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"I Thought It Was Pretty Good": Student Perceptions Of Communication Effectiveness

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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

Writing and Communication I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1.1 - 10.1.9



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Paper Authors

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Trine Kvidal

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April Kedrowicz

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

Session 1661

“I thought it was pretty good”: Student Perceptions of Communication Effectiveness

April A. Kedrowicz and Trine Kvidal Center for Engineering Leadership University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT


Engineering students, though technically, competent, are graduating without the necessary personal skills to be effective in the workplace. That is, they are lacking competence when it comes to communication skills. To improve engineering students’ communication skills, interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and graduate students in the College of Engineering and the College of Humanities fosters an atmosphere whereby students learn technical, engineering science through communication. Specifically, students are required to give oral presentations, write technical reports and proposals, and work in teams in an effort to hone interpersonal and leadership skills. With respect to oral presentations, students give formal team presentations in several different, required courses. The audience ranges from the course professor and graduate teaching assistants only, to the entire class of 60 plus students. All presentations are video-taped. Students are then required to meet with a communication consultant to view their video-taped presentation, and receive oral and written feedback. Through previous experiences providing said feedback, it has become apparent that students provide various attributions for behavior. Specifically, students are quick to offer external attributions (luck, task, situation) for unsatisfactory performance. The purpose of this research is to more closely examine students’ expressed attributions for both satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance, and to determine, what, if any, relationship exists between students’ perceptions of the feedback experience and expressed attributions. The results will facilitate understanding of how students make sense of individual and team performance, as well as how they perceive the offering of feedback. We will work toward understanding how these interpretations further influence student learning and future performance.


Engineering students, though technically competent, are graduating without the necessary professional skills to be effective in the workplace. Specifically, new engineers entering the work force are lacking expertise with respect to communication skills. As a result, many campuses across the country have devoted time and effort to developing and incorporating a communication-based curriculum, including interpersonal communication, oral communication, written communication, and teamwork instruction.

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

Kvidal, T., & Kedrowicz, A. (2005, June), "I Thought It Was Pretty Good": Student Perceptions Of Communication Effectiveness Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14560

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