In the Norwegian engineering education, there has been an increasing focus on writing
instruction in the last decade. Although writing in the disciplines seems to be the overall goal,
the disciplines themselves are not prepared for nor equipped to provide the writing instruction
the students need.
This article attempts to measure the effect of a writing course that was given in the first
semester of the engineering study at the University of Agder in 2018. The writing course was a
collaboration between the disciplines of engineering, the university library and a writing
instructor with permanent affiliation to the Department of Engineering. The aim of the
collaboration was to gather the expertise from the disciplines and the university library in the
design of writing courses in engineering. The survey seeks to find answers to the students'
experience of the writing course, and the challenges they face in academic disciplinary writing.
Answers from the students are compared with answers from conversations with study
coordinators and subject teachers in the five engineering study programs at UiA.
The results show that the students find teaching and supervision useful, both to achieve
the learning outcomes for the course, but also for use in other writing situations in their
education. The problems students have with academic writing are both discipline-specific and
general. They experience challenges in three areas in particular: genre orientation, text structure
and information literacy.
The close collaboration between the writing instructor, the library and the engineers is
bridge-building and contributes to a holistic writing instruction in the engineering education.
The interdisciplinary collaboration also raises the competence of all staff involved.
Copyright (c) 2020 Gunvor Sofia Almlie
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