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Using genre theory to teach students engineering lab report writing: a collaborative approach

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1 Author(s)
Walker, K. ; Electr. & Comput. Eng., South Carolina Univ., Columbia, SC, USA

Beginning Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students often have difficulty learning the genre of lab report writing. This difficulty can be alleviated through genre theory strategies and research, which writing center consultants, for example, can use to focus on the specific form and content of engineering writing, which then can be taught to students in a writing center environment. Genre theory provides a means (1) for humanities writing center consultants to learn specific characteristics about engineering writing, (2) for interdisciplinary collaboration between writing professionals and engineers to take place, and (3) for students to have increased opportunities to learn the discourse of their field. All of these benefits are enhanced by discipline-specific writing programs that support and facilitate them. In addition, the collaboration provides a stimulating, fluid, creative environment in which to discuss engineering writing, an environment which reflects the changing needs of engineering education as a result of technological advancements. As technology continues to influence engineering education, prompting evolutions in both technical and communication skills and knowledge, genre theory and interdisciplinary collaboration will continue to gain importance as strategies for initiating students into the communication demands of their field. The discussion focuses on the integration of genre theory with writing instruction in the ECE Department at the University of South Carolina. This integration stimulated interaction among ECE faculty, composition and rhetoric faculty and students, and ECE students

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Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 1 )