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Report to Outcomes Assessment Committee


									                         Report to Outcomes Assessment Committee
                                   College of Engineering

             2003-2004 Special Alumni Survey Segment on Communications

                             Robert Gustafson & Edward McCaul
                                      August 20, 2004

A five-question, focused survey on written and oral communications for engineers was
completed by 331 2nd, 6th and 15th year College of Engineering alumni during the spring of
2004. Results are summarized in the body of this report across all programs. Each program
has received a spreadsheet of the full data set which can be sorted by program. This report
summarizes the data collected for use by college and program committees. It does not attempt
to make specific recommendation for actions.


Based on results of the previous College of Engineering Alumni Surveys (2nd, 6th and 15th year)
and feedback from other sources, the Outcomes Assessment Committee requested that a
special survey be sent with the regular alumni survey to study the area of written and oral
communications. The goal of the study was to give input to our programs for evaluation of
communications elements in the engineering curriculum. It is related directly to ABET EAC
2003 Criterion 3. (g) an ability to communicate effectively.

An alumni survey was developed with support from the Department of English and the Center
for the Study and Teaching of Writing (See Appendix 1). The survey was designed to address
four main elements. They were:
        1) what types of communication are important and how well prepared students were in
these types,
        2) how well each element of the current curriculum improved written and oral
        3) what types and frequency of post-graduation training are received in written or oral
communications, and
        4) what changes in curriculum would be suggested to improve written and oral

After being reviewed by the Outcomes Assessment Committee the survey was included as an
extra one-page with the 2003-2004 alumni surveys. Surveys were mailed to engineering
alumni of the 2nd (2001), 6th (1997), and 15th (1988) year alumni groups based on addresses
maintained by the Ohio State University Alumni Association. For the special survey segment
331 useable surveys returned. Demographics of the respondents are summarized in Appendix

                               SUMMARY OBSERVATIONS

1. „Technical writing‟, „prepared oral presentation‟, „formal written communications‟, „visual
tools for oral communications‟ and „other oral communications‟ were all rated of relatively
high importance with significant differences between importance and preparation. However,
the difference between importance and preparation was somewhat lower for „technical writing‟
than the other three. „Informal writing‟ and „academic writing‟ were both of lower importance
and had a smaller gap between importance and preparation.

2. Courses in engineering, including the third level writing course, were rated as leading to
improvement in writing more frequently than those outside the college (English 100, XXX
367, and other GEC courses).

3. Courses most frequently mention in written comments as leading to improvement in
communication were dominated by those in the engineering segment of curriculum. Due to
curriculum change, English 304 or 305 was a curriculum requirement of only the 15th year
group. It is important to note that for this year group, the pattern is very different. Fifty
percent (50%) of those responding indicated English 304 or 305 as specifically preparing them
in writing. Within specific programs, selected courses were consistently highlighted, in
particular the Unit Operations course in Chemical Engineering and senior design/project
courses in various programs.

4. For post BS degree training in communications, advanced degrees were mentioned with
some frequency (8% for oral and 6% for written). Seminars and training sessions were
mentioned by 8% for oral and 17% for written.

5. Suggested changes for oral communications were balanced between adding more formal
training (course) and including more opportunity for practice, with a number of specific

6. Suggested changes for curriculum in writing tended to include more specific content or
approach suggestion. Frequently it was suggested that the curriculum should focus on writing
in the context of engineering but including being able to communicate engineering topics to
non-engineering/technical audiences.


Question 1 Please rate the following means of communication activities on the basis of their
importance to you in your professional life and current professional career and how well
you feel OSU prepared you to perform these activities,

Table 1 and Figure 1 below summarizes the data for how all the respondents rated the
Importance, Preparation/Ability. Difference (Importance – Preparation/Ability) was calculated
for each of the listed communications activities. The table orders by mean rating of “How
Important” from most important to least important using the one to five scale as follows:

                      Weight   Importance             Preparation/Ability
                        1      Not Important          Not Prepared
                        2      Somewhat Important     Somewhat Prepared
                        3      Important              Prepared
                        4      Very Important         Well Prepared
                        5      Extremely Important    Very Well Prepared

Table 1. Importance of Communication Activities

                                                   Importance Preparation Difference
        Technical Writing(reports, proposals,
        specifications)                                  4.08          3.21        0.87
        Prepared Oral Presentations                      3.99          2.80        1.19
        Formal Written Communications (letters,
        memoranda)                                       3.99          2.90        1.09
        Visual Tools for Oral Communications
        (Powerpoint, etc)                                3.97          2.76        1.21
        Other Oral Communications                        3.94          2.84        1.10
        Visual Tools for Written
        Communications (graphics, CAD, etc)              3.70          2.66        1.05
        Informal Writing (personal letters, note
        taking)                                          3.51          3.04        0.47
        Academic Writing (expository, research,
        analytical)                                      3.33          3.05        0.27




                                                       lP g




                                                                 ri t

                                                em ri ti n








                                            ad l W






                                      su Ora





                                               ri t















Figure 1. Importance, Preparation and Difference for Communication Activities

„Technical writing‟, „prepared oral presentation‟, „formal written communications‟, „visual tools
for oral communications‟ and „other oral communications‟ were all rated of relatively high
importance with significant differences between importance and preparation. However, the
difference between importance and preparation was somewhat lower for „technical writing‟ than
the other three. „Informal writing‟ and „academic writing‟ were both of lower importance and had
a smaller gap between importance and preparation.

For this question, on average female respondents tended to rate both importance and preparation
slightly higher (+0.14). However, on average difference between importance and preparation
between male and female was only slight (0.08).

