Science Fiction as Platform for Problem-Based Learning and Teaching Writing as Design

  • Heather Marcelle CrickenbergerEmail author


This chapter chronicles how my approach to teaching writing shifted in response to interactions with students and professors in the visual arts and engineering. It also describes what I learned as I grew to understand how these seemingly disparate disciples are connected through the task of writing. By examining my own creative process and its impact on my teaching through the language and concerns of design-based disciplines, I was able to develop a way of talking about writing pedagogy that resonated with both professors and students in design-based fields. This resonance is the result of a shared interest in problem solving and design thinking. Here, I demonstrate for others how conversations across disciplines might enhance and be enhanced by design-based writing assignments, creating occasions for interdisciplinary conversations between faculty members and their students. In my discussion, I provide full assignments and examples of student writing, unpack the writing studies concept of “Writing as Design” in relation to its Engineering counterpart, and propose suggestions for structuring, implementing, and creating design-based writing assignments.


Problem-based learning Writing pedagogy Design thinking Engineering and the arts Wicked problems Interdisciplinary transfer 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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