Download the full-sized PDF of Learning Writing Assignments Across the Undergraduate Nursing CurriculumDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Learning Writing Assignments Across the Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum Open Access


Other title
undergraduate teaching and learning
interdisciplinary research
writing development
writing assignments
rhetorical genre
nursing educatiion
interactional patterns
postsecondary education
case study
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Chaudoir, Susan B.
Supervisor and department
Lasiuk, Geraldine (Nursing)
Iveson, Margaret (Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Moussu, Lucie (Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, Writing Studies, Centre for Writers
Slomp, David (External Examiner, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge)
McClay, Jill (Elementary Education)
Department of Secondary Education
Faculty of Nursing
Writing Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Many studies in the fields of postsecondary education and WAC/WID writing research have documented respectively the kinds of genres undergraduates write in college but few develop an in-depth and contextualized understanding of how students learn their major area of study through writing discipline-specific genres. This doctoral research specifically reports findings from an interdisciplinary case study that explored learning to write in one baccalaureate nursing degree program at one Canadian university. A combination of rhetorical genre and situated learning theories and institutional ethnography methods were used to help document student and instructor perspectives of learning to write two recurring writing assignments called the scholarly paper and journal of reflective practice, which students composed in each semester of their program. There were 32 classroom observations, 22 assignment documents, and 39 voluntary, semi-structured interviews with 34 students and 5 instructors from 4 courses. As a way to capture participants’ respective teaching, learning, and writing perspectives, interviews focused primarily on interactional patterns that enabled or constrained undergraduates’ writing development and professional enculturation across all four years. The study found that scholarly and reflective writing assignments were complex sites of interaction and dynamically entangled with changing personal, political, relational, emotional, and philosophical perspectives that differed from year to year as students advanced through their major field of study. From year to year, perspectives fluctuated with student/teacher assumptions, competitive/cooperative emotions, and values/attitudes towards writing assignment design, assignment supports, and classroom teaching and learning philosophies. Key factors that enabled students’ writing development were situated in the relational and affective domains of learning to write assignments, such as peer mentoring programs, where lower-year students learn to write from upper-year students, and rapport with nurse educators and professional nurses, where students learn to write content from a nurse with experience in the content area. Challenges to students’ writing development were situated in the personal, political, and philosophical domains of learning to write assignments such as having reading deficiencies, a myriad of expectations, inaccurate articulation of writing needs, assumptions about writing in professional nursing, developmentally inappropriate assignment design and assignment supports, and unpredictable competition between peers in classroom discussion. The significance of the study was to supplement existing knowledge of postsecondary WAC/WID pedagogies and to advance disciplinary strategies for faculty development and writing assignment design.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Anson, C., Horning, A., & Chaudoir, S. (2014, February 21). Response writing and the development of expertise: Professional, pedagogical, and relational perspectives. Paper presented at the Conference of Writing Research Across Borders III, Paris, France.Chaudoir, S.,Oermann, M., White, J., & Grant, R. (2014, February 22). Preparing for professional practice: Writing pedagogies and affective complexities of student writing in medicine, nursing, and clergy education. Paper presented at the Conference of Writing Research Across Borders III, Paris, France.Chaudoir, S., Liao, A. (2013, June 24). The beauty and the curse of scholarly writing: A case study of how nursing students learn to write. Paper presented at the 2013 Canadian Association of the Schools of Nursing (CASN) Conference, Vancouver, BC. Narrated slides available online at
, S., McCracken, S., Liao, A., & Chenier, I. (2013, March 16). Emerging conversations between teachers and students: Contexts of teaching and learning to write in post-secondary education. Paper presented at the 5th Research Showcase Conference, Edmonton.Chaudoir, S. (2013, March 14). It’s hard to start swimming if you don’t have water: Challenges student writers face when writing the scholarly paper. The 64th Conference on College Composition and Communication, Las Vegas, Nevada.Chaudoir, S., Lasiuk, G., & Trepenier, K. (2013, February 22). Misunderstanding the assignment: First-year students and the anxieties of teaching in one clinical course. Paper presented at the 2013 Western & Northwest Regional Canadian Association of the Colleges of Nursing (WNRCASN) Conference, Edmonton, Alberta.Chaudoir, S. (2012, June 27). Rethinking writing assignments: Learning peripheral genres across one nursing curriculum. Paper presented at the 2012 International Conference on Genre Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario.Chaudoir, S. (2012, March 22). Writing assignments and dominant genres: Gateways to understanding writing in the disciplines. Paper presented at the 63rd Convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication on St. Louis, Missouri.Chaudoir, S. (2012, March 10). Undergraduate writing assignments: Learning genres across the curriculum. Paper presented at the 4th annual Research Showcase, Edmonton, Alberta.Chaudoir, S. (2011, May 29). Mapping people and places for writing in the disciplines. Paper presented at the 2011 Conference of Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, Fredericton, New Brunswick.Chaudoir, S. (2014). Learning writing assignments across the undergraduate nursing curriculum. Research Exchange Index. Available soon at

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 9626096
Last modified: 2015:10:21 22:28:18-06:00
Filename: Chaudoir_Susan_201501_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: a16b2c2bb7c03db90948aa83f1afa2ae
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File title: Chaudoir_Susan_B_201412_PhD.pdf
File title: Microsoft Word - Thesis Final-Dec 24.doc
File author: SBC
Page count: 308
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date