WAC-Sponsored Research Projects

Current Projects 

Does Silicon Valley Need Hybrid First Year Composition Class Options?
Principal Investigators: Sarah Prasad and Sherri Harvey,
Department of English and Comparative Literature

prasadAs of April 2017, 2018, data from Education Week reports that twenty-one percent of U.S. schools offer courses that are entirely online. The Teacher and Principal Survey by the National Center for Education Statistics reports that in 2015-16, 20 percent of the country's 83,500 traditional public schools and 29 percent of its 6,900 charter schools offered courses that took place exclusively in cyberspace.

harveyBut are SJSU’s college students mature enough to handle the responsibility of online education?

In effort to test the efficacy of English education online, Sarah and Sherri plan to create a hybrid English class that offers select students the best of both online and face-to-face education. Their research plans to create a hybrid English class that will be used to gauge student success with a small number of some of the world’s most tech-savvy students. Sarah and Sherri will research and compile a list of usable apps that enhance learning and mimic the community inclusion focus the same way face-to-face classes work. They will produce a syllabus and roll out a test pilot for English 2/1B in Fall 2019.

Their goal is to sketch a portrait of a hybrid class that meets the demands of busy and motivated students living in Silicon Valley.



Previous Projects

Guides to Common Multilingual Language Differences: Hindi -- English
Principal Investigator: Avantika Rohatgi, Department of English

rohatgiIndia is a land of linguistic diversity with 22 official languages and 720 dialects. Yet, Hindi happens to be the most widely spoken language across the nation with English coming in as a close second. In fact, India boasts of having the second highest number of English speaking people in the world. However, for a vast majority, English is a second language. As such, numerous errors creep into the speech and writing of an average English-speaking Indian. In order to correct the most common errors in the usage of English by Indian writers, it is imperative that we understand how the language works, so that we are able to connect with our students and help them learn English more effectively.

World Englishes in U.S. Classrooms: Working With Indian English Speakers
(Guides to Common Multilingual Language Differences Series: Indian English -- Standard American English)
Principal Investigator: Sharmin Khan, Department of Linguistics and Language Development

khanSpeakers of World Englishes, particularly Indian English varieties, populate our graduate STEM classes and yet there are no guides on how to interpret some of the differences between Standard American English (SAE) and Indian English (IE). Indian English, although a legitimate dialect of English and not an aberration, creates confusion and misunderstanding both on the part of instructors and students themselves. This resource guide explains some of the basic differences between IE and SAE in terms of syntax, meaning, and usage. It will facilitate teaching SAE to Indian international students in a pedagogically sound, yet culturally sensitive manner.  

Guides to Common Multilingual Language Differences:
Spanish -- English
Mandarin -- English
Vietnamese -- English
Principal Investigators: Francisco De La Calle, Ching Chiung Tan, Shawn Tran

Download the Guides Here


Developed by fellow SJSU faculty, these guides are designed to help instructors work with multilingual writers to improve their writing. The guides introduce instructors to the ten most common errors made by multilingual writers, and help instructors work with students in more meaningful, constructive ways.

tanThese guides are not designed to be simply handed to students, of course, with the expectation that multilingual writers will suddenly write better. They are designed to help all faculty understand the thinking and logic behind the most common grammatical errors our students make, equipping us to better help them develop as writers in ways that move beyond simply pointing out errors.

Multilingual writers find that recognition of their mother tongue helps them approach English more constructively — in a sense, as an extension of their own language. And these guides help instructors do just that, without any need to learn another language or become an expert on linguistics. 

Best Practices for Teaching Writing in STEM Disciplines
Princial Investigator: Shannon Bane, Department of Environmental Studies

baneThis study focused on providing information to support and enhance writing instruction and resources to students in STEM majors with the goal of helping them to prepare and be competitive for STEM internships and jobs upon graduation. I was interested in documenting current approaches to teaching writing and improving student outcomes within STEM majors at universities, including SJSU.

The presentation will include results of the study, including a discussion of the challenges faced by faculty teaching research and writing to STEM majors at the university level, and the various strategies used to improve writing and prepare their students for professions in which writing is a key skill. There are specific options that can be employed at the class, department, and/or university level, many that can be used to provide and/or achieve measurable outcomes.

Who should attend? 100W instructors in STEM disciplines, instructors in STEM disciplines teaching professional writing techniques, STEM department chairs.

Essential On-The-Job Communication Skills Business Students Should Master:
A Syllabus Playbook for New 100WB Instructors
Principal Investigator: Laimin Lo | laimin.lo@sjsu.edu

loTechnology giants like Cisco, Microsoft, and Yahoo often push the classic boundaries of teamwork and collaboration as they compete in an ecommerce dominated global economy. Streamlined communication between teams across geographies and customers and vendors worldwide require employees to adopt new tools to effectively communicate and collaborate.

This study takes an in-depth look at the leadership soft skills and business writing and communication tactics most needed by entry-level employees and those needed as they transition into junior level positions. A course playbook will be developed based on the results to better prepare our students to progress or advance in their careers.

Business Students Writing on The Job:
Do 100WB Graduates Have the Necessary Writing Skills for Today’s Workplace?
Principal Investigator: Sharon Stranahan | sharon.stranahan@sjsu.edu

Download the Presentation Here

sharonHear from over 100 SJSU business alumni whether writing instruction at SJSU prepared them for their on-the-job writing needs.

This presentation reports on research that assessed how well the business writing instruction that students received at SJSU (e.g. in 100WB) prepared them for their writing demands at work. In collaboration with the Alumni Office, an online survey was sent to recent business alumni. Alumni were asked the frequency of different kinds of media they use, the frequency of collaborative writing, and the types of writing that they have done on the job since graduation. 

Come hear the research results and discuss the implications for future 100WB classes.

Who should attend: Current, past, or future 100WB instructors, as well as anyone interested in 100WB curriculum development.

Comparing Utilization Patterns of Embedded Writing Fellows
and Drop-In Writing Center Tutors
Principal Investigators: Michelle Hager, Pat Walls, and Tom Moriarty
Using the data we are collecting from Writing Fellows and Writing Center Tutors, we are examining the usage patterns of each.  Our hypothesis is that students meet with Writing Fellows earlier in the writing process.

Writing Fellows in Stretch English Classes: An Empirical Study
Principal Investigators: Tom Moriarty and Michelle Hager
Comparison between sections supported by Fellows and sections without Fellows, on a variety of survey measures and student writing samples.

Writing Fellows in Writing-Intensive Courses Outside the English Department:
An Emirical Study
Principal Investigators: Michelle Hager and Tom Moriarty
Comparison between sections supported by Fellows and sections without Fellows, on a variety of survey measures and student writing samples.

Founding a Writing Across the Curriculum Program: A Narrative
Principal Investigator: Tom Moriarty
Narrative project on establishing a new writing across the curriculum program. Phase 1: Listening tour. Phase 2: Initial pilot testing of programs. Phase 3: Securing the program financially and institutionally. Phase 4: Establishing and maintaining a programmatic culture of research, innovation, and responsiveness -- a culture of permanent pilot testing.