Question 2. Please rate the following writing courses on how well they improved your
communication skills.

Table 2 indicates how well respondents rated the improvement in communication skills from each
course or course types currently in the curriculum and listed in the survey. The table orders the
items by mean rating (highest to lowest) given the following scale:

                                   Weight    Improvement
                                     1       Not at all
                                     2       A little
                                     3       Somewhat
                                     4       Quite a bit
                                     5       A great deal

Table 2. Improvement by Courses

                                   Writing Course                         Rating
              Third level writing course in your engineering major         3.36
              Other engineering courses                                    3.10
              Second level writing course – 367 course                     3.09
              English 110 (first level writing course)                     2.84
              GEC/liberal arts courses                                     2.73

Courses in engineering courses, including the third level writing course, were rated as leading
to improvement in writing more frequently than those outside the college (English 110, XXX
367, and GEC/liberal arts courses).

Male student tended to see the writing courses (English 110, Second level writing and Third
level writing) as slightly more important than females (+0.37), while females tended to see the
importance of courses in the „other engineering courses‟ and „GEC/liberal arts courses‟ as
slightly more important than males (+0.22).

Question 3. What OSU course(s), if any, helped prepare you specifically for the follow:
   Oral communication?
   Written Communication?

Content of the written responses to this question (All comments are listed in Appendix 3) were
categorized by the report authors into eight (8) courses or course categories. Multiple
responses from each individual were allowed in this category. Course or courses were listed
by 36% of the respondents for the oral category and 45% of the respondents for the written
category. Results by the eight summary categories are displayed in Table 3 and Figure 2.

Table 3. What OSU courses(s), if any, helped prepare you for communications?

                                                                             (15th yr
                             OSU Courses helped?          Oral    Written     only)
                             None or Blank                212      182         62
                             English 110                   2        25         10
                             XXX 367                       7        18          1
                             English 304&5                 1        23         20
                             Other GEC                     6        15          2
                             Engineering Curriculum       111       98         12
                             Other Courses                 9         9          2
                             Extra Curr/Coop/Other         6         4          1


             No. Responses





















                                                     r r/






                  Figure 2. Courses Preparing for Oral and Written Communications

Courses most frequently mention were dominated by those in the engineering curriculum.
Due to curriculum change, English 304 or 305 was a curriculum requirement of only the 15th
year group. It is important to note that for this year group, the pattern is very different. Fifty
percent (50%) of those responding indicated English 304 or 305 course as specifically
preparing them in writing. Within specific programs selected courses were consistently
highlighted, in particular the Unit Operations course in Chemical Engineering and senior
design/project courses in various programs.

Question 4. Describe any course or formal training you have taken since graduation to
improve your writing or oral communication skills?

Table 4 summarizes the responses to this question. Multiple responses per respondent were
recorded. Responses were put into five categories. All the responses are shown in Appendix

                   Q4. Course or Training since Graduation
                                                       Oral      Written
                   None or Blank                       281        264
                   Adv. Degree - Engineering             5          3
                   Adv. Degree- MBA or Law              11         11
                   Adv. Degree - Unk or Other            9          7
                   Seminar or Training Sessions(s)      25         56

Advanced degrees were mentioned with some frequency in response to this questions (8% for
oral and 6% for written). Seminars and training sessions were mentioned by 8% for oral and
17% for written, implying only a small percent received formal training post BS degree.

Question 5. What changes would you make to OSU’s curriculum to improve oral and
written communication skills and make our students better prepared?

Table 5 summarizes the responses to this question. Multiple responses per person were
allowed. Responses were placed in five categories. All comments are included as Appendix 5.

Table 5. Suggested Changes for Oral and Written Curriculum

                                                          Oral       Written
             None or Blank                                172         212
             Add Formal Class                              49          29
             More Within Current Courses (General)         49          13
             Course Content or Approach Suggestions        48          68
             Involve Group or Teamwork                     13           0
             Other                                         14          25

Of the respondents, 48% made suggestions relative to improvement of curriculum for oral
communications and 36% related to written. Suggested changes for oral communications were
balanced between adding more formal training (course) and including more opportunity for
practice, with a number of specific suggestions for approach. Suggested changes for
curriculum in writing tended to include more specific content or approach suggestion.
Frequently it was suggested that the curriculum should focus on writing in the context of
engineering but including being able to communicate engineering topics to non-
engineering/technical audiences. The following is a summarization of responses common to
both categories and within written and oral.

  1. Formal training and then practical application; teach principles and then apply
  2. Teach how to properly interface visual graphics into written and oral communications
  3. Communication with non-engineering audiences

Written Specific
   1. Include a technical writing class in the curriculum
   2. Include a business writing class in the curriculum (less recommended than a technical
       writing class)
   3. Include practical writing exercises in engineering classes
   4. Make writing assignments more “real world” (examples - proposals, papers for
       journals, argumentative papers, specifications)
   5. Teach how to properly include graphics in a written report
   6. Teach how to write a good e-mail message
   7. Teach how to write to non-engineering/science audience
   8. Teach how to write concise reports.

Oral Specific
   1. Include a speech class in the curriculum (examples - public speaking, debate)
   2. Require oral presentations to be given in class
   3. Teach how to include graphics in an oral presentation
   4. Use real world examples for oral presentations (examples - proposals, analysis, non-
       engineering types)
   5. Keep oral presentations short and within the time guidelines (as required in the “real

                                  LIST OF APPENDICES

       Appendix 1 – Survey Form
       Appendix 2 – Demographics of Respondents
       Appendix 3 - Question 3 Responses – OSU Course(s)
       Appendix 4 – Question 4 Responses – Training Since Graduation
       Appendix 5 – Question 5 Responses – Suggested Changes

Appendix 1 - Survey Form Communication Survey

We are studying ways to improve the communication aspects of the College of Engineering’s
curriculum. Our previous alumni surveys have indicated to us how important communication
is to our graduates. We want your thoughts on how we can better prepare our future
graduates in this area. Please take a few more minutes to respond to this short survey.

