June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.409.1 - 23.409.21
Development and Assessment of an Innovative Program to Integrate Communication Skills into Engineering CurriculaAbstractIn 2005, a pilot for a campus-wide program, Communication across the Curriculum (CxC), wasinitiated in the College of Engineering with the goal of integrating communication requirementsinto various curricula. A core element of this program was the designation of courses asCommunication Intensive (C-I) provided they satisfied several communication-specific criteria.Foremost among the criteria were the use of informal communication to enhance learning andformal communication to publicly share ideas, the use of a draft-feedback-revision feedbackloop, and a requirement that at least 40% of the course grade be based on communication-specific assignments.Recognizing that these criteria could be challenging to implement, especially in capstone andlaboratory courses, program administrators developed periodic discipline-specific workshops, anannual Faculty Summer Institute, and a professionally staffed, discipline-specific communicationstudio. These resources and how they evolved are illustrated using sample innovativecommunication assignments. Faculty commitment has grown to the point that we can nowreport that all engineering disciplines have certified C-I courses or labs as a part of their capstoneexperiences.Student interest was enhanced by establishing criteria for attaining a DistinguishedCommunicator certification to be awarded at graduation and noted on the students’ transcripts.Since many of the introductory engineering courses have been designated as C-I, students soonappreciate the importance of communication skills in their academic work and professionalfutures. They also become aware of the opportunity for achieving the DistinguishedCommunicator certification. With successful integration of CxC throughout the engineeringcurricula, it is no coincidence that engineering students are disproportionately represented amongthe Distinguished Communicators in all the disciplines on campus.Multiple methods have been instituted to assess the success of this program: • An Engineering Communication Advisory Council to review the program objectives and provide recommendations for enhancements. • An analysis comparing the required resource investment against the historical reliance upon a technical writing course to develop engineering students’ communication skills. • A survey of faculty teaching C-I courses showing that technical content did not suffer when instruction related to communication skills was incorporated, and in fact was enhanced by this teaching mode. • C-I course student surveys, in which responses were overwhelmingly positiveThese assessments, as well as their implications for the future, are examined and discussed indetail.
Waggenspack, W. N., & Liggett, S., & Hull, W. R., & Bowles, B., & Davis, P. (2013, June), Development and Assessment of an Innovative Program to Integrate Communication Skills into Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19423
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