“Courses emphasize writing across the curriculum and provide revisions, feedback, and include writing as a significant part of course”Peters, Tisdale, & Swinton, 2019
It is well known that written assignments and projects help students to develop and hone their writing skills and improve their communication effectiveness. According to Rivard (1994), students’ science learning can be enhanced by writing activities when the assignments are related to meaningful course goals, students have the capacity to engage in metacognitive tasks, and when the learning environment promotes conceptual rather than encyclopedic knowledge. In fact, research confirms that undergraduate science majors who take writing-intensive courses improve their ability to consume and communicate about scientific papers (Brownell, Price & Steinman, 2013). Further, studies have shown that writing intensive seminars are instrumental in improving student success in undergraduate STEM majors (Waratuke & Kling, 2016). Estrada and colleagues recommend that educators review Weaver et al’s (2008) article which summarizes best practices in inquiry-based curriculum teaching. Educators would also benefit from reviewing and implementing Anderson and colleagues’ (2011) seven initiatives that can positively shift the culture of science education.
References and additional resources:
Anderson, W. A., Banerjee, U., Drennan, C. L., Elgin, S. C. R., Epstein, I. R., Handelsman, J., … & Strobel, S. A. (2011). Changing the culture of science education at research universities. Science, 331(6014), 152-153.
Brownell, S. E., Price, J. V., & Steinman, L. (2013). A writing-intensive course improves biology undergraduates’ perception and confidence of their abilities to read scientific literature and communicate science. Advances in Physiology Education, 37(1), 70-79.
Peters, A. W., Tisdale, V. A., & Swinton, D. J. (2019). High-impact educational practices that promote student achievement in STEM. Broadening Participation in STEM (Diversity in Higher Education) 22, 183-196.
Rivard, L. O. P. (1994). A review of writing to learn in science: Implications for practice and research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(9), 969-983.
Waratuke, S., & Kling, T. (2016). Interdisciplinary research in a dense summer bridge: The role of a writing intensive chemistry seminar. Journal of Chemical Education, 93(8), 1391-1396.
Weaver, G. C., Russell, C. B., & Wink, D. J. (2008). Inquiry-based and research-based laboratory pedagogies in undergraduate science. Nature chemical biology, 4(10), 577-580.