Session S38 (Tuesday, 9:30am, Life Sciences 011)

P368: Introducing Stanford freshman to science writing through Calibrated Peer Review

Jennifer Schwartz (Stanford University, USA), Charlie Cox (Stanford University, USA), Caitlin Ortega (Stanford University, USA), Donovan Barfield (Stanford University, USA)

While Stanford does an excellent job of preparing students for college writing in the humanities through the new Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) course series, much less emphasis is put on science style writing.  Therefore, when students reach upper level lab courses they often feel intimidated and under-prepared for the task of writing laboratory reports.  In order to more gradually infuse science writing into the chemistry curriculum and better develop our students’ ability to explain key science concepts, we have begun introducing short writing assignments through the use of the Calibrated Peer Review system in the introductory general chemistry courses.  The goals of these assignments are two fold: 1) to focus assignments on key student misconceptions so that students can build a deeper understanding through explanation and 2) to begin building a greater level of comfort with clear and concise science writing so that students feel more prepared for the advanced writing tasks in laboratory courses.  The presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing CPR writing tasks in a large freshman (400+ student) course.

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