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Writing Assignments For Technical Courses

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1429.1 - 9.1429.8



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Paper Authors

author page

Rhona Moore

author page

James Strueber

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



R. Moore, J. V. Strueber Tuskegee University


This paper is the result of the authors’ work incorporating writing assignments into the technical courses that they teach without increasing the professor’s workload and detracting from the coverage of the course topics. The writing assignments described herein are designed to address the communications skills needed by practicing professionals and contribute to the student’s understanding of the topic at hand. One of the authors first presented the process at an ACSA Technology Conference in 1992;1 since then the assignment has been further developed, expanded, enhanced, and refined.

Professionals must be able to write daily reports to document progress on the job or project activities, to evaluate, and to summarize the work of others. They must be able to compose clear, succinct technical reports on a regular basis; they also need to be able to speak in front of groups of people, ranging from directing workers in the office, to the instructing at the jobsite, to making formal public presentations. This means being able to write and speak clearly and concisely and to present the material so it can be clearly understood by the intended audience. Professionals also need to review a seemingly endless num- ber of trade and professional publications to keep abreast of their field.

Our students are expected to summarize information quickly and clearly on examinations, write technical laboratory reports, and produce papers that are more formal. The writing courses included in most college curriculums help build basic communication skills; however, research confirms that continuous practice is required to improve these skills, to build students’ confidence, and to tie the skills to practice. Research on learning also suggests that writing can be used to enhance and support learning.

The process described in this paper provides the student continuous experience in acquiring these skills in somewhat painless--and maybe even in an enjoyable-process while introducing them to the breadth and depth of their chosen field. In addition, the assignments have been structured so as not to require grading in order to be effective.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Moore, R., & Strueber, J. (2004, June), Writing Assignments For Technical Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13195

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015