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Teaching Evidence-Based Writing Using Corporate Blogs

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1 Author(s)
Chien-Ching Lee ; Language & Commun. Center, Nanyang Technol. Univ., Singapore, Singapore

Teaching problem: Students' written assignments show that they tend to list ideas rather than provide evidence-based arguments. This might be because they do not have a framework to base their arguments on. Research question: Does the communication model framework help students to write evidence-based arguments when evaluating the communicative effectiveness in corporate blogs? Situating the case: The ability to engage in argument from evidence is one of the Next Generation Science Standards for scientific and engineering practices. Thus, it is important for engineering students to know how to present evidence-based arguments. The communication model framework was introduced to provide students with a framework to base their arguments on. This framework builds on the genre-based and academic literacies approaches to teaching writing. More companies are now using corporate blogs (an open, participatory, and globally networked social media tool) to engage stakeholders directly across multiple contexts. The framework is useful in analyzing evolving genres like corporate blogs because it is not only structured but also flexible. About the case: This teaching case describes the use of the communication model framework as the basis for students' arguments. The framework was used in a general writing course for engineering students. Working in groups, the students used the framework for their oral practice critique and their critique assignment on a given piece of academic writing or corporate blog. They also had to write a reflection paper individually at the end of the course. Results: Overall, the mixed groups and international students groups made a stronger attempt to apply the framework compared to the Singaporean student groups. The students' educational backgrounds, the group dynamics within the group, and the nature of the discussions affected the level of adoption of the framework in their writing. Conclusions: This teaching case reflects the value of mixed g- oup, face-to-face discussions, and personal reflection in teaching students evidence-based writing, and calls for more research on flexible frameworks as genres evolve.

Published in:

Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 3 )