Developing and Scaling Engineering Communication (EC) for New Engineering Education

Alyson Grace Eggleston, Robert J. Rabb

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

Engineering curricula are being increasingly adapted to foster skillsets in social intelligence, empathy, and professional skills. Revisions to ABET criteria are partly in response to changes in engineering industry culture. Post-graduation, new engineers can expect to function on multidisciplinary teams that may span geographic, cultural, and disciplinary differences. Engineering firms have used remote, international, and hybrid collaborative team structures to be successful during COVID-19, a trend that has gained momentum. Engineering curricula must prepare graduates for this changing workforce dynamic. Aligning the engineering communication curriculum to real-world communication challenges positions engineers-in-training to be adaptive, empathetic, and prepared problem-solvers. The demand for the engineering mindset to grow and develop as problem-solvers, requires additional skills such as entrepreneurship, leadership, and communications. Engineering entrepreneurship and engineering leadership programs have proliferated in recent years. Despite this, there is less emphasis on communication skills and intercultural competence, which are essential for many additional skills. Approaches to STEM curriculum design in Asia include implementing intercultural awareness and communication competencies, as the relationship between employability and professional skills is well studied, adapted, and implementable. This paper proposes a process for building an engineering-focused communications course that can be tailored and scaled to program size and needs. Using needs-based assessments and research-based approaches, this paper aims to improve communication and learning outcomes in engineering curricula. This paper also provides case studies for building an engineering communications (EC) class or embedding assignments that are project-based, industry-informed, and produce measurable improvements in student communications competency if implemented early in the curriculum. In this report, we examine several institutional examples involving the integration of EC into existing engineering programs to support ABET and modern General Education learning outcomes, including modular, co-teaching, and entire course implementations. EC assessments can directly support: cultural awareness, audience awareness, and collaborative teamwork and leadership, as specified in ABET criteria 2, 3, and 5, respectively. Effective EC pedagogy and industry partnerships can be an effective and measurable approach to supporting these criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering

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