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Bringing Writing Into The Ece Laboratory

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.277.1 - 10.277.7



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Scoles

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Harriet Millan

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

Bringing Writing into the ECE Laboratory † †† Kevin Scoles, Harriet Levin Millan † †† Electrical and Computer Engineering, Writing Program, Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104


Drexel University has instituted an across-the-board policy requiring all students to complete three Writing Intensive (WI) courses after their freshman year. The freshman and sophomore years at Drexel, called The Drexel Engineering Curriculum (TDEC), are an integrated experience in engineering, science and humanities. Two of the courses must be within the student’s major, while the third can be in any discipline. Presently, there are over 200 WI classes at Drexel.

Undergraduates, representing all majors are trained and paid peer tutors who work with 10-15 students in a specific writing intensive class. Peer tutors read drafts of student writing. One of the hallmarks of the program is that it is not housed in the English Department. Because of its location within the University’s Honors Program, the program’s dual mission is to create a culture of writing at Drexel.

The ECE Department has decided to exceed the minimum of two writing intensive courses within the CE and EE degree programs by changing four lab and design oriented courses to the WI style. The ECE WI courses are required for all EE and CE students, with the exception of some bachelors-masters students. In this paper we will describe how ECEL 301, a third year laboratory course, and ECE 491, the first quarter of Senior Design, were modified to meet the new requirements. Changes to course schedules and assignments as well as the development of writing assessment tools have been required. End-of-term assessment tools will be modified to collect feedback on the effectiveness of the program.


Writing is an important part of a young engineer’s education. All engineering programs address this to satisfy ABET’s Criterion 3g, “an ability to communicate effectively”. The first year of Drexel’s TDEC program in engineering culminates in a freshman design project requiring about 30 pages of writing. In our ECE Department, we get additional impetus from our co-op employers and Advisory Council. Recent changes in graduation requirements and the creation of a University-wide writing program housed in the University Honors Program at Drexel University have offered new opportunities to engineering departments to raise the level of the communications skills of their students.

Engineering programs have used their lab courses to improve written communications in different ways, from linking to existing university writing programs1, to hiring tutors2, to

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Scoles, K., & Millan, H. (2005, June), Bringing Writing Into The Ece Laboratory Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15068

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