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Interdisciplinary Pedagogical Actions to Optimize Engineering Undergraduate Written Production

8 pagesPublished: February 23, 2017

Abstract

Writing is extremely challenging for engineering students. Navarro (2012) asserts that academic literacy in the mother tongue is similar to learning a foreign language as it involves immersion in a new culture. Food Engineering undergraduates (School of Food Science, University of Entre Ríos) face this difficulty when they have to write their Final Project. As a consequence, interdisciplinary actions were implemented by engineers and linguists (both in English and Spanish) in order to raise students´ awareness of this genre characteristics, to facilitate its production and to write relevant titles and abstracts. The importance of both title and abstract is paramount once the Final Projects are uploaded to the university website in order to attract readers. The objective of this study was to explore whether interdisciplinary actions could optimize undergraduates´ written production. All titles produced since the first Food Engineer graduated were collected. This corpus analysis revealed that titles were extremely short and provided very little information. Consequently, pedagogical activities were designed and implemented as from 2012. An exploration of antecedent or prior genre knowledge (Artemeva, N. & Fox., J., 2010) was carried out in different workshops. Generic structure, audience awareness, rhetorical functions and linguistic features studied in the English courses were activated. Writing seminars in Spanish were implemented in 5º year. In addition, undergraduates attended tutorials with the engineers and then and then interviews with the linguists. In several meetings students discussed titles and abstracts (in Spanish and English), designed their slides for the oral defense and rehearsed their oral presentations. The analysis of the corpus including all projects´ titles defended within the time window that included our actions indicated that students had activated their previous generic knowledge. Feedback from students, after graduation, demonstrated that interdisciplinary activities included language as an across the curriculum content and contributed to the adequate production of academic genres. Results may affect curricular design and decisions at the macro level since implementation of writing seminars along undergraduates´ trajectories has been positioned as a top priority.

Keyphrases: academic genres, academic literacy, interdisciplinary work, written production

In: Chelo Vargas-Sierra (editor). Professional and Academic Discourse: an Interdisciplinary Perspective, vol 2, pages 127--134

Links:
BibTeX entry
@inproceedings{AESLA2016:Interdisciplinary_Pedagogical_Actions_to,
  author    = {Alicia Noceti},
  title     = {Interdisciplinary Pedagogical Actions to Optimize Engineering Undergraduate Written Production},
  booktitle = {Professional and Academic Discourse: an Interdisciplinary Perspective},
  editor    = {Chelo Vargas-Sierra},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics},
  volume    = {2},
  pages     = {127--134},
  year      = {2017},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair, http://www.easychair.org},
  issn      = {2398-5283},
  url       = {https://easychair.org/publications/paper/KwRs},
  doi       = {10.29007/6434}}
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