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Overcoming the Writing Challenges of Students in a Distance Delivery Technology Master of Science Program

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Teaching and Pedagogy Issues in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.966.1 - 24.966.15



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Paper Authors


Mark Shaurette Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Mark Shaurette has a MS in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Technology from Purdue University. He is a Fulbright Scholar with work experience that includes 30+ years of senior construction management practice and work as a research engineer for the National Association of Home Builders Research Foundation. He currently holds the position of chair for the Master of Science program for the Purdue Department of Building Construction Management in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. He is active in research, education and community outreach in the areas of building retrofit for energy conservation, sustainable construction practices, management of the demolition process, material reuse and recycling, as well as instructional design in construction management education.

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Randy R. Rapp Purdue Building Construction Management Dept.

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Overcoming the Technical Writing Challenges of Students in a Technology Master of Science ProgramAbstract***** University offers Master of Science in Construction Management (CM) options thatinclude a thesis based degree and a capstone based course only plan of study. Students enter theprogram after completing traditional engineering, architecture, and construction managementundergraduate degrees from a diversity of universities around the globe. Many entering studentsalso have five or more years of experience working in the construction industry. As is commonin many engineering or technology graduate programs, the writing proficiency of these enteringstudents is frequently inadequate to meet the demands of scholarly writing. Because much of thescholarly writing that is done by graduate students is supervised by faculty who do not havestrong mentoring skills in technical writing, these students may struggle to communicate theirgraduate research in an effective manner. As a result, some supervisors must spend more timeguiding the writing process than the research. At degree completion, these graduate studentsfrequently produce satisfactory research but still have poorly crafted theses or publications.Some may fail to complete the degree altogether.This paper presents a summary of literature regarding recent university responses to the graduatestudent writing preparation challenge. In addition, a description is provided of the *****Department of Building Construction Management’s experience with graduate student writingand the introduction of a required writing course as part of the MS plan of study. Both studentfeedback and preliminary test results are presented as evidence of the successes andshortcomings that have accrued from this introductory writing course.

Shaurette, M., & Rapp, R. R. (2014, June), Overcoming the Writing Challenges of Students in a Distance Delivery Technology Master of Science Program Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22899

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