Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)



Brian M. Waters

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Course portfolio developed as part of the UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project (peerreview.unl.edu)

Copyright (c) 2015 Brian Waters


Scientific writing is a skill that is useful for science students, since many of them will write about their research in theses, dissertations or journal articles. However, many students have not been trained in scientific writing, and the task seems insurmountable to some, who can develop a “fear of writing” that prevents them from finishing their program or manuscript. To effectively teach scientific writing, the instructor should devote the most effort to the most effective learning activities. Thus, this inquiry portfolio addresses two Research Questions: 1) “What is the most effective activity in my course for student learning?”, and 2) “Does this course increase student confidence in scientific writing?” First-day and last-day quizzes and surveys were used to collect data about student knowledge and opinions of class activity effectiveness, and student confidence levels for scientific writing tasks. This data indicated a strong improvement in scientific writing knowledge and confidence, and showed that the writing process itself, and the revising process using instructor and peer feedback, were the two most effective learning activities.