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An International Collaboration Using Technical English

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.176.1 - 6.176.6



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Taylor

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Emilia Mironovova

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3148

An International Collaboration Using Technical English

Kevin Taylor and Emília Mironovová

Purdue University - Kokomo / Slovak University of Technology - Trnava


As we continue to merge global markets it is inevitable that many of today’s graduates will participate in international activities when they enter the workforce. It is imperative that we prepare our students for this global work environment. Described is a project between students in the United States and the Slovak Republic aimed at improving both technical communications and cultural understanding between the two groups. The students in the United States were seniors in a two-semester capstone design sequence in Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) at Purdue University. The Slovak students were Ph.D. candidates from the Faculty of Materials Science (MtF) at the Slovak University of Technology (SUT). Their studies included Material Science, Plant Management, Automation and Control, and Machine Technologies. The MtF students were enrolled in a course entitled "English for Specific Purposes", allowing all communications to be in English. Both groups reviewed technical English written by peers including flaws and idiomatic expressions. The primary advantage of this collaboration is that it is not constrained by curricular discipline, making it easily adaptable by other disciplines. A secondary advantage is that the students gain international experience while avoiding the travel expense.


It is paramount for today’s student’s success in the global marketplace that they have some international experience. Unfortunately, most students lack the financial means to have such an experience outside the classroom. Jones and Oberst describe activities to internationalize curricula in their keynote paper at the 3rd UCIEE Annual Conference on Engineering Education. They state that they “see too little movement toward better preparing college graduates for the international challenge.”1 They highlight some successful programs for study abroad, finding the programs “quite expensive, again limiting the number of engineering students who can or will participate.”1 Efforts using distance-learning techniques in international collaborations are not new. Hager et al. describe a project where students at Penn State University (U.S.) team with the Universite d' Artrois (France). Their project used expensive ISDN communication between the groups, but state that using the conferencing capability of the Internet “would reduce cost sharply, since there would be no ISDN line costs.”2 Lacking access to an ISDN line, we have chosen to use e-mail and Internet cameras for our project. While similar in method to the U.S.- France project, our approach is unique in that it is independent of the participant’s area of study, making it easily adaptable by other institutions.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Taylor, K., & Mironovova, E. (2001, June), An International Collaboration Using Technical English Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9456

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