1. Please rate the following means of communication activities on the basis of their
importance to you in your personal life and current professional career and how well you feel
OSU prepared you to perform these activities:
                                           Importance                              Preparation/Ability



                                                                         Very Well








Academic writing (expository,
research, analytical)
Technical writing (reports,
proposals, specifications)
Formal written communication
(letters, memoranda)
Informal writing (personal letters,
note taking)
Prepared oral presentations
Other oral communication
Visual tools for written
communication (graphics, CAD,
Visual tools for oral
communication (Powerpoint,

2. Please rate the following writing courses on how well they improved your communication
                                                           Not at all


                                                                                    A great
                                                                                    Quite a
                                                                        A little


                    Writing Course

English 110 (first level writing course)
Second level writing course – 367 course
Third level writing course in your engineering major
Other engineering courses
GEC/liberal arts courses

3. What OSU course(s), if any, helped prepare you specifically for the following:

         Oral communication?

         Written communication?

4. Describe any courses or formal training you have taken since graduation to improve your
writing or oral communication skills?


Oral Communication

5. What changes would you make to OSU’s curriculum to improve oral and written
communication skills and make our students better prepared?

         Oral communication skills:

         Written communication skills:

Appendix 2 – Demographics of Respondents

Respondents by Year Group

           Year Group           Survey            Surveys    % Returned
                               Distributed        Returned
           2nd (2001)              596              133         22
            6th (1997)             475               96         20
           15th (1988)             715              102         14
               Total              1786              331         18

Demographics of Respondents

Total Number Returned
Gender         Male                   263
               Female                  68
Ethnic         African-American         4
               Asia-American           11
               Caucasian              291
               Native-American          4
               Hispanic-American        7
               Foreign (non-US cit)     6
               Other                    8
Program        Aero                    17
               Aviation                 0
               Ceramic                  7
               Chemical                40
               Civil                   45
               Civil/environmental      8
               CSE                     19
               ECE-elec                33
               ECE-comp                 5
               Physics                  2
               FABE                    17
               Geomatics                0
               ISE                     47
               MSE                      3
               ME                      62
               Metallurgical            9
               Surveying                3
               Welding                 14

Appendix 3 – Question 3 Responses – OSU Course(s)

          Q 3 – What OSU course(s), if any, helped prepare you specifically for the following:
            Oral Communications                                  Written Communications
None. This was a skill I had to acquire via        Basic English courses formed the basis. Written
experience                                         communication from MBA curriculum is really
                                                   required for basic success.
Can't remember the course number but it was an     2nd level technical writing class, can't remember if
engineering elective class that required a         it was offered through engineering dept or English
presentation of your summer intern job/project.    dept.
Senior project - presentation                      engineering writing
                                                   technical writing English 304
                                                   technical writing class
none                                               technical writing
don't remember                                     freshman English
Senior level ISE (610?) We worked on teams
w/local business & then presented
recommendations to faculty. Best class!
                                                   thesis & dissertation
None, I had to develop a consistent professional   None, I had to develop a consistent professional
style once I entered into the work force.          style once I entered into the work force. Luckily, I
Luckily, I had mentors @ each job to help          had mentors @ each job to help develop the skill.
develop the skill.
Industry experience teachers at OSU need to
graduate level classes in welding eng.             tech writing & welding eng lab reports
I cannot think of one                              unit operations in chem eng?
16 yrs ago - hard to remember
none                                               physics & chemistry lab, aero/astro labs
                                                   technical writing my senior year
sr. project                                        sr. project, technical writing
cannot remember many that required oral            all of the engineering labs and reports. English 110
presentations                                      because all my papers were technical.
                                                   technical writing
none                                               business & technical writing course, can't recall
                                                   course #
CIS 541, 560                                       History 151
physics 367
cis 560                                            cis 560
none really, I remember two oral presentations,    English 110 and 367, you have to make the effort.
that's it. English 367 if I had to choose.         In other words, go to the teacher for critique! Very
Computer ethics course - did a debate in class     cis 560
EG 166 - oral presentation                         lower level CE classes - don't remember the #'s,
                                                   they made us prepare written reports.

courses within engineering program that required   None, really my best training came from work
presentations as a summary for a large project.    outside of school (co-op)
However, my best training came away from
school (co-op)
can't remember                                     can't remember
none                                               technical writing, some EE courses
Senior design. What helped me the most with        Professional development (I think AgEng 695)
my writing/oral communication skills (10x more
than all courses combined) was being a writer &
editor for the Ohio State Engineer student
senior yr. metallurgical eng.                      engineering/technical writing course (I took my
Seminar/presentation (do not remember the          senior year-do not remember the course #)
course #)
                                                   CE 405 (I took all GEC's at CSCC)
team presentations throughout the courses were     very little helpful coaching/practice here (by
helpful                                            corporate America standards)
n/a                                                none come to mind
unit ops                                           unit ops
Air Science courses for AFROTC, Gateway            can't remember course titles
CE technical writing, bridge competition, MS       Engineering graphics, MS Excel class
Excel class
speech course                                      English & GEC's
Unit operations, English 367 (to some degree),     Unit Operations, undergraduate research (especially
AlChE Officer, Undergraduate Honor Research        honors research), English 110 & 367

