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Abstract Title: Impacting Learning across Disciplines through Undergraduate Thesis Writing
Abstract: We present results from the first year of ongoing research to better understand how writing an undergraduate thesis improves critical thinking and writing skills through impacting metacognition, motivation and beliefs. In previous work, we have demonstrated that students studying biology who participate in a thesis-writing course alongside independent research not only develop better writing skills--expected, perhaps--but also exhibit stronger scientific reasoning skills than students working one-on-one with faculty. Students enrolled in the writing course achieved highest honors at graduation at almost triple the rate of other thesis writers. These results are in keeping with the notion that writing can be an effective strategy for promoting positive learning outcomes, but here we strive to understand how writing actually affects learning. Data have been collected across multiple departments and institutions. Ultimately, our analysis will be used to motivate institution- and department-specific changes during subsequent years of this multi-year study.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jason E. Dowd
Duke University
Box 90338, 137 BioSci Bldg
130 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708
Phone: 7733830088
and Co-Presenter(s)
Julie A. Reynolds, Duke University