Writing in CS: Why and how?

Mia Minnes, Bruce Maxwell, Stephanie R. Taylor, Phillip Barry

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

2 Scopus citations


The importance of written communication and critical thinking in Computer Science is widely acknowledged. It was called out specifically in the curriculum guidelines ACM CS2013 [6] and has been the topic of a number of previous SIGCSE papers, for example [1-4]. Moreover, writing as a pedagogical practice can help make CS more accessible for a broader population. However, special challenges may arise for students who are English-language learners or have writing-specific learning differences. In this panel, we share our experiences teaching Writing in CS and, in particular, leveraging resources from writing experts to address these opportunities and challenges. The panelists come from both a private liberal arts college and two large public researchintensive universities. We will share how we have engaged in writing in different ways: large-scale curricular development designed to incorporate "writing to learn" in an entire undergraduate program vs. a specific writing-intensive non-technical class where students explore professional development. A common theme of our experiences is that connecting with colleagues across campus, specifically experts in writing pedagogy, can give computer scientists both the confidence and the language with which to meaningfully teach writing in our own context. During the panel, we'll share our motivations for bringing writing into the classroom, outline the nuts and bolts of how to do so without massively increasing the load on teachers and students, and give strategies for assessing the results. We will solicit contributions from participants about where and how writing is incorporated in their courses, and field questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351034
StatePublished - Feb 21 2018
Event49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2018 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Feb 21 2018Feb 24 2018

Publication series

NameSIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education


Conference49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Assessment
  • Communication
  • Curriculum design
  • Professional development
  • Writing


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