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Using Web 2.0 Technologies In The Automotive Engineering Language Classroom As A Tool To Improve Writing Skills And Prepare Undergraduate Students For The International Workplace

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders through Co-op Education

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1336.1 - 14.1336.20



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Paper Authors

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Adrian Millward-Sadler Joanneum University of Applied Sciences

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Annette Casey Joanneum University of Applied Sciences

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Emilia Bratschitsch Joanneum University of Applied Sciences

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

Web 2.0 Technologies in the Automotive Engineering Language Classroom as a Tool to Improve Writing Skills and Prepare Undergraduate Students for the International Workplace


In times of multi-national engineering companies and international job assignments, the ability for a graduate engineer to communicate competently in English, whether or not it is their first language, is now paramount. In the department for Vehicle Technology, the syllabus of the English program has been carefully designed to prepare undergraduates for the realities of English in the international workplace, while at the same incorporating the praxis oriented approach to education adopted by the department.

The importance of English is underlined by the fact it is the most taught subject on the course, present in six out of the seven semesters, where students are present on site at the institute. Every effort is made to ensure that the course consists of the most effective and up-to-date methods and for this reason Web 2.0 technologies have been integrated into the syllabus over the last number of years.

The objective of this paper is to outline the use of Web 2.0 technologies within the English syllabus for Austrian students and show how these not only link into the curriculum as a whole, but also prepare undergraduates for professional life after completing their degree.

The first Web 2.0 technology examined is “webquesting”, which in this case is the organisation of a departmental excursion to a real Auto Show in an American city from Austria within a given budget. This is used to provide the basis for 2nd semester students’ first written report at university level in English. Prior to this stage, students have only been required to write such documentation in their native tongue and this follow-up process enables skills to be transferred and applied in a second language.

The second Web 2.0 technology examined is “e-portfolio”. Again, in conjunction with courses in their native language, students are required to create their own online portfolio in English using the portfolio platform Mahara, complete with their résumé, covering letters, details of projects, other academic achievements and any other miscellaneous data relevant to successfully gaining employment as a graduate engineer. The group structure of the platform allows for both instructor and peer assessment, as well as self reflection for students post submission. This exercise also demonstrates intercultural differences within the EU, and also between EU countries and the USA and Asia with regards to the expectations of the employer and the potential employee, such as layout and design of written documentation as well as the interview process associated with starting work.

The result of this integrated approach grants students the knowledge necessary to be able to work either at home or abroad and to be able to make the transition beyond their own cultural borders while at the same time improving both foreign language and writing skills to a level requisite for the international workplace of today.

Millward-Sadler, A., & Casey, A., & Bratschitsch, E. (2009, June), Using Web 2.0 Technologies In The Automotive Engineering Language Classroom As A Tool To Improve Writing Skills And Prepare Undergraduate Students For The International Workplace Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4642

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