The science writing heuristic in online education

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The author conducted a classroom research project to see whether instruction with the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) in an online setting would increase evidence for critical thinking in the writing of his students. One unit was taught, and its final writing project was scored with a rubric that assessed critical thinking. Lab reports which were written before the SWH treatment unit was taught were also scored with the critical thinking rubric. Scores were compared and analyzed to ascertain whether the writing after the treatment showed an increase in critical thinking. The author found that there was a significant increase in scores after the treatment. The author concluded that, for a variety of reasons, the score on the final writing project was higher than the score on the previously written work. The author also asked whether using the SWH would increase student confidence in science class and gathered evidence by collecting and evaluating student work, interviewing students, and gathering survey results before and after the treatment. There was evidence that in several aspects of science class, student confidence was boosted. Finally, it was asked whether using the SWH would increase student enjoyment of science class. The same sources of information were used to evaluate whether this happened, and the results were inconclusive on this front.




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