Proof of a Concept: Enriching and Promoting Undergraduate Research by Creating a Research Option in a Technical Communication Course

  • Alley, Michael P. (PI)
  • Lo, Jenny J.L. (CoPI)
  • Watford, Bevlee (CoPI)
  • Edmister, Whitney (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Engineering-NEC (59) The Boyer Commission Report has urged universities to 'make research-based learning the standard' for the education of undergraduates. Although many institutions such as the National Science Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Research Council have called for more undergraduate research, incorporating significant research experiences into undergraduate engineering curricula has proven to be challenging. To address this problem, this proof of a concept project is creating a technical communication course for undergraduates who are pursuing a summer research experience. The main modification for this option is to break the course into two segments: a spring segment to prepare the undergraduates for a summer research experience and a fall segment to allow the students to document that research. This course culminates in an undergraduate research symposium, which provides an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of obtaining a research experience and recruit other undergraduates to become part of a research program.

In this study, the investigators are assessing the effect of the course not only on enriching and promoting research experiences for undergraduates, but also on the development of the communication skills of the participants. Writings of students in this modified course are being compared to writings of similar students in traditional technical communication courses.

In essence, the modified course has been designed so that the student participants can maximize the benefits from their summer research experiences. The undergraduates, many of whom are from underrepresented groups in engineering, will be pursuing research experiences not only on-campus, but also off-campus at national laboratories.

Effective start/end date7/1/046/30/07


  • National Science Foundation: $54,000.00


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