your Own Visual Argument. After presenting these phases, we provide sample assignments and qualitative data drawn from three cohorts of graduate-level engineering education students to illustrate the effectiveness and experiences students report having in the approach. We conclude with the limitations and barriers to success that instructors may encounter in implementing these approaches in graduate classrooms.
Moore, K., & Wright, C. E., & Stone, E. M., & Pawley, A. L. (2021, July), Visualizing Arguments to Scaffold Graduate Writing in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38033
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