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Coordinating Concepts In Engineering Communication And Project Management

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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

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.353.1 - 10.353.5



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Paper Authors

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Constance Kampf

author page

Dave Kmiec

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

Coordinating Concepts in Engineering Communication and Project Management Dave Kmiec, Constance Kampf University of Minnesota

CE 4101 Project Management and Economics is a writing-intensive1 course offered by the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota to approximately 150 students each semester. Students who take the course are introduced to project management concepts, heuristics, and algorithms and are asked to rehearse and apply them both individually and in teams. At the same time, these students are asked to seek out encounters with workplace professionals in an interview assignment and to prepare two persuasive documents common in the engineering workplace: a (problem-solution) memo and a proposal.

Sections of the course are planned and taught by a team of project management faculty and writing consultants. The writing consultants give a series of thirty-minute modular lectures five to six times over the course of the semester on process-focused rhetorical writing strategies and hold office hours where they are available to answer questions that students have about writing assignments. Student writing assignments are evaluated by writing consultants and are returned, often with extensive feedback. All of the writing assignments are pass/fail, and many students are required to revise assignments in order to receive a passing grade.

In its current format, CE 4101 fulfills several of the more challenging ABET 2000 criteria [1], including: criterion d, “an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams”2 and criterion g, “an ability to communicate effectively” as well as qualifying the course for writing intensive status at the university (as mentioned).More importantly, perhaps, CE 4101 introduces various types of engineering students to a rhetorically-situated and process-based approach to organizational writing and, notably, gets students to recognize the importance of such a skill by situation within and association with the discipline and by instructional teaming. These aspects of the instruction are detailed in the rest of this paper.

Process-based approach to writing

There are a variety structures in the pedagogies of technical communication, rhetoric, and composition for constructing persuasive technical documents. The lectures and assignments in CE 4101 are based on the analysis of the following rhetorically-situated points: 3

1 Rather than taking an upper division writing course, students at the University of Minnesota are required to accumulate a certain number of writing intensive credits by completing service or disciplinary courses so denoted. 2 Housed in the Civil Engineering department, CE 4101 attracts a number of students from other engineering disciplines, partly because of the demand for the topic and partly because of the writing intensive designator. Many of the workgroups, therefore, are multidisciplinary. 3 A number of the schemes in this section are derived from or influenced by Mathes and Stevenson’s Designing Technical Reports: Writing for Audiences in Organizations [2].

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

Kampf, C., & Kmiec, D. (2005, June), Coordinating Concepts In Engineering Communication And Project Management Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15040

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