Embedding and Scaling Writing Instruction Across First- and Second-Year Computer Science Courses
Writing skills are often considered unimportant by computer science students and were under-emphasized in our curriculum. We describe our experience embedding CS-specific writing instruction at scale in most of our large, core, first- and second-year Computer Science courses, each with 300-800+ students. Our approach is to collaborate with a writing specialist and a community of course instructors, centralize the management of writing teaching assistants, and introduce a variety of relevant genres and contexts to help students develop and apply writing skills. We outline the institutional support and organization crucial to a project of this scale. In addition, we report on a survey collecting student perception of the writing instruction/assessment. We reflect on both quantitative and qualitative evidence of success, and the challenges that we faced. We believe that many of these challenges will be common across institutions, particularly those with large courses.