2020 McNeill

Project Title Full STEAM Ahead: Digital Teaching and Learning Resources for Writing Courses in STEM Disciplines
Principal Investigator Laurie McNeill
Co-Applicant
  • Mike Borkent, Lecturer, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, Faculty of Arts
  • Loren Gaudet, Lecturer, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, Faculty of Arts
  • Eric Jandciu, Strategist, Teaching and Learning Initiatives, Skylight, Faculty of Science
  • Patty Kelly, Program Manager, Center for Writing and Scholarly Communication, UBC Library
  • Jonathan Otto, Lecturer, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, Faculty of Arts
  • Jaclyn Stewart, Senior Instructor, Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Faculty Arts
Funding Year 2019/20
Project Summary Most faculties at UBC require that students complete a writing or communications course early in their degree. Best practices in writing pedagogies have established the benefits of teaching writing in the contexts of its applications (e.g., Giltrow; Hyland), in other words, to have students learn to write in the practices of their particular disciplines. In this project, faculty and staff from the Faculty of Science (Department of Chemistry and the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching (Skylight)), the Faculty of Arts’ writing studies unit, Arts Studies in Research and Writing (ASRW), and the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication (CWSC) will collaborate to revise existing and develop new online, open educational resources (OERs) to support students and instructors in the academic writing course WRDS (Writing in the Disciplines) 150 as well as other writing courses in STEM disciplines at UBC.

In previous TLEF-supported projects led by Stewart and Jandciu, a team of educators and students created online science-specific writing resources for students and educators, including videos, informational pages, examples, self-assessment quizzes, lesson plans, assignment ideas, and rubrics, to support SCIE 113 and 300. SCIE 113, the First-Year Seminar in Science, focusses on argumentative writing skills as a way to develop students’ understanding of what science is and how it is done. The learning activities in SCIE 300 provide opportunities for students to develop their oral and written communication for general and scientific audiences. The resources, divided between student-facing and educator-facing resources, include videos, informational pages, examples, self-assessment quizzes, lesson plans, assignment ideas, and rubrics are openly available on the Science Writing Resources for Learning website (www.scwrl.ubc.ca). The resources are currently used in SCIE 113, SCIE 300, CHEM 300, and other courses, but since they are open resources, they are available to anyone. Educators can request passwords to assignment solutions.

While the ScWRL OERs have been very successful and use at UBC has been sustained for several years, feedback suggests the potential for improvements to and expansions of this material to make it useful to students taking and faculty teaching WRDS 150 and writing-related courses in other disciplines. Most faculties at UBC require that students complete a writing or communications course early in their degree. Best practices in writing pedagogies have established the benefits of teaching writing in the contexts of its applications (e.g., Giltrow; Hyland), in other words, to have students learn to write in the practices of their particular disciplines.

WRDS 150 is taught by ASRW and since 2019 has offered over 100 sections (~3000 seats) for students in STEM disciplines. The course invites students to participate in the scholarly conversation by performing the actions of researchers, scholarly communicators, and peer reviewers while understanding and upholding the expectations of academic integrity. Students begin to develop their own identities as apprentice members of academic research communities by producing work in several scholarly genres, using the language and rhetorical features characteristic of specific academic disciplines. Some parts of the existing ScWRL OERs are useful in the WRDS 150 teaching context, but more of the resources could be applicable to the course with some revisions. We therefore see an opportunity for the original developers of the resources to work collaboratively with writing studies experts to increase the impact of the ScWRL resources through their alignment and use in WRDS 150.
Grant type OER Implementation Grant
Funded Amount $24,461