Asee peer logo

Improve Technical Communication Using Scaffolding Method in Mechanical Engineering Courses

Download Paper |


2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mohammad Abu Rafe Biswas The University of Texas at Tyler Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Mohammad (Rafe) Biswas is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Tyler Houston Engineering Center in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His expertise and interests include process dynamics and control, fuel cell systems and thermal fluid engineering education. He has taught courses in system dynamics and control, process control, energy conversion, and thermal fluids laboratory. He also has advised and mentored several senior design project and research students.

visit author page

author page

Aws AlShalash

Download Paper |


One of the most effective and well documented ways, throughout literary sources, to educate and develop capable and independent professionals such as engineers combines lecture sessions with step-by-step synergistic activities (experiments and reports). Therefore, many engineering educators are seeking experiential learning techniques and implementations that are innovative to assist students understand, exercise, and communicate engineering concepts they learned. Although project-based learning allows students to be able to deduce and apply concepts effectively, students continue to struggle to communicate their work and results effectively from such experiential learning and other projects. Thus, to overcome the deficiencies in writing skills such as poor grammar and formatting, and effective literature review in reports, an instructional scaffolding plan has been developed and implemented in two junior level courses in parallel (Mechanical System Design and Thermal Fluid Laboratory course). The scaffold activities include incremental class activities and assignments as well as access to support resources. The scaffolding activities in the instructional plan will allow students to develop confidence from completing shorter and targeted assignments successfully earlier in the semester as they build their report for more complex and involve analysis and writing activities over the semester. The initially collected data for the two courses show above average performance based on student surveys before and after the scaffolding activities. This reflects an indirect assessment where students share their opinion of themselves. The collected data on direct assessment shows incremental improvement in performance of students based on relevant assignments completed in the courses. Additional assessments will be conducted in future offerings as well as other courses including Dynamics of Machinery, Measurement and Instrumentation, and System Dynamics and Control as part of an ongoing study. Although these are preliminary findings, such pedagogical technique has the potential to enhance the student learning experience and develop mindset to continue their life-long learning in their professional careers.

Biswas, M. A. R., & AlShalash, A. (2021, November), Improve Technical Communication Using Scaffolding Method in Mechanical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section. 10.18260/1-2--38435

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015