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Teaching Workplace Communication In Industrial And Electrical Engineering

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Writing and Communication I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1205.1 - 9.1205.9



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Paper Authors

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Lisa McNair

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Garlie Forehand

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Beverly Sutley-Fish

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Michael Laughter

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Judith Norback

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

Session 1461

Teaching Workplace Communication in Industrial and Electrical Engineering*

Judith Shaul Norback, Lisa D. McNair, Michael J. Laughter, Garlie A. Forehand, Beverly Sutley-Fish

School of Industrial and Systems Engineering/ School of Literature, Communication and Culture Georgia Institute of Technology


Georgia Tech has National Science Foundation funding to bring workplace communication into a Technical Communication course. Personal interviews have been conducted with industrial and electrical engineers; supervisors; and senior executives. The results of the interviews have been used to tailor Technical Communication to each engineering discipline. These findings will be described along with the course content and preliminary student assessment data.

This article describes curricula that have been developed through collaboration between investigators gathering data from the workplace and academic instructors teaching a traditional Technical Communication Practices course. The goal is to bring real-world documents and guidelines into the classroom to help students become aware and proficient in the communication practices of their disciplines. This accomplishment will in turn help technically- prepared graduates also be prepared for the communication needs of various jobs, enabling them to get good jobs and move up the career ladder. Examples of workplace materials and curricula based on the Criteria of Communication Excellence will be provided in the presentation along with specific steps for replication. Results will be provided for use by other undergraduate programs teaching Technical Communication courses.

I. Introduction

Recent research has demonstrated that engineers entering the workplace need to acquire more proficient communication skills in order to excel in their jobs.1 Although the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has recently passed criteria that include written and

* This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0231305.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

McNair, L., & Forehand, G., & Sutley-Fish, B., & Laughter, M., & Norback, J. (2004, June), Teaching Workplace Communication In Industrial And Electrical Engineering Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12979

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