Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Hannah J. Rule


Transfer of learning—or the act of adapting previously learned knowledge to new contexts—is an inherently complex process made even more mystifying by its often unconscious and therefore “invisible” occurrence. Writing, too, is a complicated activity that depends on and responds to a number of internal and external factors. Transferring writing knowledge, then, is a challenging task for writers of all experience levels. Researchers in writing studies have designed curricula intended to help college students transfer writing skills, knowledge, and practices from the writing classroom to other disciplinary and workplace contexts. Those teaching for transfer (TFT) and writing about writing (WAW) frameworks primarily introduce key writing concepts to instill accurate perceptions about writing, help students build a conceptual foundation of writing expertise, and give them a vocabulary to articulate what they know, all of which are methods for facilitating the transfer of knowledge. However, there are still many negative instances of transfer that may be attributable to the misconception that writing is neither relevant nor applicable to contexts outside of the writing classroom. Building on existing TFT and WAW pedagogies, this dissertation proposes a teaching about transfer (TAT) pedagogy that explicitly teaches about transfer alongside the other writing concepts that are introduced in other transfer-focused models. Results from this research and accompanying study show that introducing students to the mechanisms and processes behind knowledge transfer can positively influence their understanding and value of writing knowledge, thereby increasing their motivation to learn and later transfer that knowledge in other contexts.


© 2023, Brittany Morgan Capps

Available for download on Sunday, August 31, 2025