Courses for communication are important, but I     English 110, 367, technical writing are very
never took one before                              important
none taken                                         the only courses that come to mind are those listed
                                                   on the previous side, English 110, 2nd level writing
                                                   course 367, & 3rd level writing course

Design labs w/partners
Senior group project
none                                               English 110, technical writing
none                                               English 110
none                                               English, literature (reports)
none                                               English 110
none                                               none
                                                   Chem Eng - unit ops
none - this was developed through student and      none - fortunately I was prepared in high school
non student activities                             before attending Ohio State
none                                               tech writing
General engineering, Chem E Group Labs, Chem
Unit ops, senior design                            senior design, tech writing

business communication                                engineering graphics, business communication

The foreign language series, taking in front of a
Classes that require presentations to the class -     The transportation classes taken in my last 2
Engineering Graphics?                                 quarters were a big help.
Many courses                                          Humanity courses (history & literature) & Social
                                                      Sciences (Econ 2nd yr writing course)
ChE 630 unit operations                               ChE 630 unit operations
                                                      History 151, 152
                                                      my thesis
                                                      English 110
Upper level software project classes - I forgot the   English 110
senior design classes using a single project,         didn't take any at OSU
w/progress reports & presentations throughout
the quarter.
English 367                                           English 110 & 367
Unit ops lab                                          unit ops lab, engl 110
Very few! This was a weakness in my                   ME labs, English 110
                                                      Technical writing course in English dept. The
                                                      ceramic engineering labs, course numbers were
                                                      451.xx series, were most helpful
air force rotc classes                                English 110, engineering lab classes requiring
ME 570                                                ME 570
The 1xx, 3xx English course. The units ops            The 1xx communications course. The units ops
course                                                course
None!                                                 None!
2nd English                                           history papers
EE 582, 682                                           EE 582, 682, Comp studies ?
Art education                                         ChE lab, Art education
Not much                                              I can't remember specific classes, but having mock
                                                      proposals and project oriented correspondence
                                                      helped. These types of items should be increased
Senior ME design courses (ME 580). Honors             None in engineering-expectations were very low-I
project courses                                       have an English degree also, and this is where I got
                                                      real instruction (critical writing)
AG 597                                                Ag comm 367
senior project courses                                senior project courses
freshman honors project was helpful as were
other project courses
EE senior project class                               EE senior project class
                                                      economics 367, reports in hydrology series
ME 570, ME 564, ME 581                                ME 570
None                                                  None
Defending my senior thesis                            writing a senior thesis

somewhat in EE 582/682                             somewhat in EE 582/682
                                                   4th year technical writing class offered some, but
                                                   very little preparation
not much                                           lab reports
senior chem e. design projects                     technical writing - incredibly valuable course
very little                                        very little
                                                   technical writing
some ISE courses, senior project                   n/a
Women's Studies 201
                                                   Unit Ops & the design courses
Third level writing course in ChE                  unit ops
none                                               none
none                                               women's studies
EE 582/682                                         none
Chemical engineering unit operations               Chemical engineering unit operations
cannot recall                                      cannot recall
Basic presentation class ?505?
Journalism                                         none
The third level writing course was the only        The third level writing course was the only
preparation                                        preparation
giving presentations in general                    English
MSE 695, senior project presentation               MSE 610?, very 1st MSE lab - first exposure to
                                                   technical writing
                                                   senior classes - cannot name
ChE 630, theatre 367.01                            History 151/152, ChE 762/764, ChE 630, Chem
ME 564/581                                         ME 570/571/564/581

ME 564, 581, 502                                   ME 564, 515, 581, 502
                                                   I took an elective on Shakespeare that was a good
can't remember                                     can't remember
courses where you had to present something -
last year ME design class
Final design project course series (senior year)   Lab course series (senior year)
none                                               Ag Comm 367
Senior project course (Dr. Mobley), in which we    Dr. Rigney's lab courses required professional lab
had to present our project & answer questions      reports
ME - project (senior) group                        ME 570
AAE senior design                                  AAE Tech lab
                                                   I earned a BA in English and a BS in Engr. The
                                                   engr. Track is not adequate to learn the skills one

Engineering labs that required presentations to    The Mat Science, Ceramic, Metal labs were
include senior project.                            excellent for tech. writing
Senior honors thesis seminar. Senior design        ME 570
none remembered                                    Summer ops lab
don't remember                                     Art Educ 367
EE 582, 682                                        EE 582, Eng 367.01
senior design (ChE) but should have been           senior design (ChE) but should have been included
included earlier in curriculum                     earlier in curriculum

none other than listed
senior project                                     labs (especially the 1st one w/Dr. Kreidler
Senior design. ISE Engineering Economics           Psychology
Believe it or not Psychology 100                   English 100
Throughout my degree, various courses required     All of the materials science lab courses emphasize
presentation and oral communication skills.        the importance of technical writing

senior design                                      the ME tech writing course (w/lab)
MSE 685, MSE 699, Music 140, all of my             2nd & 3rd level writing, all engineering labs,
ROTC classes                                       ROTC classes, English literature (Shakespeare)
none                                               Eng 110, 367, Eng writing
ME ??? Can't remember, but at the end of course    Lab's were to in depth on report writing. Should
we had to do presentation on senor or system and   learn how to make 1 to 2 page summary's with
how it worked. Capstone class also, taken last     pictures and illustrations
                                                   I had an English minor, and my advanced English
                                                   classes helped
senior design project                              senior design project
most jr or sr engineering courses had a            most jr or sr engineering courses had a requirement
requirement for writing or presentations.          for writing or presentations.

