Implementing writing-as-process in engineering education

Bruce Kovanen, Ryan Ware, Megan Mericle, Nicole Turnipseed, J. Patrick Coleman, Celia Mathews Elliott, John S. Popovics, S. Lance Cooper, John R. Gallagher, Paul Prior, Julie L. Zilles

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Although professional boards and engineering employers have emphasized written communication as a key feature of engineering education and practice, a range of challenges-from lack of pedagogical training in writing to large class sizes and heavy content requirements-often prevent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) faculty from incorporating writing instruction into classes. This paper focuses on a key theoretical concept from the field of writing studies, writing-as-process, and explores how it has been included by STEM faculty in their teaching. We first review theoretical and empirical work that supports writing-as-process as an effective tool for facilitating student learning. We then illustrate how writing-as-process has been incorporated into varied types of courses, drawing on a multi-year intervention project designed to enhance writing in engineering and STEM. The examples describe reflective, writing-to-learn activities for first-year orientation courses; scaffolded approaches for laboratory and problem-based-learning classes; and directed peer review and response to reviewer comments in middle- and upper-level courses. The paper concludes by addressing the vital role STEM faculty play in socializing their students into ways of thinking, being, and writing in their disciplines and demonstrates how a process orientation to writing instruction can help faculty achieve that goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number829
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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