Asee peer logo

Communications Instruction In First Year Engineering: The Glue

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Communication - Needs and Methods

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.292.1 - 15.292.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Sarah Lockwood University of Calgary

author page

Daryl Caswell University of Calgary

author page

Marjan Eggermont University of Calgary

Download Paper |

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



ENGG 251: Design and Communications One and ENGG 253: Design and Communications Two are the flagship courses for the Common Core year at The S___ School of Engineering, University of C___. Mandatory courses for all first year (~730) students, ENGG 251/253 are project-based courses on engineering design, taught by an interdisciplinary team drawn from all divisions of engineering, fine arts and communications. This paper serves to examine the role and work of the communications instructor within that interdisciplinary team, and to offer some insight into the ways that communications can be integrated into the engineering curriculum, as well as the benefits that communications brings to the instructor team.

Because of the unique interdisciplinary structure of these courses, the communications instructor holds a tri-partite position as a solo instructor, a team instructor, and as the course technical writer.

As a solo instructor, the communication instructor delivers 6-8 1-hour lectures per semester, on a combination of communication theory and practical writing and oral presentation material.

As a team instructor, the communications instructor works to design, plan and implement at least one major project per academic year, and serves as a resource for other instructors. As well, the communications instructor is responsible for the creation of all assignment and project documents, as well as all grading/evaluation guides for the T.A.s Finally, the communications instructor acts as supervisor for the 4-6 communications T.A.s assigned to the course.

As the course technical writer, the communications instructor produces all reports, manuals and documentation for the course. In addition, the communications instructor serves as co-marker on all assignment exemplars, to ensure that all T.A.s are marking to the same standard.

This paper redefines the role of the communications instructor to capitalize on this many faceted skill set that, if properly integrated, can greatly enhance the quality, scope and relevance to the engineering educational coursework.


Communication is increasingly an element of engineering education. A brief survey of the curriculum of ten Canadian and American engineering programs1 reveals that at least one course in communication is mandatory across the board. In the past this course was almost exclusively a university-dictated compulsory communications course, designed

Lockwood, S., & Caswell, D., & Eggermont, M. (2010, June), Communications Instruction In First Year Engineering: The Glue Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16648

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: © 2010 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