Introduction: To present technical content clearly and effectively for global users of English, engineering students need to learn how. About the case: Technical communication classes in Spain and the US engaged in an international telecollaborative project between cross-cultural virtual teams in which students in Spain developed oral presentations that were then peer-reviewed by counterparts in the US. Situating the case: Research on international professional communication and, more specifically, virtual exchange is rapidly growing to explore how instructors can help students gain key competencies such as audience awareness, intercultural sensitivity, and an understanding of English as a lingua franca. Approach/methods: As part of the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project network, this project focused on spoken communication. Data were analyzed from feedback forms used by US students to evaluate oral presentations, and on prelearning and postlearning reports completed by students in Spain, as well as from class discussions accompanying the project. Results/discussion: Through reflections on pragmatic strategies that facilitate exchange and collaboration in English as a lingua franca, the engineering students became more fully aware of the importance of rhetorical and linguistic factors that affect meaning-making for engineers internationally. Conclusion: Results suggest that students who participate in transnational virtual exchange projects integrate their desire to acquire knowledge with an awareness of the importance of sharing knowledge through mindful and inclusive communication practices. Technical and engineering communication instructors from different countries can heighten their students' audience awareness, and cultural and language sensitivities through such projects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial relations
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering