Sati Maharaj

Date of Graduation


Document Type



The focus of this study is the integration of writing to learn in a foundation engineering course, Statics (MAE 41), at West Virginia University. The major purpose was to attempt to determine whether the integration of writing in this course fostered students' learning of the content. Two secondary areas of examination were: (i) students' attitudes toward the writing to learn strategies, and (ii) students' expectations of these writing activities. The study consisted of students enrolled in an MAE 41 (mechanical and aerospace engineering) course at WVU, ranging from sophomores to seniors. Students were not necessarily only MAE majors; they represented several other areas of engineering such as electrical, civil, electrical and computer, and industrial. The study is descriptive and represents an attempt to gather, examine, analyze, and synthesize information on how students, many of whom were exposed to writing to learn techniques for the first time, may benefit from such activities. It also attempted to gauge students' attitudes and expectations as they engaged in the writing activities as a means of learning content. Data were accumulated through handwritten observations noted in the researcher's personal journal, questionnaires, interviews, and students' logs. All data gathered from the interviews were recorded by means of handwritten notes. The five chapters in this study comprise of an introduction, a survey of the pertinent literature, methods and procedures, and the summary, conclusions, observations and recommendations. From an examination of the students' work in the Logs, their responses in the interviews and the open-ended questionnaires, several conclusions were reached: (i) writing promoted learning; (ii) different students liked different writing to learn activities; (iii) more consistent responses would have been generated from students had the close-ended questionnaire been more accurately phrased and more efficiently organized; (iv) it is difficult to anticipate the needs of such a diverse group of students; (v) fewer writing to learn activities should have been integrated into the course.