Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


Clark Turner


Being able to communicate effectively through writing is an important skill for computer scientists and software engineers. In addition to being able to write code, programmers need to write clearly and concisely for everything from comments in their code to documentation. Despite writing being essential to their future careers, many programming students from Cal Poly find writing to be unimportant and many of them believe that they are not capable of writing good papers. How can Cal Poly help these students?

This paper describes a pedagogy to help students improve their writing skills. It is based heavily on the belief that programmers already possess many of the skills necessary to be good writers. The pedagogy hopes to show students how to utilize the skills from writing code in their paper writing.

This paper answers the question "Can transferring programming knowledge to writing help improve student confidence or writing ability?". Results from the study show that the pedagogy can be associated with an improvement in students' confidence in their ability to write logical, well-organized papers. It also showss that the pedagogy can be associated with students being able to split their paragraphs into single topics more effectively.