Asee peer logo

Writing Challenges for Graduate Students in Engineering and Technology

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students, Diversity, and Assessment

Tagged Divisions

Minorities in Engineering and Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1714.1 - 22.1714.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Joy L. Colwell Purdue University, Calumet

visit author page

Joy L. Colwell, J.D., is an Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision and Director of Graduate Studies at Purdue University Calumet. She regularly teaches graduate courses in Leadership and Ethics and the Directed M.S. Project for the M.S. in Technology program at PUC.

visit author page


Jana Whittington Purdue University, Calumet

visit author page

Jana Whittington has a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in instructional design and online learning. Additionally Jana has a M.A. in studio art and humanities, B.F.A. in painting, and A.A. in graphic design. She has taught a variety of courses for 15+ years in fine art, graphics, multimedia, video, web design, and research methods at the graduate, undergraduate and k-12 levels. Jana has had the opportunity to play a key role in the development of a new bachelors degree in the computer graphics program, as well as the development of a game and animation option, two undergraduate certificates in web, design and post graduate animation certificate. Course delivery methods include online, hybrid and traditional delivery and she has been a faculty mentor for distance education. In addition to current tenure teaching assignments, Jana has created e-learning materials for parole and probation officers to be delivered internationally. Jana has an active publication and a grant record.

visit author page


Carl F. Jenks Purdue University, Calumet

visit author page

Carl F. Jenks holds the rank of Professor in the School of Technology at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, Indiana. The courses that he is primarily responsible for teaching are Arbitration, Labor Relations, and Supervision Management. He is listed on the labor arbitration panels of AAA, FMCS, and NMB. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and he has served the Purdue system in both teaching and administrative capacities for over thirty-eight years. Dr. Jenks has academic, industrial, and military supervisory experience and frequently consults on supervisory developmental programs.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Writing Challenges for Graduate Students In Engineering and Technology AbstractGraduate education for most students is the move to deeper exploration of knowledge throughpersonal involvement, primarily through research and writing. Whether through master’s thesisor directed project, many graduate programs in engineering and technology incorporatesubstantial written research-based projects into the curriculum to prepare graduates forprofessional careers or further study at the doctoral level. Students in the engineering andtechnology fields seem to face several challenges in moving to written projects of substantiallength and complexity, whether through more limited experience with written projects or apersonal dislike of the act of writing. In this paper, the authors, who have experience in teachingresearch and writing to master’s level students, explore several issues and techniques for helpingstudents develop as writers, and explore the challenges that students in these fields may face atthe graduate level. Issues addressed include working with international students (English assecond language) and differing undergraduate education in research and writing; the students’love of bullet points, and setting appropriate standards for analytical writing; teaching tone andthe requirements for appropriate academic writing; citation and APA issues; academic honestyand plagiarism education; and techniques from teachers of writing that can work for everyone,including mind mapping or concept mapping. The paper will include some examples of graduatestudent writing, and the techniques used to help students improve as writers.    

Colwell, J. L., & Whittington, J., & Jenks, C. F. (2011, June), Writing Challenges for Graduate Students in Engineering and Technology Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18722

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: © 2011 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