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Improving The Engineering And Writing Interface: An Assessment Of A Team Taught Integrated Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.347.1 - 5.347.15



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Paper Authors

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Frances S. Johnson

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Carlos C. Sun

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Anthony J. Marchese

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Heidi L. Newell

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John L. Schmalzel

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Roberta Harvey

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Ravi Ramachandran

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Paris von Lockette

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Kevin Dahm

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

Multi-Media Session 2793


Roberta Harvey1, Frances S. Johnson1, Heidi L. Newell2, Kevin Dahm2, Anthony J. Marchese2, Ravi P. Ramachandran2, John L. Schmalzel2, Carlos Sun2, and Paris von Lockette2

1. College of Communication, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey 2. College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey

Abstract This paper presents the results of a preliminary investigation into second-year engineering students’ attitudes towards writing. Our study assesses what effect, if any, the presence of engineering faculty as part of a teaching team has on students’ perceptions of the importance of writing to engineering and the overall quality of student writing. Sophomore Engineering Clinic I, planned and taught by faculty from the College of Communication and the College of Engineering, combines argumentative discourse, technical communication, and engineering design labs. While the course is jointly planned, it had previously been individually delivered. Worth four credits, three credits were devoted to writing and one to engineering design. As part of the present study, engineering faculty are attending 2 of the 4 writing sections. They actively join in class discussions, assist in peer critiques, ask questions, seek clarifications, and provide real life engineering examples. The remaining 2 sections are taught solely by Communication faculty. We suspect that engineering students allocate more time to their design projects, even though the writing assignments are more heavily weighted. We also suspect that students do not see connections between engineering problem solving and writing problem solving. Rather, they see writing as an ancillary tool that follows the “real” work of engineering. To test these assumptions, a survey was administered to all sections of the course. The survey asks a range of questions about the amount of time, effort, and revision the students usually apply to writing assignments. At the end of the term, the survey will be given again and results will be analyzed for significant patterns and measurable shifts. In addition to the survey, all faculty are keeping a log of classroom observations. Logs detail events and activities, as well as the students’ responses, in all sections, and will provide a qualitative context for the survey results. Our findings will be used to conceptualize the teaching and learning interactions that materialize in a team- teaching situation, to develop future directions for assessment of the value of team- teaching, and to determine whether this direct form of team-teaching should be pursued further.

1. History and Background of the Rowan Engineering and College Writing Partnership

In 1992, industrialist Henry Rowan made a $100,000,000 donation to then Glassboro State College to establish a high-quality engineering school in southern New

Johnson, F. S., & Sun, C. C., & Marchese, A. J., & Newell, H. L., & Schmalzel, J. L., & Harvey, R., & Ramachandran, R., & von Lockette, P., & Dahm, K. (2000, June), Improving The Engineering And Writing Interface: An Assessment Of A Team Taught Integrated Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8445

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: © 2000 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