unit operations lab & senior design                unit operations lab, P-Chem lab

                                                   Unit ops
our engineering design course
senior design course, Dr. Ward's soil & water      Senior design for report writing. I do not remember
course                                             any engineering course for letter writing
ME 565 - frequent oral presentations on progress   ME 570 Lab - lengthy detailed reports were
of design project                                  required which made written communication easier
                                                   in the future.
305 technical writing                              305 technical writing
class presentations example EG 166, EG 167,        all lab classes such as Chem 121, 125, English 110
ISE 501, etc
ISE senior project                                 ESL program
MSE senior design classes                          MSE lab classes 521.02, 541.02
capstone project in ISE                            Capstone project in ISE (2 quarter course)
senior design class                                3rd level writing class

ise 608                                             ISE 500 & 608
Unsure of the WE course number but it was a
senior design project
senior level courses were good                      none until grad school
my participation in the ME honors program           my first year English course (110)
I took part in ugrad research. My defense was the   Liberal arts courses, specifically 2nd year writing
best prep I had but next to that unit operations    game me the strongest writing tools. Engineering
lab is next.                                        papers typically focused on content instead of
ME 564, ME 581, ISE 564? (project mgmt)             ME 564, 566, 570, 571, 581, 481, 482, 512

Senior ME project. We had to present weekly to      Senior ME project. ME 570
a group on our progress in a formal setting.
None                                                Third writing course in engineering major was one
                                                    of the most important classes I took.
several ISE major courses stressed individual       can't remember
and group presentations, all were helpful!
None specific - any that required a group           Mostly the later laboratory classes, where the
presentation on a project, such as capstone         reports had to be formatted by us and weren't just
                                                    answers to a list of questions
ME senior design series                             ME 570 & 571
ME 570                                              ME 570 and others
ME 482 design project/presentation, ME 565          ME 481, 482, 570, 571. Labs prepared for technical
worked on teams/presentations                       writing
Group oriented project courses in my major          Unit operating lab
none come to mind                                   technical writing
3rd level writing course in major w/breeding        CIS 560
don't recall                                        don't recall
None because in the real world people ask a lot     ME Labs (somewhat)
of questions after seeing any type of
presentation. At OSU, questions were minimal.
ISE senior project course                           Ag comm 367
None                                                The Technical writing requirement in Welding
                                                    engineering is to short and poorly taught for today's
None                                                English
                                                    Technical Writing
No courses that I took were geared toward           Philosophy courses; other courses requiring
improving oral communication skills.                research papers or essay-style testing.
                                                    English 305-Technical Communication
Don't recall numbers, but those that required       Senior project.
presentations in front of the group.
ISE 508.01-508.02                                   ISE 500, ISE 573
ISE Senior Project Courses                          Finance, Marketing, ISE 500 (Technical Report
                                                    Writing was one topic, ISE Senior Project Course

Speech                                              ???
                                                    Various team projects within the context of ISE
The Senior project really helped in learning
communication (presentations & formal write-
All ISE courses helped me learn how to make a       None...writing about mythology does not help me
powerpoint presentation effective.                  explain to a customer like Honda why the price of
                                                    their products are increasing over time.
ISE 608 - Senior Design project                     ISE 608 - Senior Design project
ISE 500 - Intro. to ISE                             other various ISE classes that required technical
other various ISE classes that required technical   papers/projects
First ISE course with Dr. Miller                    Senior project along with first ISE course with Dr.
ISE 608.01 & 608.02 - Feedback during report        See above
outs on graphics / content of presentation was
valuable (i.e. font size, color selection, etc)
All of Prof. Al Miller's classes focused heavily    The Final 2 term project - and the project report
on presentations, and were excellent for teaching   were probably the best learning tool for writing.
.ppt etc.
Most ISE department courses included group          Again, ISE department courses provided many
projects and presentations which provided the       opportunities to develop and practice written
opportunity to practice teamwork and oral           communication skills and were a tremendous
presentations.                                      benefit professionally.
Senior project course with team (last 2 quarters    senior project course
of major) - i forget the course number also, ISE
532,533 - lots of presenting/powerpoint
Intro to ISE, Final Project, almost every ISE       All ISE classes
class provided some instruction and experience
in oral comms
3rd level writing courses (all 3 classes), other    English 110, 367, 3rd level writing classes
major classes
ISE Senior project course.                          ISE Senior project course.
ISE500                                              ISE500, ENG367
I believe that the biggest help in oral
communication was throughout many of the ISE
classes in which we were placed in teams to
come up with various solutions.
ISE 532, ISE 533, ISE 608.01, ISE 608.02            ISE 500, 367 courses
Welding Engineering Capstone course.                MSE 542.01 Laboratory and technical writing.
                                                    This course provided the best development of how
                                                    to describe an experimental set-up, perform the
                                                    collection of relevant data, and summarize meaning
Senior project class.                               Senior project class.
Senior project                                      All courses that required a lab report.
Senior project                                      every class

