Writing-to-learn in undergraduate science education: a community-based, conceptually driven approach.

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2012-01

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Abstract

Despite substantial evidence that writing can be an effective tool to promote student learning and engagement, writing-to-learn (WTL) practices are still not widely implemented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, particularly at research universities. Two major deterrents to progress are the lack of a community of science faculty committed to undertaking and applying the necessary pedagogical research, and the absence of a conceptual framework to systematically guide study designs and integrate findings. To address these issues, we undertook an initiative, supported by the National Science Foundation and sponsored by the Reinvention Center, to build a community of WTL/STEM educators who would undertake a heuristic review of the literature and formulate a conceptual framework. In addition to generating a searchable database of empirically validated and promising WTL practices, our work lays the foundation for multi-university empirical studies of the effectiveness of WTL practices in advancing student learning and engagement.

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10.1187/cbe.11-08-0064

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Reynolds, Julie A, Christopher Thaiss, Wendy Katkin and Robert J Thompson (2012). Writing-to-learn in undergraduate science education: a community-based, conceptually driven approach. CBE life sciences education, 11(1). pp. 17–25. 10.1187/cbe.11-08-0064 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20443.

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Scholars@Duke

Reynolds

Julie Reynolds

Associate Professor of the Practice of the Department of Biology

Julie Reynolds has a Ph.D. in biology but, through a series of unexpected events, became an expert in writing pedagogies. She spent 5 years learning to teach writing as a postdoctoral fellow in Duke University’s first-year writing program before transitioning to the biology department where she has taught science writing and writing-intensive courses to thousands of undergraduates and graduate students. With over a decade of funding from the National Science Foundation, her disciplinary-based education research has focused on how writing assignments can promote deep, conceptual learning, especially in large science courses. Dr. Reynolds is also a writing coach and has helped hundreds of scientists across the country to increase their productivity while reducing stress associated with writing.

Thompson

Robert J. Thompson

Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

My research and teaching interests include how biological and psychosocial processes act together in human development and learning. One area of focus has been on the adaptation of children and their families to developmental problems and chronic illnesses, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. Another area of focus is enhancing undergraduate education through scholarship on teaching and learning and fostering the development of empathy and identity.


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