Asee peer logo

Atlas Shrugged: Assessing Communication and Global Competence Skills in a Technical Writing Course

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Advances in Assessment of Communication and Interdisciplinary Competence

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.238.1 - 25.238.15

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Carolyn Kusbit Dunn East Carolina University

visit author page

Carolyn Kusbit Dunn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Systems at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Dunn holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in professional and technical discourse, and she teaches technical writing. Her research interests are crisis communication, language and power, and teaching technical and professional communication.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Atlas Shrugged: Assessing Communication and Global Competence Skills in aTechnical Writing CourseAt least one theme of Ayn Rand’s dystopian novel “Atlas Shrugged” is the role of the individualmind in a successful society. While engineering and technology programs focus on preparing thestudent to perform the technical tasks required of them upon graduation, many count upon thegeneral humanities education of the freshman and sophomore years to provide the liberal artsbasis for such necessities as global awareness and professional communication competence.This paper will explore one university program’s attempt to assess both global andcommunication competence using a required technical writing course normally taken in theJunior year, and how that course is attempting to meet these two required competencies, and anumber of others surrounding professional communication. The paper will detail theorganization of the overall course, along with its objectives, and explain the assessment tools andoutcomes used to measure global and communication competence. It will also address thechallenges of focusing on two outcomes while still trying to meet the myriad other outcomesrequired by the course, and possible solutions.

Dunn, C. K. (2012, June), Atlas Shrugged: Assessing Communication and Global Competence Skills in a Technical Writing Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.

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: © 2012 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