June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.758.1 - 15.758.15
Integrating Communication as a New Learning Component into Chinese Software Engineering Program
Engineering programs in China generally focus on development of student’s ability in learning mathematics and engineering theories with limited exposures to their practical skill development. Recent research finds that lack of soft skill training on human communication may severely affect student’s ability in conveying their thoughts and proposing solutions and even have negative impacts on their professional achievements.
This course development research is a new addition to a curriculum development research by the author. The research identifies Chinese student’s weaknesses and discovers that successful experience from American engineering education programs can be used as a remedy. The solution is to integrate successful teaching delivery methods from American engineering curricula into Chinese engineering curricula.
The research first addresses importance of communication in modern work place and professional career and concludes communication training is crucial in any engineering program. A number of new student learning methods and team activities are selected for a comprehensive course framework. The modifications to existing software engineering project management course contents are made mainly to develop student’s communication skills. Another task is to conduct an experiment on feasibility of integrating communication training into the project management course. The research develops a plan to test whether or not the new methods and activities are effective to develop Chinese student’s soft skills in general and particularly improve their practical communication skills in the course. Students are required to go through a variety of new team activities and complete newly designed team oriented project assignments with the new focus on developing student’s communication skills. Throughout the course student survey and other course evaluations are conducted. Data from the survey and evaluations is then collected and analyzed with help of statistical methods and software to discover scientific outcomes. The data analysis results are used to evaluate student learning outcomes and measure effectiveness of new teaching methods and student learning activities in this new course framework. The results have confirmed that most of goals of this change have been reached.
A number of curriculum studies conducted by the author and other researchers find that engineering students often focus on their specific academic areas throughout their four year college study and even graduate study thereafter. However, rapidly changing global economy and dynamic working environment requires today’s engineering graduates to be able to play multiple roles in a project life cycle. More and more engineers are now deeply involved in project management. Most of engineering graduates believe that their college educations do not fully prepare them to play such multiple roles with proper practical experience and soft skills.
Zeng, F. (2010, June), Integrating Communication As A New Learning Component Into Chinese Software Engineering Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16323
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