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Writing to Learn Engineering: Identifying Effective Techniques for the Integration of Written Communication into Engineering Classes and Curricula (NSF RIGEE project)

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/p.27060

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27060

Download Count

250

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Paper Authors

biography

Cary Troy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Cary Troy is an associate professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. His research focuses on environmental fluid mechanics, physical oceanography, coastal engineering, and Lake Michigan, as well as innovative and effective pedagogical techniques in large engineering courses. He teaches courses in elementary fluid mechanics, coastal engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, and transport processes.

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biography

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

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

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Natascha Trellinger is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She graduated with 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 and faculty experiences.

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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 6th 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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Abstract

The inclusion of writing-based exercises in technical courses has multiple learning benefits to students. Writing exercises not only serve to improve students’ written communication skills (i.e., “learn to write”), but can also be leveraged to develop critical thinking skills and promote deeper understanding of technical concepts (i.e., “write to learn”). Nevertheless, while writing-intensive assignments are relatively common in upper-level technical courses, especially in the form of laboratory and project reports, writing is often absent in the larger, required core courses that are taken by large numbers of engineering students. This is a missed opportunity to both enhance student learning of technical content as well as missed chance for students to have more writing practice. This NSF RIGEE project aims to investigate, support, and promote the inclusion of writing in technical courses, particularly introductory and core courses. Analysis of an engineering instructor survey carried out as part of the project revealed concerns about assessment and feedback on students’ written work. Additionally, writing instructors were interested in the creation of guides designed to aid instructors in the creation and tailoring of writing prompts for use in their existing technical courses. This paper introduces preliminary resources we have created in response to these stated needs, in order to help instructors develop, implement, and assess writing assignments in their courses. Current resources include a decision tree to help instructors create writing assignments within their classrooms and assessment rubrics that can easily be adapted to specific writing assignment needs. Resources will continue to be developed during the remainder of the project, culminating in a writing website geared towards instructors.

Troy, C., & Jesiek, B. K., & Boyd, J., & Buswell, N. T., & Essig, R. R. (2016, June), Writing to Learn Engineering: Identifying Effective Techniques for the Integration of Written Communication into Engineering Classes and Curricula (NSF RIGEE project) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27060

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