Appendix 4 - Question 4 Responses – Training Since Graduation

Q 4 – Describe any courses or formal training you have taken since graduation to improve your writing
or oral communication skills.
                      Writing                                                Oral
Efficient Writing for Engineers taught by Pro
Write Inc. in Westerville, OH 4 week course
                                                    Facilitation Training - training course focused on
                                                    facilitating group/team discussions.
Ohio certified public managers program              Ohio certified public managers program
business classes in MBA program @ Miami Univ speech & presentation classes in MBA program @
                                                    Miami Univ
none                                                none
none                                                none
Just constant practice @ work. Seeing what          More presentations required. Practice and
worked & making it better.                          criticism are what improved me!
                                                    2 day course on public speaking
Barron's Educational Series on Grammar:             practice, practice, practice
Business communication
Personal Communications Course - How to write       Make all eng. Students prepare & deliver a
effectively, concisely, emphasize points,           presentation.
                                                    require speaking classes
attended law school at Akron Univ for 3 yrs         became a naval officer for 4 yrs active duty
MBA school at Rice                                  MBA school at Rice, company training,
                                                    AMA presentation skills course
none                                                none
all MBA classes required 1-2 term papers per        All MBA classes required at least one formal
course & spelling and grammar counted               presentation
                                                    Decker Effective Communication - 2 day course
                                                    on oral communication and presentations
regular posting to
none                                                none
n/a                                                 n/a
none-everyday practice                              none-everyday practice
my graduate advisor @ OSU was outstanding in        in grad school - 2 courses on teaching teachers:
terms of preparing me for academic writing          AgEd 631 and Ag Engr 810
none                                                none
my company produced a technical writing manual
and had a week long training seminar for all
MBA program                                         MBA program
MBA - several reports for management course         MBA - program includes many team projects
                                                    w/reports/power point presentations

Human Resources, Financial Management -                Macro Economics, Organizational Behaviour -
graduate level classes to prepare for MBA reports      graduate level classes to get MBA, giving
                                                       Dale Carnegie courses
tools for technical writing, using word for writing    read some articles, a 1/2 day workshop through
                                                       work, taking a class this year
I really think technical writing is extremely          important
important. I think I ought have to take some
English courses/technical writing after my
I have not taken any courses in writing or oral        I have not taken any courses in writing or oral
communications.                                        communications.
company standards for report writing                   interpersonal communication, how to manage
                                                       people, project management - all focus on
                                                       managing change, diversity and problems
none                                                   Six Sigma training requires oral presentation to
                                                       group of technical/statistical information usually
                                                       with pointers & critique from instructors
Qualitative Research - graduate level education
statistics course through Ashland Univ
                                                       My company required a class in public speaking
none                                                   Dale Carnegie Course, Presentation Skills
                                                       Training, Assertiveness Seminar, Facilitator Skills
                                                       Dale Carnegie, Toastmasters
Multiple MBA classes (Purdue)                          Multiple consulting courses, MBA - entrepreneur
                                                       class (Purdue), Toastmasters Speaking Club
                                                       Presentation - local class on general presentation
                                                       "Powerful Presentations" - offered at my job for
                                                       prof development
technical writing                                      oral communications, public speaking (to media)
                                                       Communication skills for women - the objective
                                                       was to teach women how to communicate more
                                                       effectively as a professional and to learn to control
                                                       our emotions at work in order to achieve goals.
                                                       Effective Material Presentations, focuses on use of
                                                       powerpoint to show data, not actual derived
                                                       opinions (that‟s what you talk about at the
                                                       Speech/oral presentation - give impromptu
                                                       Criminal interview training
                                                       Presentations Interpersonal Skills - 2 day intensive
                                                       workshop, many presentations
                                                       stay active in extracurricular activities

M51 Canterbury-writing for impact, Business            Karrass-Effective Negotiating, Business
Communications at Mars                                 communications at Mars
In law school                                          In law school
PhD, journal publication, professional articles        PhD consulting
on the job                                             on the job, seminars & trade shows
                                                       dale carnegie management course
preparing for seminar presentations. Trial by fire-    Preparing for seminar presentations
on the job
                                                       powerpoint training
seeing examples of good writing has helped             mostly improved through practice, weekly
                                                       research presentations, and presentations at
                                                       volunteer activities where public speaking is
Burger Writing - focuses on clear, straight forward
writing for business
self taught                                            Speaking for success, Negotiating w/suppliers
MBA classes, case studies                              MBA classes
professional seminars                                  professional seminars, toastmasters
tech. writing refresher                                presentations
MBA at Fisher                                          Toastmasters, MBA at Fisher
Tech writing/presenting - writing spec's and           presenting design reviews
presenting design reviews
                                                       Sandles Sales Training - teaches a person how to
                                                       listen better and ask questions that get answers a
                                                       person needs to make correct decisions.
                                                       presentation class
                                                       Seminar on business communication & strategies
                                                       on working in peer groups
None, I'm too busy generating bullshit to take the     I've taken classes at 3 employers on how to give
course                                                 presentations. I've also taken S. Covey's "Habits"
                                                       courses and other "emotional intelligence" type
                                                       courses on how to be nice to people and work in
Thesis and abstract proposal with peer review          Conference presentations
Law school                                             Law school
Earned MS in EE from New Mexico State                  Thesis defense preparation
University. Improved written skills during thesis
none                                                   none
none - learned as career developed                     none - learned as career developed
on the job                                             on the job
graduate research, thesis writing                      prepared and gave a talk at a conference during
                                                       grad school
none                                                   none

