Asee peer logo

Practical English: Teaching Technical Communication Abroad Based On A Preexisting Technical Writing Course In Mississippi State University's Bagley College Of Engineering

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Global Engineering in an Interconnected World

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1165.1 - 12.1165.29

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Alexis Powe Mississippi State University

visit author page

Alexis D. Powe is a technical writing instructor for the Mississippi State University Bagley College of Engineerins Shackouls Technical Communication Program. She received her B.A. in English from Mississippi State University in 2002, graduating summa cum laude with a minor in history, and her M.A. in English from Louisiana State University in 2004. She is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Modern Language Association.

Address: P.O. Box 9544, Mississippi State, MS 39762-9544; telephone: (+1) 662.325.4240; e-mail:

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Practical English: Teaching Technical Communication Abroad Based on a Preexisting Technical Writing Course in Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering Abstract

This paper describes a technical communication course offered at Kyungpook National University (KNU) in Daegu, Korea, during the summer of 2006. I, an American technical writing instructor employed by Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering, taught the course, Practical English. This course was modified from an existing technical writing course required of all engineering and computer science undergraduates at Mississippi State University (MSU).

This article’s purpose is twofold. Its first purpose is to describe my personal experience and encourage other engineering educators to pursue similar experiences. While teaching abroad intimidates some, including me initially, modifying an existing course makes the idea much more attainable for the average educator. The paper’s second purpose is to describe the course itself in detail, thereby giving other educators considering teaching abroad ideas for modifying their own courses. A brief description of the course upon which Practical English was modeled, MSU’s GE 3513 (technical writing), is also provided.

Topics discussed include my descriptions of teaching and living in Daegu, Korea; a brief description of GE 3513; a detailed description of Practical English, including the course objectives and schedule; major course assignments in Practical English and modifications to these assignments; grammatical challenges faced and grading standards used; students’ expectations of the course; and quantitative and qualitative student assessment of the course.

Keywords: technical writing, Practical English, international students, teaching abroad, Korea

I. Introduction

In fall 2005, an associate dean in MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering circulated a call for engineering educators to spend the summer teaching in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). I submitted my curriculum vitae and proposed course syllabus to Kyungpook National University’s Office of International Affairs, doubtful that a technical-writing course would be welcomed by KNU’s engineering program. Instead, the course was well received by KNU’s Department of English Language and Literature. By June 2006, I was teaching and living abroad—only my second time ever to travel overseas and my first time to travel internationally alone.

Teaching and living abroad, even if only for one summer, was one of my most professionally challenging and personally rewarding experiences. Not only has the experience expanded my teaching repertoire, but it has also informed and improved my interactions with and pedagogical approaches to my colleagues and students, respectively—both internationals and natives—since I returned home. And my experience is hardly unique.

Powe, A. (2007, June), Practical English: Teaching Technical Communication Abroad Based On A Preexisting Technical Writing Course In Mississippi State University's Bagley College Of Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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: © 2007 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