Engineering Education Conversations:
Communication in Capstone

JEE article screenshot Engineering instructors play a crucial role in helping students develop effective communication skills. While Comm-A and Comm-B courses are important foundational learning experiences, students also need reinforcement and development of these skills in other courses and in their work experiences. A recent survey distributed by the Technical Communication Program to COE faculty suggests that engineering and communication instructors share critical values related to teaching communication, and the program would like to explore ways to further support faculty.

At noon on Monday, April 13, Technical Communication Program Director Dr. Laura Grossenbacher will facilitate the next step in that process: a conversation to share ideas about communication instruction in capstone design courses. A starting point for the discussion will be an article by Dr. Marie Paretti, a faculty member at Virginia Tech and formerly of UW-Madison, titled "Teaching Communication in Capstone Design: The Role of the Instructor in Situated Learning." Please join other faculty who teach capstone design courses to discuss the article and share strategies and challenges.

This event is part of a series called Engineering Education Conversations, sponsored by the Engineering Learning Center. These informal discussions are scheduled for noon on the second Monday of each month and will be held in M1012 in the Engineering Centers Building.

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For more information about the ideas in this article:

1) Paretti, Marie C. (2008). Teaching Communication in Capstone Design: The Role of the Instructor in Situated Learning. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(4), 491-503.

Discussion article for the April 13 Engineering Education Conversations event.

2) Christina Daniilidi. (2008). Marie C. Paretti earns National Science Foundation CAREER award for investigating capstone. From Virginia Tech News.

Press release about Paretti's NSF Faculty Early Career Development award, which she earned for her work on capstone design experiences. Paretti earned a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech before completing her Ph.D. work in English at UW-Madison. She is now an Assisstant Professor of Engineering Education and Co-Director of the Virginia Tech Engineering Communication Center.

3) Engineering Education Conversations homepage

Series website includes links to the articles that focus each session's discussion and an email link for suggesting future topics.