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Proceedings Paper • Open Access • new

Creating confident scientific writers engaged in a productive writing and editing using portfolios with contemplative essays
Author(s): Stacia K. Vargas; Paul Hanstedt

Paper Abstract

A Portfolio Method designed, by the authors’, to improve scientific writing through reflective editing, was implemented successfully in an undergraduate optics laboratory. The method uses a unique combination of formal reports, submitted weekly, and portfolios with contemplative essays submitted at the midterm and final. The portfolios are developmental learning tools, not just a showcase of student work. The approach incorporates the best of traditional methods with the novel reflective component in the essay, which empowers the writer to embrace a more deliberate revision process. For the portfolio submission, students must revise two previously graded reports. Along with each report, students must submit a contemplative essay, in which they document how the revisions strengthen the science and the writing, ultimately, transitioning the student away from simply making corrections to carefully reasoning through each change and its significance. As a result, the writing becomes a powerful and effective tool for learning not just a means of communicating. After several semester of use, the Portfolio Method continues to enhance the quality of student writing through the process of revising. Furthermore, for the students, the method generates a sense of pride and confidence because the contemplation allows them to see the transformation in their own writing. Finally, for the professor and the students, the method alleviates much of the frustration associated with teaching and learning how to become a confident scientific writer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2019
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 11143, Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019, 111430M (2 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2511472
Show Author Affiliations
Stacia K. Vargas, Virginia Military Institute (United States)
Paul Hanstedt, Roanoke College (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11143:
Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard; Joseph A. Shaw, Editor(s)

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