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Work in Progress: Projects in Engineering Education – Cross-fertilization Between Communication and Situated Learning

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 3

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Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


Joakim Sigurd Wren Linköping University, Sweden

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Joakim Wren is an Associate Professor in Applied Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at
Linköping University, Sweden. His interest is on education and research in Engineering Thermodynamics and Energy engineering. He has a long experience in development and management of engineering programs and implementation of teaching methods facilitating active learning.

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Demands on today's and tomorrow’s engineers involve the ability to design and manage products, processes and systems with regard to society's goals for economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development. This inevitably means collaboration in interdisciplinary environments, interacting in groups with different configurations and with representatives of other professions. A prerequisite to be successful in such an arena is an effective and clear communication. The problem is, however, that the communicative ability and skill is actually decreasing among engineering students, according to a broad consensus among the university teachers in our country. To improve this situation, a “teaching module” that supports and develops the students' communicative competence has been developed. This module has been integrated in a number of courses at several 5 years long Masters programs in e.g. Mechanical engineering and Industrial engineering at a well renowned European University, and is at present being evaluated. The aim is not only to boost the students’ communicative competence per se, but also to facilitate an improved situated learning. The general idea follows the phenomenological approach, which stimulates a deep-level instead of a surface-level approach to learning, and is thereby closely related to student-centered, active and sociocultural learning strategies. Although most teachers agree that students must be “active” to learn, active in a general sense is however not enough – When using active learning, students are engaged in dialog, debate, writing, and problem solving, as well as higher-order thinking, e.g., analysis, synthesis and evaluation. An important part of this Paper as well as the communication module is focused on written communication, e.g. project reports. The process of writing or “developing” a report shows similarities to the development of a product or service – all involve alignment and combination of sub-tasks carried out in series and/or sequences, but with the final product is in focus throughout the process. These and other aspects will be further elaborated in the final paper, which will also include a study comparing communicative improvement and learning in relation to the courses’ goals. This study is initiated and will be finalized during spring 2018.

Wren, J. S. (2018, June), Work in Progress: Projects in Engineering Education – Cross-fertilization Between Communication and Situated Learning Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31300

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