On the job training in the AF. I have to write pro-     Academic Instructor School (USAF), USAF
level correspondence on a daily basis, effecting all    Fundamentals of Acquisition, Joint Air Ops
ranks.                                                  Planning Course (JAOP), Instructor school is a
                                                        formal structured course where presentation &
                                                        lesson plan skills are developed. JAOP &
                                                        Acquisition schools are considered professional
                                                        development for promotion
Technical writing - focused on the basics,
sentence structure, proper word usage, etc
(elementary school stuff) It was a good class!
                                                        Dale Carnegie training
                                                        internal corporate class "Making Oral Technical
technical writing @ NC State University                 Pryor seminars on effective oral communication

technical writing class through employer                private tutoring through employer
graduate thesis                                         graduate thesis presentation
Took a writing seminar, although it didn't teach
me any different information or tactics
                                                        Personalysis - understanding your personality
                                                        profile and how to best interact and communicate
                                                        to others with differing profiles. Excellent course.
technical writing
none                                                    Cultural awareness communication (different
                                                        people like different forms/methods of
Presentation skills; Communication classes              Many writing courses (> 10). I went so far as to
                                                        hire a technical writer to work with my engineers
                                                        and myself.
MBA                                                     MBA
Air Force Test Pilot School                             Air Force Test Pilot School
MBA curriculum,                                         MBA curriculum,
Dale Carnegie                                           none
None - But allot of practice. Several managers          None - But allot of practice. We are constantly
and employees in my group have found                    developing requirements specifications, design
toastmasters to be quite helpful. Presenting in         specifications, performance specifications. We
front of department personnel, conferences, and         have learned how to improve our documentation
trade shows are other means of practicing.              over the years by listening to each other and
                                                        making the necessary improvements to our
                                                        process to deliver documentation that meets our
Dale Carnegie
                                                        Masters program
The book Minto Pyramid Principle is an excellent        The book Minto Pyramid Principle is an excellent
source for both oral and written communication          source for both oral and written communication
methods.                                                methods.
None...trial and error.                                 None.

                                                   Effective Communication for Leaders: Course
                                                   provided a tool to organize thoughts for oral
                                                   communication in order to insure the intended
                                                   message is transmitted.
N/A                                                N/A
All within my company training - Memo writing      All within my company training - Managing the
                                                   Message, Effective Presentations
Johns Hopkins Systems Engineering MS program       Johns Hopkins Systems Engineering MS program
classes                                            classes

Company Training (Leadership on Paper - Procter    Company Training (Marketing Communication
& Gamble course)                                   Seminar - Procter & Gamble course)
                                                   Landmark Education (External, private
                                                   communication training)
Business writing
None. I was well prepared.                         Employer sponsored management and
                                                   professional training courses.

Appendix 5 – Question 5 Responses – Suggested Improvements

    Question 5 – What changes would you make to OSU‟s curriculum to improve oral and written
                   communication skills and make our students better prepared?
           Oral communication skills                           Written communication skills
More oral reports in various classes to get          More business/proposal type writing assignments.
students comfortable presenting to their peers.
Encourage more presentations of lab                  Maybe a third level or additional second level
work/projects.                                       technical writing class focused on organizing one's
                                                     thoughts, being concise but clear, grammar, etc.
Training in leading group discussions. Keeping       Formal reporting: Accident, project
on topic                                             status/summary, requests for funding
have them take a speech & presentation class
more oral communication required in engineer         more technical writing classes
classes. I do not think speech class helps.
more hands on group communication                    none
More writing required. Practice and criticism are
what improved me!
The project courses could be very valuable for       The project courses could be very valuable for both
both but at the time I went through them they        but at the time I went through them they needed to
needed to be freshened up. The process &             be freshened up. The process & projects were too
projects were too stale - done too many times -      stale - done too many times - to be challenging
to be challenging enough to warrant better           enough to warrant better communication.
I think internships should be strongly               I recommend internships or alliances with
recommended and work done during the                 companies local to OSU. Engineers should be
internships would improve oral communication         assigned a project with the company that they are
skills.                                              required to generate a report when completed.
                                                     Students should receive credit for the work
teach eng. Students how to write reports,
informal memos, etc., similar to what they will
be required to produce after graduation.

tech presentations                                   learn how to do a technical presentation -
                                                     short/concise/to the point & in 1 page
require 1 or 2 class presentations in front of 20+
Have a one quarter class that emphasizes             additional assignments that emphasize written
presentation skills/technical presentations/slide    reports.
preparation/audience analysis. More senior level
project presentations in normal classes.
Be sure they are capable of the latest
presentation tools & have opportunities to make
plenty of presentations

learn the importance of communicating in a team        learn to write short letters; ie to a committee or to
atmosphere with a positive tone                        co-workers
set aside time in each class at least once per         include spelling & grammar as part of the grade,
quarter where students are required to get up and      even if the course is technical.
present, even if it's only a matter of taking a turn
at working & explaining a problem.
classes that require the students to provide oral      All of the engineering labs: mech, elec, metal,
presentations. Classes that require the student to     chemistry, physics, & welding eng are very good
explain and educate the class about a specific         and must be continued.
subject or equipment.
Utilize case study methods like business schools.      Utilize case study methods like business schools.
Require psychology class covering interpersonal        Require psychology class covering interpersonal
sensitivity and group dynamics.                        sensitivity and group dynamics.
Integrate public speaking and presenting into the      Integrate the work of Edward Tufte (e.g. The Visual
curriculum, but deemphasize the importance of          Display of Quantitative Information) into a
power point.                                           technical writing course.
need much more oral communication practice,            encourage enrollment in humanities courses to be
public speaking classes, encourage participation       spread out through college, not to take all at one
in public seminar                                      time which seems to happen
I'm not sure here. I had to learn to be as             Make students aware that in order to improve they
prepared as I needed to be. To present                 must be proactive. I went to my professors to gain
information you should know it forward and             constructive criticism.
backward. It should just be easy then.
more oral presentations                                none, job well done by OSU.
A class on oral presentations would have been          Have more classes include some type of written
helpful. Maybe incorporate utilizing powerpoint        report and maybe one of the lower level classes
for the presentation and some basic knowledge          should show the proper way to prepare a technical
of these programs.                                     report.
Require or offer a course on public speaking.          More emphasis on technical writing within
Could be offered as an alternative to a 2nd            engineering curriculum. Probably would be most
writing course, which didn't help me very much         effective within major. Everyone should be
with writing ability                                   responsible for their own work (not to be done as
                                                       part of a group).
Junior & senior year projects to be presented to       Provide raw data in spreadsheet, fill the spreadsheet
class                                                  w/miscellaneous items, present a scope for a (PER)
                                                       Preliminary Engineering Report, have them
                                                       (students) go to it in pairs. Encourage them to
                                                       present exhibits for what equipment components
                                                       they are proposing. Calculations should be
                                                       presented in appendices, and flow diagrams,
                                                       GAWT checks etc should be included. Also, make
                                                       a specification/contract administration course

