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AUS holds International Conference on Writing for STEM
The global dimensions of STEM research have led to the emergence of several related areas of research that aim to enhance STEM education. To facilitate this discussion, American University of Sharjah (AUS) held the International Conference on Writing for STEM on November 28 and 29. The conference welcomed contributions that drew on the insights of reading and writing specialists, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) specialists, and STEM educators and researchers. Presenters and delegates came from a variety of UAE locations, from the Gulf States, and from further afield (US, Poland, Taiwan and Pakistan to name a few). They included librarians, researchers, graduate students, specialists on developing academic literacy, writing specialists with an interest in scientific writing, scientists with an interest in writing, STEM educators, specialists in writing for publication and practicing teachers.
The conference provided numerous presentations and how-to workshops, conducted by regional and international academics, addressing issues related to writing pedagogies, writing contexts and academic writing in STEM publications.
According to Dr. Roger Nunn, Head of the Department of Writing Studies, “Writing for STEM is important, as it takes writing outside its own context. This conference helps faculty in preparing students to write across disciplines, such as science, math and engineering.”
One notable aspect of the conference was a keynote presentation by John Unger on “Analyzing Math Word Problems with Digital Video: The Process and Potential.” Conducted by an applied linguist and a mathematician together, the research integrates insights from both fields on solving math word problems. Unger currently teaches English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English composition courses at Georgia Gwinnet College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Also giving a keynote address was Paul Kei Matsuda, Professor of English and Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University, who gave the presentation “Informal Writing Across the Disciplines: From Competence Testing to Competence Building.”
The conference was also supported by faculty from the Department of English who teach tailor-made writing courses for business and engineering students. The interaction between specialists at the conference also is expected to have a positive impact on these courses.