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Learning Written And Oral Communication, Team Work, And Engineering Competition In A Manufacturing Systems Class

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.368.1 - 4.368.6

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Neda Fabris

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

Session 3563

Learning Written and Oral Communication, Team Work and Engineering Competition in A Manufacturing Systems Class

Neda Saravanja-Fabris Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department California State University, Los Angeles

1. Introduction

The role of engineers has changed drastically in recent years, from being solitary thinkers, designers and trouble shooters to being team players, able to present and “sell” their products, process designs, ideas and accomplishments to bosses, peers and more and more often, to groups of internal and external “customers” with no or little engineering background. This present considerable difficulty to many engineering students who choose engineering careers because they were “good in math and science”, but not in written and oral skills, or who were too “shy” to argue their point of view in front of others. Also, engineering in its international universal background was a “refuge” for new emigrants, or people with English as a second language giving them the opportunity to excel despite the hurdle of mastering a new language.

The new engineering paradigm and industry requirement to “hit the ground running” places special emphasis on engineering education to provide graduating engineers with the experience and practice in oral and written communication in their engineering classes. With this emphasis in mind, and to reflect the greater emphasis in manufacturing industry on new management techniques (Total Quality Management, Just in Time, Quadratic Loss Function) and use of statistical process control, several years ago I developed a senior level lecture course for mechanical engineering students entitled “Automation and Computer -Aided Manufacturing”. This course, consistent with the modern industry practice of continuing improvement, changes almost every year.

This course is an elective, offered once a year, and is very well attended and received by students. The content of the course was very favorably reviewed (in his e-mail massage) by an external consultant, Dr. Myron Tribus, former US Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and former Director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT. This paper briefly describes the material covered in the course with emphasis on different projects and activities students are involved in.

2. Scope of the Course

Since this was a new elective class, I had complete freedom in choosing material to be studied and in developing the activities and projects. As a basis for the class I choose the book, “Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing” by M.P. Groover1. Although this book is not up to date on several subjects, and several chapters in the book are devoted to material covered in other courses (Industrial Robots, and Control Systems, for

Fabris, N. (1999, June), Learning Written And Oral Communication, Team Work, And Engineering Competition In A Manufacturing Systems Class Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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