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Writing To Learn: The Effect Of Peer Tutoring On Critical Thinking And Writing Skills Of First Year Engineering Students

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

New Learning Paradigms I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

14.1383.1 - 14.1383.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5684

Download Count

48

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Paper Authors

biography

Rebecca Damron Oklahoma State University

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REBECCA DAMRON earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987 in South Asian Studies, her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language in 1992 from Oklahoma State University, and her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1997 from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Damron worked in the writing program in the department of English at the University of Tulsa from 1996-2001, and is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the OSU Writing Center at Oklahoma State University. Her main research interests are in writing in the disciplines, discourse analysis of talk about writing and corpus-based analysis of written texts.

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Karen High Oklahoma State University

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Writing to Learn: The Effect of Peer Tutoring on Critical Thinking and Writing Skills of First-Year Engineering Students Critical Thinking, First-Year Engineering Students, Writing Fellows

Abstract

In an effort to study the writing and critical thinking skills of first-year engineering students, the authors have engaged in a research study which asks whether critical thinking and writing of first-year (FY) students can be improved by linking engineering with English courses. One intervention developed for this study was the use of Writing Fellows (undergraduate peer tutors) in the engineering course. Writing Fellows (WF) have been found to be effective at enhancing the writing abilities of students in courses across the curriculum The specific sub-questions for this segment of the larger study are the focus of this paper: Does the WF experience improve writing and critical thinking? Do the FY students perceive the WF experience as helpful? Can the Writing Fellow experience help improve scores on reports in the engineering course? How does the experience have an impact on the Writing Fellows who are also Engineering students? Four undergraduate engineering students and one undergraduate English student were chosen as WFs. There were 71 students enrolled in Engineering 1111, a one-credit introduction to engineering course. The FY students in the class wrote two reports based on design activities: one was written at the beginning of the semester and the other at the end in order to compare scores and the effectiveness of the interventions. Results of grades on assignments, student evaluation of the tutor experience and reflective experiences of the WFs themselves were positive. These initial results confirm and extend work done with Writing Fellows across the curriculum: WFs do enhance the writing skills of students in the disciplines; the students perceive them to be helpful; and they do help content-based writing scores. In addition, the WFs’ writing and communication skills benefit from the experience.

Introduction

In an effort to study the writing and critical thinking skills of first-year engineering students, the authors have engaged in a research study1,2, which asks whether critical thinking and writing of first-year (FY) students can be improved by linking engineering with English courses. One intervention developed for this study was the use of Writing Fellows (undergraduate peer tutors) in the engineering course.

Writing Fellows (WF) are undergraduate peer tutors who come from the disciplines of the students they are tutoring. Many universities across the United States and now abroad (O’Neill3) engage these tutors in various ways across the curriculum. The notion of peer tutoring draws on Bruffee’s4,5 work on collaboration—that the work of the academy is a conversation and we are engaging students in that conversation, and that collaboration is a means of advancing that conversation. Writing Fellows (WF) have been found to be effective at enhancing the writing abilities of students in courses across the curriculum,

Damron, R., & High, K. (2009, June), Writing To Learn: The Effect Of Peer Tutoring On Critical Thinking And Writing Skills Of First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5684

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: © 2009 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