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Creating Successful Campus Partnerships for Teaching Communication in Biology Courses and Labs

    Authors: Susanne E. Hall1,*, Christina Birch2
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125; 2: Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 25 July 2017 Accepted 09 November 2017 Published 30 March 2018
    • ©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • 1For us, and for most colleagues you will meet whose work focuses on the teaching and learning of writing, the term “academic writing” is a capacious one, including both the classroom assignments given to students and the research-related writing on which that classroom writing is often modeled. It is inclusive of types of writing as diverse as argument-driven essays, review articles, lab reports, posters, journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, grant proposals and progress reports, and abstracts. At institutions with law, business, medical, or other professional schools, the genres in which professionals and students in those fields write may also be referred to as academic writing.
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 1200 E. California Blvd., MC 101-40, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125. Phone: 626-395-1738. Fax: 626-405-9841. E-mail: seh@caltech.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1395
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    Abstract:

    Creating and teaching successful writing and communication assignments for biology undergraduate students can be challenging for faculty trying to balance the teaching of technical content. The growing body of published research and scholarship on effective teaching of writing and communication in biology can help inform such work, but there are also local resources available to support writing within biology courses that may be unfamiliar to science faculty and instructors. In this article, we discuss common on-campus resources biology faculty can make use of when incorporating writing and communication into their teaching. We present the missions, histories, and potential collaboration outcomes of three major on-campus writing resources: writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines initiatives (WAC/WID), writing programs, and writing centers. We explain some of the common misconceptions about these resources in order to help biology faculty understand their uses and limits, and we offer guiding questions faculty might ask the directors of these resources to start productive conversations. Collaboration with these resources will likely save faculty time and effort on curriculum development and, more importantly, will help biology students develop and improve their critical reading, writing, and communication skills.

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1395
2018-03-30
2018-04-21

Abstract:

Creating and teaching successful writing and communication assignments for biology undergraduate students can be challenging for faculty trying to balance the teaching of technical content. The growing body of published research and scholarship on effective teaching of writing and communication in biology can help inform such work, but there are also local resources available to support writing within biology courses that may be unfamiliar to science faculty and instructors. In this article, we discuss common on-campus resources biology faculty can make use of when incorporating writing and communication into their teaching. We present the missions, histories, and potential collaboration outcomes of three major on-campus writing resources: writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines initiatives (WAC/WID), writing programs, and writing centers. We explain some of the common misconceptions about these resources in order to help biology faculty understand their uses and limits, and we offer guiding questions faculty might ask the directors of these resources to start productive conversations. Collaboration with these resources will likely save faculty time and effort on curriculum development and, more importantly, will help biology students develop and improve their critical reading, writing, and communication skills.

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