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Using The Peer Review Process To Implement Writing Assignments In An Engineering Technology Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1123.1 - 6.1123.8



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Andrew Rose

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

Session 3650

Using the Peer Review Process to Implement Writing Assignments in an Engineering Technology Course

Andrew T. Rose University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


Implementation of writing across the curriculum is intended to improve the communication skills of engineering technology (ET) graduates to better meet the needs of industry, as well as to meet the general education requirements at many institutions. One way to include writing experiences in the ET curriculum is to identify courses already writing intensive and create appropriate assignments to develop improved student writing skills. The “Writing Assignments for Technical Courses” workshop sponsored by the Liberal Education Division at the 2000 ASEE Conference discussed how student peer review can be used with well-designed writing assignments in technical courses. Based on this workshop, writing assignments in a junior level civil engineering technology course have been used to help students improve their writing skills. Writing assignments varied from transmittal memos, technical memos, laboratory reports and a five to seven page research paper on topics that time constraints prevent from being covered in class. To compare the effectiveness of peer reviewed writing assignments with non-peer reviewed assignments; the peer review process was used only for the paper. All other writing assignments were not peer reviewed. Peer review teams of three students were assigned by the instructor based on writing abilities observed during the first half of the semester. In order to expose students to a wider variety of technical information, students were matched so they reviewed papers on topics different from their own paper. Two students reviewed each paper. Assignment grades were based primarily on the final paper but a portion of the grade was related to the review process. A questionnaire obtained student feedback on the writing assignments and peer review process. Recommendations for improvement of peer review writing assignments are presented.

I. Introduction

Improving communication skills of students is a goal throughout engineering technology programs. ABET,1 colleges and universities with ET programs,2 as well as employers3 all agree that student communication skills need to be improved. Written communication skills are one of the areas especially needing improvement. Additional writing courses, however, are not the most effective way to improve student writing.4 Adding additional courses to the curriculum is difficult in the already crowded course sequence at most institutions. In addition, improved student writing tends to occur more through writing assignments that provide regular practice in major discipline courses, rather than through separate writing courses. 5 As a result, ET faculty should look to their existing courses to see how writing assignments can be implemented or expanded to help students improve their writing skills.5

Rose, A. (2001, June), Using The Peer Review Process To Implement Writing Assignments In An Engineering Technology Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9983

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