Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2-28-2020




California State University San Bernardino is currently transitioning from quarters to semesters, starting in Fall 2020. As part of this transition, the Department of Physics has transformed its curriculum to better suit the needs of its students. One major facet of this redesign has been the creation of two writing intensive, upper division laboratory courses. From a practical standpoint, under the revamped general education program, we are able to incorporate upper division writing into the major. More importantly, there are many benefits where having a writing-intensive major course aligns with program goals and professional organization recommendations. This includes designing activities that support the AAPT recommendations for instructional labs, including communicating physics and developing technical and practical skills. By scaffolding assignments and creating opportunities for students to both give and receive meaningful feedback, they will be encouraged to use writing as a tool to bolster their experimental analysis by focusing on demonstrating “how they know what they know”. Peer review and student-designed assessment will also help them think metacognitively both about their own writing and the role of writing in the scientific process. Here, I present the course design for the new writing intensive advanced laboratories and reflect on lessons learned and changes made from the previous single-quarter course.