OWL: A wise way to enhance engineering students' writing skills

Erik Fisher, Michael W. Usrey, Heather A. Beasley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The task of reforming the engineering education system to improve graduates' writing skills, while justified, faces significant barriers. The College of Engineering and Applied Science's Online Writing Lab (OWL) at the University of Colorado-Boulder is a unique and promising effort that helps overcome such barriers. Rather than rely on the impractical solution of additional required courses, OWL works closely with engineering faculty and students to improve the efficacy of existing technical writing assignments and the quality of written reports. OWL thus capitalizes on a rare opportunity to improve students' writing skills and does so within the pedagogical framework of the discipline. Results from student surveys, faculty anecdotes, and informal studies are promising. Voluntary adoption rates and repeat usage by students and faculty are high. Moreover, students have indicated satisfaction with the system, and student performance has improved dramatically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)0780379616
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Annual Frontiers in Education, FIE 2003 - Westminster, United States
Duration: Nov 5 2003Nov 8 2003


Other33rd Annual Frontiers in Education, FIE 2003
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Curriculum integration
  • Engineering OWL
  • Online writing lab
  • Writing skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Education


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