Canadian Engineering Education Association CEEA14, Paper 83 Canmore, AB
This paper will focus on Attribute 7, "Communication Skills"-and, specifically, on written assignments. This paper has grown out of two initiatives, one at my institution and one undertaken independently as part of a national study. For the faculty-wide initiative, we are preparing rubrics that can be used throughout the faculty as guidelines for attribute assessment in undergraduate Engineering courses. However, we have little information on Attribute 7; which courses, for example, target
... xample, target Attribute 7 and how is it assessed? What kinds of assignments are students being asked to complete? More broadly, what should we be teaching and assessing if we choose to target Attribute 7 in our outlines? Interestingly, it is the independent national study that may help us in this endeavor. After collecting course outlines from all the Engineering departments, we can first determine which courses target Attribute 7 and then analyze the written course assignments according to 20 identifiable variables, such as length, genre and grading criteria. The challenge will be in calibrating Attribute 7 and our undergraduate program, including the undergraduate communication courses in our school that instantiate Attribute 7. In this paper, we will report on our progress thus far, both in the process of identifying the written assignments our students are being asked to do and in the development of faculty-wide rubrics. Finally, although linking attributes to learning objectives and determining the levels of communicative competence can be very challenging, we hope to show that these two initiatives may help to make the tasks less daunting and more manageable for all the stakeholders in the education of our Engineering students.