Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.554.1 - 9.554.6
Engineering Graduate Students as Evaluators of Communication Skill
Craig James Gunn Department of Mechanical Engineering Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1226
Over the past 10 years, the communication program within the Department of Mechanical Engineering has utilized graduate students within the department to function as the principal graders for approximately 1100 lab reports produced by the undergraduate population in Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Vibrations, and Controls laboratories. These graduate students read the draft reports, make appropriate comments and return the reports for final production. The graduate students critique, comment, and grade in both the technical and communication areas while also teaching the above laboratories. The reports are then read again and a grade is assigned. The issues regarding faculty support for the plan, preparation of the graduate students, and orientation for the undergraduates who will be impacted by the plan will be addressed. The ultimate goal involves leading engineering students to the realization that communication is important because it is being evaluated by fellow engineers and that those evaluators will also improve their own skills because of their need to focus on how they communicate.
Introduction Communication skill, even after EC 2000, continues to be one of the first things that are considered when deficiencies within engineering programs are evaluated. Over the past years, many strategies have been undertaken to address these concerns. The Writing Across the Curriculum movement has focused on making writing a part of every classroom. Writing Centers have taken the role of guides to writers who need additional audiences for their text. Freshman composition courses have tried to get students involved with writing as they enter colleges and universities. And lastly, writing intensive courses have been designated by departments to handle the writing experience for the department's students. With these strategies in place, another idea was generated that provides additional support for engineering students, both undergraduate and graduate alike. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University implemented a plan in 1993 that focused on communication needs by having the majority of the on average 25 teaching assistants employed by the department become the principal readers for text produced in the Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Vibrations, and Controls laboratories. These graduate students critique, comment, and grade in both the technical and communication areas while also teaching the above laboratories. Over the years this method has had an impact on the quality of the reports produced and the concentration that is shown by students toward the written production has been greatly improved.
“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”
Gunn, C. (2004, June), Engineering Graduate Students As Evaluators Of Communication Skill Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/12741
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