Asee peer logo

Memory Maps: Helping Engineering Students Fashion Words on the Spot in Their Technical Presentations

Download Paper |

Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Communication as Performance

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

26.1145.1 - 26.1145.11

DOI

10.18260/p.24482

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24482

Download Count

98

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Michael Alley The Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Michael Alley is an associate professor of engineering communication at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations (Springer-Verlag, 2013) and founder of the website Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science (writing.engr.psu.edu), which receives more than 1 million page downloads each year.

visit author page

author page

Lori B. Miraldi The Pennsylvania State University

author page

Joanna K. Garner Old Dominion University

Download Paper |

Abstract

Memorizing, Reading, or Fashioning on the Spot: An Engineering Student’s Source of Words in a Technical Presentation In traditional speech courses, the words that the speaker says arise from four sources: (1)memorized; (2) read from a script, notecards, or slides; (3) fashioned on the spot with noplanning (impromptu); or (4) fashioned on the spot but with planning and practice [1]. Inengineering and science, how the speaker comes up with words often affects the presentation inseveral ways: how much engagement the speaker has with the audience, how much credibilitythe speaker has with the audience, and the confidence that the speaker has in delivering thecontent. In this paper, we will examine a series of three research questions that address howengineering students, as opposed to experts, come up with their words for technicalpresentations. The first research question is as follows: How do experts come up with their words in atechnical presentation? To address this first question, we will interview several engineers andscientists who are widely considered to be excellent speakers. Examples include the following:Brian Cox, a physicist leading the Large Hadron Collider [2]; Hans Rosling, the world healthstatistician [3]; and Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroscientist who delivered the most popular talk onTED.com [4]. The second research question is as follows: How do engineering students (novices) comeup with their words in a technical presentation? To address this question, we will interviewengineering undergraduates at a large land-grant university. Tangential to the second research question is the third: What are engineering studentstypically taught as far as the source of words for presentations? To address this question, we willsurvey textbooks used in high school and college speech courses and textbooks used in technicalcommunication courses. In addition, at a large, land-grant university, we will compare theteaching instruction from liberal arts instructors who teach a required speech course with theteaching instruction from engineering faculty who teach presentations in their courses. Results of this investigation are being incorporated into an online instruction moduleconsisting of training films and exercises to help engineering students deliver their presentationsin a fashion similar to what the best speakers in engineering and science do. Funding for thesefilms and exercises arises from a grant from the National Science Foundation [5].References1. Stephen Lucas (2011). The Art of Public Speaking, 11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.2. Brian Cox (2008, March). CERN’s supercollider. www.ted.com. Monterey, CA: TED Talk sponsored by Autodesk.3. Rosling, Hans (2006, February). Debunking third world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen. www.ted.com. Monterey, CA: TED Talk.4. Taylor, Jill Bolte (2008). Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight. www.ted.com. Monterey, CA: TED Talk sponsored by AT&T.  5. _____________, _____________, ___________, and _________, “Type 2: Creating a National Network of Engineering Ambassadors: A Professional Development Program with an Outreach Mission,” National Science Foundation Grant 1323230 (College of Engineering, _____________________, 2013-2016).  

Alley, M., & Miraldi, L. B., & Garner, J. K. (2015, June), Memory Maps: Helping Engineering Students Fashion Words on the Spot in Their Technical Presentations Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24482

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: © 2015 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