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Web publication utilized as a communication tool for first year engineering students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5B: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Hyun J. Kwon Andrews University

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Dr. Hyun Kwon is a professor of Department of Engineering and Computer Science at Andrews University, MI. She graduated from University of Louisville with Ph.D. in chemical engineering. She teaches Fluid dynamics, Thermodynamics, Linear System Analysis, Feedback control systems, etc. She enjoys employing new technologies to the undergrad classroom to make learning more fun and have students better prepared for the fast-changing tech world.

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This research paper describes the effectiveness of web publication as a new communication tool for first year engineering students. Rationale: In traditional engineering education, the written communication skills are tested through technical reports on their projects or lab reports. Although importance of generating professional written report never diminishes, web publication emerges as a new, necessitated communication skills for engineering students. In the freshmen engineering class, we have experimented to replace conventional final report with web publication to describe and present their term project. In the web publication, use of graphs, pictures, and video clips becomes essentially important elements to make an effective communication while technical writing still holds its place. Developing web publication skills have several benefits which include: 1. An easy start: Freshmen students with less writing experience, it can be a good start to write them with many pictures and graphs. 2. A new communication: Web publication involves taking pictures, developing narratives, and generating video clips to deliver project outcomes and represent ideas graphically. This will be a future communication method. 3. Developing digital portfolio for projects: Students are encouraged to develop project portfolio throughout their college years. This will provide a starting point and teach them how to develop a digital portfolio. 4. Visibility: Web publication makes our student in global presence instantly. 5. Accessibility: Most students lose their project report by the time of graduation. The webpages can be kept in their personal site or class site to easily access their own work. Methods/assessment: Students in “Introduction to Engineering and Design” were required to turn in the URL link or html document as a final report on their term project, instead of a traditional technical report. Although the required elements in the report remain the same (background, project description, methods/design, Results, Discussion, References), students were asked to develop their web page with more visual elements and concise writing. The effectiveness was assessed in two ways. The quality of report was assessed using a rubric as a direct assessment and student feedback was obtained through after-class survey as an indirect assessment.

Results & Discussion: The ABET outcomes that were met by this exercises were: ability to communicate effectively: Web publication can be a new form of student outcome for communication for new generation. i.a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning: Students were trained to learn how to generate graphs and charts, also motivated to learn how to generate video clips, web blogs, enticing visual representations.

The overall quality of the web report was evaluated in terms of format, effective visual elements and writing skills. In the comparison with previous years, overall quality of communication skills were 14% improved according to their grade in the delivery. Indirect assessment through survey, students’ response was 98% favored in a question that whether the web publication are effective way to deliver their project description. Students spent more time in preparing the web document than traditional report, because of pressure to be published online and time-consuming nature of visual charts/photographs/video preparation. The direct measurement indicated that web publication could be an effective way to develop communication skills for new generation. In informal conversations, students expressed that they enjoyed the webpage construction as they could directly relate to the impact of the writing effort. The constructed webpage was linked to the faculty’s class website and made available unto 5 years. Web publication through web page building, project videos, and professional blogs are great way to build their online portfolio and easily accessible for the author and readers. Their first project web page will be a part of their portfolio and will be kept and seen by the world. Albeit there was a concern that we may miss out the opportunity to generate traditional technical writing, students’ feedback was rave and provided a great way to excite them to describe their project. This study elicited a discussion whether this is a future of a form of written communication that needs to be seriously pursued in engineering education.

Kwon, H. J. (2016, June), Web publication utilized as a communication tool for first year engineering students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27188

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