June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.133.1 - 7.133.12
ABET 2000 Criteria 3g and the Meaning of Communication
Alisha A. Waller and Sheryl Greenwood Gowen Georgia State University
Abstract This paper reports part of the findings from a larger research study on the ways in which the field of engineering education “talks” about communication. The goals of the research study are 1) to analyze the uses and meanings of “communication” exhibited by peer reviewed papers in engineering education publications from the year 2000; 2) to analyze how the authors interpret ABET 2000 Criteria 3g: “to be effective communicators;” and 3) to identify specific areas for further investigation regarding communication and engineering education. We examined the Journal of Engineering Education for articles published in 2000 that dealt with the concept “communication” and the Best Paper Award nominees from the 1999 Frontiers in Education Conference. After distinguishing between authors’ use of the word communication to refer the act of exchanging meaning versus the tools for such exchange acts, we consider each paper using a taxonomy of communication characteristics, including mode (visual, oral, or written), formality, and mediation. Our primary finding is that most papers consider only two forms: informal oral communication or written formal communication. Therefore, there are major research opportunities for engineering educators to consider other forms of communication, their existence in the classroom, and their effects on learning. In this paper we describe the study and report the findings for oral and visual communication.
I. Introduction Why is communication important in engineering? The importance of communication in engineering seems so patently obvious, that its discussion may appear frivolous. After all, no design of a new product or process would have an effect if the engineer can not describe it well enough that others understand it. Yet, who are the others who must understand the design? How does an engineer influence the decision makers and resource controllers? In the 21st century, the others with whom the engineer must communicate have a wide variety of technical expertise, may have a different set of evidence which persuades them, and may have a different set of expectations regarding how communication should occur. Thus, the ‘universal’ language of mathematics and schematic drawings is no longer a sufficient language for engineers to know and use fluently.
In addition, numerous surveys of industry during the 1990s explicitly list communication skills of engineering graduates as needing improvement. 1-3 In response, the ABET 2000 criteria state that a program must demonstrate that its graduates have “an ability to communicate
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education
Gowen, S., & Waller, A. (2002, June), Abet 2000 Criteria 3 G And The Meaning Of Communication Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/11272
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