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Writing to Learn Engineering: Identifying Effective Techniques for the Integration of Written Communication into Engineering Classes and Curricula (NSF RIGEE project)

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1406.1 - 24.1406.19



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Paper Authors


Cary David Troy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ph.D., Stanford University, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2003)
Assistant Professor, Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering (2007-present)

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Rebecca R Essig Purdue University Orcid 16x16


Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is Assistant Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He is also an Associate Director of Purdue's Global Engineering Program, leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recent recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and professional practice.

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Josh Boyd Purdue University

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Josh Boyd is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Brian Lamb School of Communication.

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Natascha Trellinger Buswell Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Natascha Trellinger is a first year PhD student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her BS in aerospace engineering from Syracuse University. At Purdue, Natascha is a part of the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) and is interested in global teaching and learning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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Writing to Learn Engineering: Identifying Effective Techniques for the Integration of Written Communication into Engineering Classes and Curricula (NSF RIGEE project)As engineering continues to grow as a global career, effective communication in the form oftechnical writing becomes more essential. Professional engineering organizations anduniversities continually list the ability to communicate technical information as a highly soughtattribute in recently-graduated engineers. Unfortunately, numerous logistical challenges preventmany programs from implementing extensive technical writing education within the engineeringcurriculum. These challenges include budgetary constraints, curriculum credit hour reductions,availability of communication expertise, and both student and faculty resistance to the inclusionof communication instruction in engineering programs. This study aims to identify and refineeffective, low-overhead exercises that allow instructors to implement technical writing educationinto technical existing technical courses. These exercises have the benefit of embeddingtechnical communication into the curriculum, with minimal curricular disruption, and in thecontext of the technical material that will ultimately need to be communicated. The projectproposes innovative application of writing interventions that have been proven effective in othercontexts, with the goal of transforming core technical courses in engineering to enhance both thetechnical capabilities and writing skills of participating students. Initial analysis focuses on theimplementation of two technical writing interventions developed and applied to CivilEngineering courses at Purdue University. Preliminary study results will be presented includingstudent demographic assessment, student writing experiences, instructor experiences, andimportant considerations involved with embedding technical communication into engineeringtechnical courses.

Troy, C. D., & Essig, R. R., & Jesiek, B. K., & Boyd, J., & Buswell, N. T. (2014, June), Writing to Learn Engineering: Identifying Effective Techniques for the Integration of Written Communication into Engineering Classes and Curricula (NSF RIGEE project) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22796

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