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Integrating Effective 'Writing to Communicate' Experiences in Engineering Courses: Guidelines and Examples

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Abstract:

Incorporating writing into the curriculum is a challenge for engineering faculty. Constructivist and knowledge transformation frameworks of how writing helps build knowledge suggest that successful writing experiences in engineering are 'writing to communicate'. Drawing from that literature, the author advocates five guidelines for integrating effective 'writing to communicate' experience into undergraduate engineering courses: authentic investigation, tying the writing to the technical content, an authentic well-defined audience, providing useful practice for an engineering career and not being overly burdensome to the engineering faculty instructor. Specific examples of activities based on these guidelines, from classroom, homework and laboratory activities in sophomore, junior and senior-level classes serve as suggestions for faculty seeking to creatively incorporate writing throughout the engineering curriculum.

Keywords: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION; INTEGRATED WRITING ASSIGNMENTS; TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION; WRITING IN ENGINEERING; WRITING TO COMMUNICATE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • This journal serves as an international interdisciplinary forum of reference for engineering education.
    A balance between papers on developments in educational methods technology, case studies, laboratory applications, new theoretical approaches, educational policy and survey papers is aimed for.
    Comprehensive coverage of new education schemes and techniques makes the journal a unique source of ideas for engineering educators who are keen to keep abreast of latest developments in educational applications in all fields of engineering.
    Some of the areas covered more extensively in recent issues are: CAD, CAE, computer applications in teaching thermodynamics, material science, electrical engineering, new courses and curricula, engineering management, control engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering design, student evaluation and institutional accreditation.
intjee/ijee/2009/00000025/00000001/art00023
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