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Comparatively Mapping Genres in Academic and Workplace Engineering Environments

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Communication Across the Divisions III: Writing as Social–Technical Integration

Tagged Divisions

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society and Computing & Information Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.370.1 - 26.370.13



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Paper Authors


Vukica M. Jovanovic Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jovanovic is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University. She is teaching classes in the area of mechatronics and computer aided engineering. Her research Interests are: mechatronics, robotics, digital manufacturing, product lifecycle management, manufacturing systems, and engineering education.

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Megan McKittrick Old Dominion University

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Megan McKittrick is a full-time Instructor and part-time PhD student the Department of English at Old Dominion University. She teaches composition, scientific, digital, and technical writing, and her research interests include professional and technical writing, as well as sound studies, games, and simulation.

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Pilar Pazos Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16

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Pilar Pazos is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Old Dominion University. Her areas of research include team-based work structures, collaborative learning, knowledge management and decision making.

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Daniel Richards Old Dominion University

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Daniel Richards, Ph.D. is assistant professor of technical and professional writing in the Department of English at Old Dominion University. His research interests include writing pedagogy, rhetorical theory, and technical communication in disasters.

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Julia Romberger

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Comparatively Mapping Genres in Academic and Workplace Engineering EnvironmentsIn the Engineering workplace, one must be able to negotiate many genres of writing: he or she mustdeliver updates, understand technical requirements, weigh project priorities, develop and carry outproblem-solving techniques, all while using different forms of technical communication. Engineeringwork relies on the ability to flexibly transition between a variety of technical writing genres, whilealso navigating the broad array of technologies required to effectively complete these projects.However, the genres and types of writing present in the workplace do not always reflect the genresand types of writing undergraduate Engineering students do in coursework. According to RhetoricalGenre Studies (RSG), this is a problem since genres are forms of social action and as such embody acommunity’s way of knowing, being, and acting. Therefore a disconnect between genres signifies adisconnect between academic and workplace communities of practice. The project discussed in thispaper is focused on understanding what genres of technical writing are currently present inengineering courses at a southeastern, midsize research institution and how they align or do not alignwith the genres of regional workplaces. This project emerged an interdisciplinary team of facultyfrom the Department of English and different departments in engineering and technology, whodesigned and implemented a grant-supported faculty learning community; one of the tasks of thiscommunity was to map the current state of technical writing genres in engineering courses and tobetter understand the present gaps, if identified. Mapping was chosen as a technique because visualshave been shown to better articulate the relationships between and among genres of writing. After thedisconnects and subsequent needs have been identified, suggestions and strategies related to thedevelopment of writing projects and activities, which can be embedded in existing curricula to buildtechnical writing skills of engineering students, will be identified for faculty involved in thiscommunity.

Jovanovic, V. M., & McKittrick, M., & Pazos, P., & Richards, D., & Romberger, J. (2015, June), Comparatively Mapping Genres in Academic and Workplace Engineering Environments Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23709

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