Resources for teachers: Teaching technical communication at scale

Teaching the kinds of topics outlined in the second half of Explaining the Future can be difficult in an engineering context, especially with large classes. To improve, students need detailed feedback so that they can improve the next time. That takes time, energy, and money. At the IEEE Professional Communication (ProComm) conference in Aachen in July, I presented a paper on this to help other teachers to think about how to go about designing rich, meaningful writing assignments in a practical way. As a result of my experiences at ProComm, I decided it made sense to set up a resource to help teachers of science and engineering students to teach writing. Read More …

Research without the workout

The sulpture at the entrance of the Kresge Engineering Library, in UC Berkeley's Bechtel Building.Though sometimes exciting, my job is more grunt work than glamour. I was recently visiting UC Berkeley and walked by the Kresge Engineering Library. I couldn’t resist going in and having a quick look at this place where I had spent so much time in 1998/1999. This also got me thinking about other libraries where I’d probably spent a day a month: like the Robertson Engineering and Science Library at the University of Edinburgh and the Barker Engineering Library at MIT. It made me realize that, in more than five years back at Imperial College London, I’d probably made it into the library an average of once a year. The reason for the change, of course, is technology. Read More …