“We don’t need to write to learn computer sciences”: Writing Instruction and the Question of First-year, Later or Not-at-all

Melissa Wong


This paper discusses the perceptions of computer science students towards a multidisciplinary writing curriculum that was built into a pathway programme to undergraduate study. A qualitative descriptive investigatory study revealed that computer science students in particular felt a strong disconnect between their disciplinary learning and the learning they did in the academic literacy classroom. The degree to which they experienced the pedagogical and assessment differences between the two learning contexts resulted in mild to strong resistance towards the literacy development aspect of the pathway curriculum. This paper highlights a case where first year computer science students articulates their dissatisfactions in this regard, and explores the question of when computer science students should be taught academic literacy, if it is taught it at all.


computer science; academic literacy; pathway, first year; writing, pedagogy; assessment

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