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Use Of Hypermedia Modules On Cd Rom's To Teach Communication Skills In Engineering Laboratories „

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.498.1 - 1.498.9



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Paper Authors

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Sandra Gronhovd

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Sudhir Mehta

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.—-. Session 3230

Use of Hypermedia Modules on CD-ROMs to Teach Communication Skills in Engineering Laboratories — Sandra Gronhovd, S. L Mehta North Dakota State University

A b s t r a c t The ability to communicate is essential for engineering students, and coursework is frequently offered to provide these skills: However, students often do not transfer these skills to other classes. Techniques used to transfer communication skills from the communication classroom to engineering laboratories at North Dakota State University has culminated in the development of a multimedia Resource Module (RM) which refreshes these skills, promotes transfer, and expands students’ exposure to technical communication. The first section, Written Communication, covers audience, organization, format, and style. The second, Oral Communication, presents tips to avoid common problem areas in giving presentations. The Module is interactive and contains numerous examples.

Introduction Engineering educators have known for some time that students have difficulty communicating effectively. Industry surveys have shown that students have weak communication skills and are unable to articulate ideas ‘, communication skills should be developed throughout the curriculum 2 , and “no survey that makes its way through a faculty meeting or management seminar avoids the issues of communication” 3 .

This ongoing problem has caused faculty at North Dakota State University to devise methods to refresh students’ knowledge of communication skills and effect transfer of those skills to settings other than the communication classroom, i.e., engineering labs 4 . The initial method, that of the communication instructor giving short “writing brush-up” presentations in labs, although effective, was time consuming and cumbersome. The process of refinement initially led to the development of Flexible Education Modules (FEMs) which contained a unit on technical writing’. The next phase, the one presented here, was the development of FEMs on CD-ROMs. This allowed yet more material to be presented, and the addition of a section on oral communication.

This paper will describe the five sections in the Communication Module. Four are in Written Communication (Audience Organization, Format, and Style), and one is in Oral Communications. The modules are interactive and contain numerous examples.

Written Communications The Written Communication module is introduced with an initial screen (a “card”) which lists the contents. By placing the cursor on any category’s “button” and single-clicking the mouse, students can call up information on any area. See figure 1 for the menu. Each of these four areas will be discussed.

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Gronhovd, S., & Mehta, S. (1996, June), Use Of Hypermedia Modules On Cd Rom's To Teach Communication Skills In Engineering Laboratories „ Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6365

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