AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Lab Guidelines Focus Area 4: Communication
  Paper Type: Invited
  Title: The Letter Home: An Authentic Post-Lab Writing Experience
  Meeting: 2017 Winter Meeting: Atlanta, Georgia
  Location: N/A
  Time: 4:30PM
  Author: W. Brian Lane,, Jacksonville University,
9045158098, wlane@ju.edu
  Co-Author(s): Ramesh Adhikari,
  Abstract: The traditional lab report as typically written by physics students is known to exhibit several deficiencies: Underdeveloped explanations of background material, incomplete reasoning to support results and conclusions, and vague demonstrations of student learning. We attribute such deficiencies to the inauthentic nature of the lab report, as it requires the student to repeat back to the instructor information the instructor already knows. We have found that replacing the traditional lab report with a Letter Home written to a non-physicist creates a more authentic post-lab writing experience, promotes a deeper “unlearning” process for students, and results in student writing that is more complete and of higher quality than the traditional lab report. We outline the structure of the Letter Home assignment, present several samples of student writing, and discuss an initial assessment of this assignment’s impact on student self-confidence.
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: WBL - Letters Home.pptx

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