Re: Writing Across the Curriculum

Subject: Re: Writing Across the Curriculum
From: lpraderio <lpraderi -at- CLIFF -dot- WHOI -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1993 09:52:39 EDT

---------------------------- Forwarded with Changes ---------------------------
From: philip -at- mtl -dot- cl -dot- nec -dot- co -dot- jp (Philip Bernick) at WHOInet_Post_Office
Date: 3/23/93 10:32AM
To: lpraderio at Post_Office_One
Subject: Re: Writing Across the Curriculum
Just forwarding this message for another net user who has a hard time sending
mail to a BITNET address from his Internet network. I gave him a go-around so
if people need to know a generic way to get your mail from the Internet to
BITNET (like techwr-l -at- osuvm1 -dot- bitnet, if your network group hasn't already set
it up for this to work), just let me know and I'll give you the info.

Laura Praderio
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
lpraderio -at- whoi -dot- edu

Earlier, Vic Strite said:

> I have just joined this list. I have some questions about teaching
> engineering communications (writing, graphics, oral communications).
> Is it better for someone based in an English department (as I am) to
> teach/team teach technical writing in another department as a part
> of an existing course or to help out by a consulting role (offering
> workshops, helping faculty in other disciplines incorporate writing
> into their own courses)? My university has a new core curriculum
> requirement which is very exciting: _all_ students must take two
> writing intensive courses beyond freshman English. I am in a pilot
> project right now, team teaching in materials science and engineering
> with two engineers. It's one model. I'm looking for some advice
> from people with experience with this. I have taught technical
> writing since 1967 but have not plunged in to read all the journals,
> go to conferences--as a professional might. I've been on other
> paths and am now looking for an efficient way to research the
> matter. Maybe this list could help.

At New Mexico State University I helped design a writing course for
our Mechanical Engineering department that used and expanded an
existing engineering laboratory course to also teach technical
writing. This course is briefly described in a paper I presented with
Jacque Snyder at IPCC '92 in Santa Fe, and we found a number of
significant benefits to teaching this way. First, it made the writing
relevent--exercises did not feel so contrived. Second, it challenged
the students to write for those not only in their field, but also
outside it--a sense of audience became important because their writing
wasn't always being evaluated by engineers. It also made it important
for them to learn how to effectively use different tools for
communication--computers, software, graphics, etc. Third, they came
away from laboratory exercises with a better understanding of the
experience--because if they were confused their writing was confused,
and during the revision/rewriting process we could work on these

We were fortunate to have a motivated engineering department to help
us with this, and the results are very encouraging. I'd be happy to
go into more detail with you later, but I'm encouraged to see that
other schools are looking in similar directions. Hope this helps.


--Intoxicating at any magnification, Mandelbrot #5 is a complex
scent... calculated for today's complex woman... more than
mysterious, she's got chaos at her fingertips... mONDO
Philip Bernick philip -at- mtl -dot- cl -dot- nec -dot- co -dot- jp

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