Asee peer logo

Introducing First Year Engineering Students To Reading And Writing About Engineering Practice

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.655.1 - 6.655.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Marion Hagler

author page

John Chandler

author page

A. Dean Fontenot

Download Paper |


The Texas Tech University College of Engineering is introducing first-year electrical engineering students to the relationship that literature and writing can have to becoming well-rounded engineers. Beside being introduced to principles of electronics hardware and conventions of software programming, first-semester students enrolled in Introduction to Engineering and Computer Programming also read Soul of a New Machine, by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder, and The Civilized Engineer, by Samuel Florman. In addition, students enrolled in the honors section of the course read Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, by Michael Hiltzik. Kidder’s book reads like a well written novel about the development of Data General’s 32-bit computer, and Florman’s essays provoke discussions about engineering roles in society. Hiltzik’s depiction of the development of ARPANET and the personal computer allows first-year students to identify with engineers who pave the way for most contemporary paradigms in computing. By critically reading and discussing literary depictions of engineering practice, students develop insight into such issues as cultural perspectives regarding engineering, ethical considerations affecting engineers, women in engineering, engineering politics, and various other issues that first-year students rarely have an opportunity to consider. In addition, students have the option of taking a first- year composition course, Essentials of College Rhetoric, that is especially designed to complement the content of the first-year engineering course, in which they examine and write about ethical, political, historical, and technical issues that shape the role of engineering in our culture and specifically focuses on engineers as writers in the workplace. The writing course was developed in collaboration with the TTU English Department and incorporates prevailing composition theory and pedagogy by engaging the students in such collaborative exercises as peer review and group invention strategies. The overarching aim of both of these courses is to incorporate methods and pedagogies from disciplines in the Humanities to help engineering students learn to read, write, and think critically about their own discipline.

Hagler, M., & Chandler, J., & Fontenot, A. D. (2001, June), Introducing First Year Engineering Students To Reading And Writing About Engineering Practice Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9473

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: © 2001 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