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Abstract

Today's engineering students will work on global projects that are inherently interdisciplinary, whether in business, government, or non-profit sectors. In order to succeed in these settings, we need to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their communication skills in writing, speaking, and visual display of information. These skills are vital to students' success on teams, in project leadership, in program management, and in professional development after graduation. Communication skills are crucial to understanding the professional, ethical, and cultural contexts in which technology development and transfer occur.

This paper will discuss an approach for technical writing in engineering programs that presents information about forms of engineering communication in a clear and accessible format, without reducing the information to templates for filling in the blanks. This format allows for complexity, while also drawing on a traditional and proven body of knowledge from logic. Writers will learn how to produce technical documents based on analysis of audience, purpose, and situation. From this analysis, writers can decide how to employ and modify formulaic documents to best meet their situated needs. Suites of sample workplace documents will be available to students and instructors, enabling students to analyze how people used the various documents to accomplish project objectives. These documents will be organized in a way that tells the story of real world engineering projects. For each project, narration by industrial professionals will walk the user through the steps of managing, completing, and communicating the engineering work done and will deliver key insights into the situated and central nature of communication to the way work gets done.

This paper also provides ideas for teaching engineering students how to analyze workplace situations and relations in order to develop professional technical documents in conventional.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2015.elc2014.39
2015-08-29
2019-11-12
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