Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
The ability to communicate effectively is very critical to engineering graduates to prepare them for the workplace. It is also an important ABET Learning Outcome. Student technical written and oral communication are embedded in courses spanning the undergraduate experience, traditionally leaving the basic writing skills to be addressed in composition or English courses. A recent restructuring of the University’s core curriculum heightened not only the practice of writing across the curriculum but emphasized the practice of writing in the discipline. To accommodate the new core curriculum, it was necessary for each engineering program at the University to redesign one of its courses to be designated writing intensive.
The Mechanical Engineering curriculum at the University of New Haven, even prior to the new core, included a sequence of 3 laboratory courses, each targeting different content while emphasizing common skills, including writing lab reports, design reports, progress reports and giving formal oral presentations before an audience. The first laboratory is scheduled for students’ sophomore year and targets instrumentation and measurement techniques. The second laboratory is scheduled for students’ in their junior year and targets experiments related to mechanics of materials and vibrational analysis. The fourth-year lab includes experiments related to thermo- fluids-and-heat transfer. All three labs heavily emphasize digital data acquisition; each level scaffolding the complexity of the error analysis expected. Underpinning the content of the three laboratory courses has always been a strong writing component. To accommodate the new core, the junior year mechanics lab was transformed from 2-credits to 3-credits.
This paper details the framework of the writing component across the 3-course sequence. The impact of the reformatting of the course on the quality of the students writing is examined through data collected from the students in the fourth-year courses. Observations and lessons learned are being used to inform further changes in the prior-year labs. The initial results show a positive impact based on student feedback and the overall performance of the students.
Carnasciali, M., & Dieckman, E. A., & Orabi, I. I., & Daniels, S. D. (2020, June), A Three-course Laboratory Sequence in Mechanical Engineering as a Framework for Writing in the Discipline Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34077
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015