The Connections between Engineering Design and Technical Writing in an Integrated Instructional Setting

By William Riddell, Jennifer Courtney, Eric Constans, Kevin Dahm, Roberta Harvey and Paris von Lockette.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Communication and design are two of the most important aspects of engineering practice. Both are open ended problems that require complex thought processes. Both involve reflection and iterations to approach a final solution. Compared to many other aspects of the engineering curriculum, communication and design are difficult for students to master, and difficult for faculty to teach and to assess. In addition to these similarities, having students write about designing fosters a discussion of the design process, allowing conceptual aspects of design to be emphasized. These reasons make an integrated design and communication class particularly effective to teach both subjects. The purpose of this paper is to argue that design and technical writing should be taught in an integrated, project-based setting. First, the paper discusses how this model aligns with the ABET 2000 Engineering Criteria. Then a model for an integrated technical writing and design course that is currently being taught is briefly presented. To assist other institutions in developing similar courses, essential attributes of design projects and deliverables are described. The paper is concluded by posing for discussion and further study several questions regarding how to best integrate design and technical writing.

Keywords: Engineering Design, Technical Writing, Engineering Education, Project Based Learning

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.37-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 580.018KB).

Dr. William Riddell

Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Jennifer Courtney

Assistant Professor, College of Communication, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Eric Constans

Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Kevin Dahm

Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Roberta Harvey

Associate Professor, College of Communication, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Paris von Lockette

Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA


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