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Introducing Writing Assignments in Engineering Technology Courses to Enhance Technical Writing Skills and Critical Thinking

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Issues in Engineering Technology Education II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Otilia Popescu Old Dominion University

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Dr. Otilia Popescu received the Engineering Diploma and M.S. degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania, and the PhD degree from Rutgers University, all in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her research interests are in the general areas of communication systems, control theory, and signal processing. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. In the past she has worked for the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at San Antonio, Rutgers University, and Politehnica University of Bucharest. She is a senior member of the IEEE, serves as associate editor for IEEE Communication Letters, and has served in the technical program committee for the IEEE ICC, WCNC, RWW, VTC, GLOBECOM, and CAMAD conferences.

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Vukica M. Jovanovic Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jovanovic received her and M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from University of Novi Sad, Serbia. She received a PhD in Technology at Purdue University, while working as a PhD student in Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Product Lifecycle Management Center of Excellence. Dr. Jovanovic is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at ODU. She is teaching classes in the area of mechatronics and computer aided engineering. Her research Interests are: mechatronics, digital manufacturing, manufacturing systems, and engineering education.

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This study is prompted by the university wide initiative to improve the students’ writing skills starting in early courses of their college education. Effective written communication skills are important for engineering education, and critical thinking is one of the most important aspects of the learning process at the college level. In this study we evaluate student perception on how technical writing assignments contribute to critical thinking. Introducing a technical paper writing assignment in lower division courses will help students be better prepared for major writing assignments in their upper division courses as well as for their capstone project. In this study a writing assignment is introduced in an Electrical Circuits course, for electrical engineering technology students. The main purpose of the assignment is to introduce students to paper writing and formatting, to learn about defining key-words and searching for references in the library data bases. At the end of the semester a survey is distributed to the students to evaluate their feedback regarding this assignment. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate the students’ opinion on the effectiveness of introducing a writing assignment early in their college education. The research will also evaluate the students’ opinion on how such assignment can help them better understand the concepts studied in the class, improve their studying methodology and enhance their critical thinking.

Popescu, O., & Jovanovic, V. M. (2016, June), Introducing Writing Assignments in Engineering Technology Courses to Enhance Technical Writing Skills and Critical Thinking Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25462

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