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On writing in Engineering (for use in syllabi)

Detailed, accurate, and persuasive writing is crucial in all engineering fields. In fact, Aaron Krawitz, who teaches mechanical and aerospace engineering courses at the University of Missouri, notes that "because of the technical nature of engineering, and the financial and legal consequences, [engineers] might arguably be asked to present more ideas in writing (and verbally) than most graduates of our campus." (Patton et al. 66). The writing required of engineers is not limited to formal design proposals or descriptive lab reports; they also compile and explore ideas, design sketches, and record observations in laboratory notebooks. Organizing ideas in these ways allows engineers to keep track of ideas and communicate them to others. The record of these ideas may be important not only to research in engineering, but also to the patent process.

Sample syllabi in Engineering

Civil Engineering 4101 | Project Management and Economics
Informal writing, proposals, reflective memos, and contract grading

Mechanical Engineering 4054 | Design Projects
Progress memos, design notebooks, team projects

Mechanical Engineering 4431 | Energy Conversion Systems
Lab notebooks and reports, oral presntations

Sample assignments in Engineering 

Mechanical Engineering 2001 | Reflecting on your Index Card Platform
Etudents reflect on their own design solutions and those of their peers

Electrical Engineering 3222 | Course Project
Students design and build a prototype of a machine

Mechanical Engineering 4054 | Design Project Final Report
A broad range of writing considerations (objectives, audience, style, organization, data presentation, collaborative writing)

Civil Engineering / Geology 4301 | Laboratory Assignment
Formal scientific writing (procedure, results, calculations, references), including a cover letter and appendices

Mechanical Engineering 4331 | Informal Lab Report
writing guidelines, instructions, and conventions for informal lab reports

Mechanical Engineering 4331 | Boiling Heat Transfer
specific assignment using informal lab report guidelines

Mechanical Engineering 4331 | Formal Lab Report
writing and content guidelines for writing a formal lab report

Mechanical Engineering 4331 | Natural Convective Heat Transfer from Fins
lab manual assignment that focuses on professional writing

Sample grading rubrics in Engineering

Civil Engineering 4101W | Contract Grading Rubric
Contract rules for students' course grades

Civil Engineering 4101W | Grading Rubrics
Grading rubrics to evaluate individual and collaborative writing

Research strategies in Engineering

The Science and Engineering Library

Civil Engineering Database (American Society of Civil Engineers)

Resources for Authors (American Society of Civil Engineers)

Additional writing resources for instructors in Engineering

Engineers on Writing (Colorado State U.)

"Collaboration, English Composition, and the Engineering Student: Constructing Knowledge in the Integrated Engineering Program" (Arizona State University)

Library Support for Instructors

Additional writing resources for students in Engineering

Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students (Penn State)

Related research in Engineering

"Dealing with Resistance to WAC in the Natural and Applied Sciences" (University of Missouri - Columbia)

"Teaching Collaborative Writing and Peer Review Techniques to Engineering and Technology Undergraduates" (California State University)

Language and Learning Across the Disciplines (LLAD): Engineering Issue (Colorado State University)

works cited

Patton, Martha D., Aaron Krawitz, Kay Libbus, Mark Ryan, and Martha A. Townsend. "Dealing with Resistance to WAC in the Natural and Applied Sciences." Language and Learning Across the Disciplines. 3:1. University of Missouri.