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Writing, Speaking, and Communicating – Building Disciplinary Literacy in Materials Science Undergraduate Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1778.1 - 26.1778.12



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Paper Authors


Nancy Ruzycki University of Florida Orcid 16x16

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Director of Undergraduate Laboratories, Faculty Lecturer, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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Writing, Speaking and Communicating – Building Disciplinary Literacy in Materials Science Undergraduate Students. Nancy Ruzycki Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-6400Disciplinary Literacy broadly defined involves students reading, speaking, and writing using habits of thinkingthat are practiced within a core discipline, and differs from content literacy in significant ways [1-3].Disciplinary literacy is critical to education of engineers, owing to the habits of thinking, and ways ofcommunicating that uniquely comprise engineering practices. While there are many research basedpublications K12 on how disciplinary literacy enhances student learning outcomes, there is little research atthe post-secondary level, and none to date related to engineering education. This study looks at (i) howdisciplinary literacy practices can be used as tools to support core content ideas in engineering, andbuild engineering habits of thinking, and (ii) how students build towards effective disciplinary literacypractices when embedded in a collaborative undergraduate laboratory setting. A study was conductedwithin two undergraduate materials science courses; one a classroom, and one a collaborativelaboratory setting to see if embedded activities to build disciplinary literacy were successful in buildingeffective student communication practices and success on learning objectives. A classroomconversation tool was employed [4], as well as student formative and summative assessments to judgestudent growth in disciplinary literacy, and content objectives.1. McConachie, S. M., & Petrosky, A. R. (2009). Content matters: A disciplinary literacy approach toimproving student learning. John Wiley & Sons.2. Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2012). What is disciplinary literacy and why does it matter?. Topics inLanguage Disorders, 32(1), 7-18.3. Resnick, L. B., Michaels, S., & O’Connor, C. (2010). How (well-structured) talk builds the mind.Innovations in educational psychology: Perspectives on learning, teaching and human development, 163-194.4. Hakuta K., Zwiers, J. , Rutherford-­­Quach, S. (2013). Constructive Classroom Conversations MOOC,Stanford University Courseware Materials.

Ruzycki, N. (2015, June), Writing, Speaking, and Communicating – Building Disciplinary Literacy in Materials Science Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25115

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