Remember your English composition class? Most likely, you had to choose a random theme, research your idea and write an analytical paper. Today, students in the newly redesigned Writing and Research course write on topics in their own field of study — topics that interest them.
Students investigate journals in their major and career field, learn the research conventions of those journals, discover the hot topics in their majors, and write for those journals — all in hopes of publishing their work.
“Focusing the class as a ‘writing in the disciplines’ course will make the students appreciate information literacy much more,” says Jossalyn Larson, assistant teaching professor in English and technical communication. “Because of the investigation skills being developed in the class, students are already beginning to consider non-traditional issues in their respective fields.”
“I have had a metallurgical engineering student write a paper about the viability of building metal spaceship parts while in the atmosphere, and an engineering management student examining best practices for leadership in the field,” says Dan Reardon, assistant professor of English and technical communication and director of composition at Missouri S&T. “The students are teaching us as well, allowing the English faculty to get a glimpse into what topics are really important to students.”