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Incorporating Visual Communications Assignments To Enrich Education In All Engineering Disciplines

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Communication - Needs and Methods

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

15.718.1 - 15.718.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16090

Download Count

72

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Paper Authors

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Warren Waggenspack Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Engineering Undergraduates and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the faculty in 1988. He currently serves as Co-Director of the Education and Outreach program with LSU’s NSF-EPSCoR Center for Bio-Modular Multi-Scale Systems (CBM2) and is responsible for the development and implementation of several of the centers K-12 and public outreach programs.

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Sarah Liggett Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Sarah Liggett is a Professor of English at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. She is the Director of the campus-wide Communication across the Curriculum Program and is also the Director of the LSU Writing Center. She has published extensively on the histories, theories, programs, practices of technical and scientific writing. Dr. Liggett holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University.

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Warren Hull Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Warren R. Hull, Sr. manages the Engineering Communications Studio at Louisiana State University. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University and an M.S. in Environmental Health from Harvard University. His engineering career spans over 40 years. He is a licensed Professional Engineer who was previously an engineering consultant, and is also a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel.

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David Bowles Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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David (Boz) Bowles is a Technical Communication Instructor in the Engineering Communication Studio at Louisiana State University. He earned a baccalaureate degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Stephen Sears Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Stephen O. Sears is the Department Chair of the Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering at Louisiana State University, and holder of the Longwell-Leonard Family Distinguished Professorship. He has been in this position since 2005, following a career in engineering and management at Shell Oil Company. He holds a PhD in Geochemistry from Pennsylvania State University.

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Daniel Thomas Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Daniel L. Thomas is currently Professor and Head of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Prior to joining LSU he served as a faculty member at the University Georgia, Bio & Ag Engineering Department, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Tifton Campus. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and holds B.S. and M.E. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from LSU and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

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Paige Davis Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Paige Davis is an Instructor in the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University. She has 20 years experience teaching Engineering Graphics and Computer Graphics courses. She received her baccalaureate degree in Engineering Technology and her master's degree in Industrial Engineering from Louisiana State University.

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

Incorporating Visual Communications Assignments to Enrich Education in All Engineering Disciplines

Introduction

At Louisiana State University, a gift from an alumnus made possible the establishment of a program to improve students’ communication skills. As we described in a 2006 paper, the Communication across the Curriculum (CxC) Program was established in 2004 with an initial emphasis on engineering students.¹ One of the key elements of the CxC program was the inception of Communication-Intensive (C-I) Courses. C-I courses are intended to be integrated into existing discipline-specific courses, with additional requirements for emphasis on two of the four modes of communication: written, spoken, visual (the focus of this paper), and technological. In a 2007 survey designed to solicit student perceptions of the value of C-I courses in the engineering curricula, students overwhelmingly agreed that the assignments contributed to their communication skills, and that these skills were important to their future careers in engineering.2 Faculty assessment of C-I courses in 2008 showed that workload increased somewhat for both faculty and students in C-I courses; however, it was also acknowledged that students’ knowledge of traditional course content was enhanced. 3

Another key element in the CxC program was the establishment of communication studios in the various colleges. The first of these, the Engineering Communication Studio (Studio), was opened in the fall of 2005. This 2000 ft² facility and its use by students and faculty were described in detail in a 2007 paper.4 The Studio has state-of-the-art technology applications at 17 computer work stations and comfortable lounge seating for an Internet café atmosphere. A conference room in the Studio is equipped to support critiques of oral presentations, one requirement of many C-I courses.

A valuable resource is the Studio’s three-dimensional (3-D) printer, which enables students to see their designs come to life by creating a functional ABS plastic model directly from design files. Additionally, a large-format printer allows students to create posters and CAD drawings in formats up to 42 inches wide. To aid in the development of communication projects, the Studio offers a wide range of audio-visual resources for student checkout. These resources include still and video cameras, wireless and corded microphone systems, and highly portable projectors and projection screens.

The campus-wide CxC program and the Studio comprise a sustained support system for engineering students and faculty. This has contributed to enthusiastic acceptance of programmatic changes by both faculty and students and helped the engineering program meet ABET’s criterion for Program Outcomes, which states that students must demonstrate an “ability to communicate effectively.”5 Traditionally, this outcome has been assessed by examining students’ writing and speaking skills. However, as this paper shows, organizations such as the National Academy of Engineering are stressing the necessity for students to develop visual communication skills as well. Because of the requirements of C-I courses (emphasizing two of the four modes) and because of the technologies and instruction available to students in the Studio, the CxC program in Engineering has enhanced its instruction in visual communication

Waggenspack, W., & Liggett, S., & Hull, W., & Bowles, D., & Sears, S., & Thomas, D., & Davis, P. (2010, June), Incorporating Visual Communications Assignments To Enrich Education In All Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16090

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: © 2010 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