Understanding Students' Experiences in Writing-Intensive Courses
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Students' ability to be effective writers is paramount to their success in the workforce. The purpose of this qualitative study was to use focus group interviews to understand students' experiences in and attitudes about writing-intensive courses in two social science departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. Fifteen students from the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications participated in three focus groups. All participants had taken at least one writing-intensive course. Four prominent themes emerged: definition of writing, writing instruction, critical thinking and learning and writing intensive course experience. Students claimed not all writing-intensive courses are effective. However, courses that provided students with opportunities to immerse themselves into a writing-rich environment while learning effective ways to portray thoughts, acquire the diction of the discipline, overlook superfluous information and be specific were effective. Courses with repetitious, project building assignments and feedback at regular intervals helped students become effective writers. Improving students' writing abilities is more than just stating criteria and implementing the criteria in the course. More research needs to be conducted on the teaching methods and writing assignment that help students become effective writers who can analyze information and think critically.
author list (cited authors)
Leggette, H. R., & Homeyer, M.