Engineers take on Writing: Integrating Technical Writing Instruction Into Second- and Thirdyear Engineering Courses Scott D. Peterson, Department of English Allison Whitney, Electrical and Computer Engineering Eric Beenfeldt, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Maine Key concerns about the writing ability of ECE graduates Communication Type Written Faculty Alumni/Employers Visual Faculty Alumni/Employers Inadequate Adequate More than Adequate 62% 50% 29% 50% 9% 0% 38% 70% 51% 30% 11% 0% Inability to identify critical information, Incorrect grammar or syntax, Poor Organization Imprecise language, Poor readability, Lack of Clarity Inability to summarize, Poor report format, Wordiness Weak analysis, Spelling Inaccurate statements, Poor technical vocabulary Plan for Integrating Technical Communication into ECE Topic Course Assignment Course Writing Process ECE 214 Instructions ECE 214 Audience Analysis ECE 214 Memo ECE 342, 343 Grammar and Style ECE 214, 342 Business Letter Document Design ECE 342 ECE 214, 343 Summarizing Information ECE 342 Resume and Job Application Letter ECE 300 Reporting Information ECE 342 Lab Report Communication of calculations and equations ECE 214, 342 ECE 342, 343 Proposal ECE 401 Visual communication ECE 214, 342 Progress Report ECE 402 Oral Presentation ECE 403 Final Report ECE 403 Abstract ECE 403 Specifications ECE 214, 401 Ethical Issues ECE 300 Incremental Nature of Assignments Course Assignments ECE 214 (spring, sophomore year) summary, analysis, compare & contrast, specifications procedure theoretical analysis business letter short report ECE 342 (fall, junior year) review procedure and theoretical analysis memo reporting results memo presenting discussion ECE 343 (spring, junior year) memo to review discussion business letter to review results two-page persuasive memo lab report Presentation and Workshop Process for ECE Assignments Initial assignment presentation Topic areas (audience analysis, etc.) Strategies for writing assignment ECE provides on-the-job context Review of assignment by ECE and EC ECE evaluates technical content EC comments on technical presentation and style Presentation by ECE and EC in response to assignment EC presents strong and weak examples of student papers ECE on hand to comment on technical and on-the-job aspects Sample Assignment for ECE 214 Sample handout Sample workshop prompt Sample Assignment for ECE 343 Benefits of the new approach and new writing assignments ECE students introduced to and make use of technical communication concepts earlier. Shorter assignments raise quality of student writing and instructor feedback. Scenarios develop professional context and anticipate on-the-job writing situations. Team-teaching reinforces instruction by ECE and English Department faculty.