June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Writing in engineering courses provides a mechanism for processing scientific information related to an engineering issue or problem and synthesize sound solutions through a descriptive narrative often including sound engineering judgement or justifications, outstanding contributions and key conclusions. Some critical findings and contributions may not be recognized unless they are presented through a formal writing narrative. On the other hand, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has stipulated the engineering education outcomes as (f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility; (g) an ability to communicate effectively; (h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context; (i) A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning, and (j) Knowledge of contemporary issues. These outcomes are hard to achieve in a traditional compartmentalized engineering curriculum. These intangible ABET outcomes can be better accomplished by providing writing assignments to engineering students.
In our civil engineering senior design elective course, CE 4883-6883 Engineered Environmental Systems at Mississippi State University, we have incorporated various types of writing exercises such as informal writing, free writing, exploratory writing, formal writing (project report), and reflective writing to enhance student learning of the subject matter. Informal writing involved a critical review of different stormwater pollution management issues and current best management practices and a comparison of the alternatives. Free writing was given in class to promote free thinking and thinking through writing. Exploratory writing exercise involved a topical discussion of stormwater treatment process. A formal writing exercise was given in the form of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) assignment which included a peer–review session prior to final grading. A reflective writing exercise was included to summarize learning experiences through classroom and writing activities throughout the semester to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses and accomplishments and pitfalls and areas/topics for future development.
Student learning experiences and the effectiveness of writing exercises were discussed. The benefits of writing exercises were evaluated through the ABET outcomes and a survey and evaluation of students’ performance throughout the semester. Results from this preliminary study suggested the need for more structured writing assignments and detailed analysis and assessment /evaluation process for identifying the effectiveness of writing exercises for developing critical thinking skills and for achieving ABET outcomes.
Gude, V. G. (2017, June), Integrating Writing to Teach Engineered Environmental Systems Design Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28562
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