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Beta Testing a Web-Based Writing Coach

[+] Author Affiliations
Beth A. Todd, Luke Niiler, Marcus Brown, Prateek Bahri, Virginia Tamondong, Joan Barth, Garry Warren, David W. Cordes

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

David M. Beams

The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX

Kenneth R. Swinney

Bevill State Community College, Fayette, AL

Paper No. IMECE2012-88296, pp. 91-95; 5 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization; General Topics
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 9–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4521-9
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


“The Coach” is a web-based tool developed to guide students through the technical writing process. It provides instruction about form as well as critique of different aspects of the students’ writing. It goes beyond the Microsoft word spell check and grammar check. It gives feedback about writing complexity and appropriateness for different word choices in a technical document. It also gives background about the appropriate contents for technical writing in addition to example documents. The latter is extremely important for the novice writer who may not have much experience in working with technical reports.

The initial document type in “The Coach” is a lab report. If the lab report can be developed into the web-based tool, other forms will be more easily implemented. In addition to developing the website, the development team is preparing a document and a video for a professor to use to instruct students on the use of “The Coach.”

The instructional materials and “The Coach” were beta tested with a freshman engineering class. A baseline writing sample was collected before the introduction of “The Coach.” Students in some sections were instructed in use of “The Coach,” and other sections were controls. Additional beta testing is ongoing.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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