bring in oral/written communication skills            Build throughout curriculum (take on comm.
prominently in freshman engineering programs          Intensive course per yr for 4 yrs-culminate in senior
(as well as teamwork & project management) -          design/capstone). Teach the art of communication
teach the principles vs throwing them into these      the same way one teaches the art of engr design.
situations.                                           Encourage students to do hands on (UG research,
                                                      the Ohio State Engineer Magazine, graphic
                                                      design=interships, service learning and/or other
                                                      work with community) projects with a significant
                                                      communication component-send them to
                                                      professional meetings to present, compete in design
                                                      competitions, to present proposals for engineering
                                                      work, etc. Give course credit (design elective if
                                                      they do engr design). Designate students who have
                                                      completed significant comm. skills appropriately on
                                                      their transcript/diploma.
speech class that is not necessarily related to
engineering, but basic presentation and speaking.
I suggest a "toastmasters" type of class to
prepare students for delivering oral
Since most of us go to corporate America have         Since most of us go to corporate America have the
the evalautions based on what corporate America       evaluations based on what corporate America
judges as important (not what people who have         judges as important (not what people who have
never worked in corporate America think is            never worked in corporate America think is
important)                                            important)
make sure students don't rely on email to
communicate w/prof, TA, etc. Being able to
make your point in person is far more important
and effective than firing off emails.
More presentations to practice -- formal study
can only go so far.
add a communications class to the curriculum
For both oral/written comm, include more group
projects that include reports and/or presentations.
As a freshman, I was in Gateway, a year long
engineering design project w/a report and PPT.
I'm not sure if it exists anymore, but is was a
terrific experience. I think a quarter long (or
more) group design project w/ a faculty advisor
would be a good addition to the CE program.
Involve more teamwork in classes. Solve               I didn't have any AutoCad classes during my tenure
problems together & write reports together. Give      at OSU. It cost me a job in Columbus at Burgess &
reports as a team to rest of class.                   Nipple. A few more reports to replace tests would
                                                      help. In the real world, you're not given a set of
                                                      questions to answer A,B or C, you are given a
                                                      problem with a series of constraints you must solve.
                                                      Creativity is very important in jobs, answering
                                                      problems, and providing supporting information is
                                                      very important.

a class (1-3 credit hours) based solely on giving    A 1 credit hour class (or as part of another class)
presentations and having everybody give at least     involved specifically in technical writing skills and
5 presentations throughout. Have it focus on         requirements (facts, observations, briefs, etc) would
general presentations first, then for engineers or   greatly enhance the engineering curriculum.
more technical or industrial related presentation    Making this class a requirement or at least strongly
topics. In the last few weeks of the course the      encouraged should be a priority. I believe it would
audience should be very diverse and consist of at    be beneficial if the oral class covered a broad
least 20 people for one of the presentations. A      discipline in majors. So perhaps it cold have a
public speaking class would also help.               section on technical, business, financial, marketing,
                                                     general etc presentations, all of which may be
                                                     beneficial at some time or another throughout ones
                                                     I really hope that OSU could have more in depth
                                                     writing class that will prepare/help international
                                                     students in their career.
Assign oral presentations more frequently among      Assign more comprehensive written assignments
the major courses. I recall only 2 class where I     within the major courses.
was assigned an oral presentation. One was by
myself & the other was with a group
Focus more on unprepared communication.
More real life Q&A type situations.
Video taping/replaying taped interviews,             Grade & critique larger volumes of example letters,
discussions & presentations with critiques to        e-mails & memos. Have students
students in a group setting                          edit/correct/critique each other - and grade the
                                                     editing or share the standard.
Require a communications course or emphasize         Emphasize/require a research writing/presenting
oral communications in existing engineering          class
Require debate or speech                             Require creative writing class, as well as basic
                                                     writing skills
                                                     Require students to use tools common in the
                                                     workplace such as Excel, Powerpoint etc
Continue to mandate senior project presentations     Academic advisor or faculty mentor should provide
                                                     one to one feedback with student.
Especially oral skills to communicate with non
engineering people - things are getting very
technical in all areas of business
More individual presentations                        Restore tech writing or allow business writing - it
                                                     was very useful. More individual writing & fewer
                                                     group projects - they allow weak students to stay
speaking courses
Require students to present 2-5 minute               Reports presenting alternatives for a problem.
presentations arguing for a solution for a           Sample letters for professional applications.
problem. Or explaining pros & cons of                Especially what not to include that may make one
alternatives                                         liable.

More presentations in ChE classes                    Just don't give in to popular (student) pressure to
                                                     drop some of the GECs.
Have a single class dedicated to communications      Have a single class dedicated to communications
and incorporate into later classes.                  and incorporate into later classes.
Any opportunity to set up teams & requiring
them to formally present in front of peers &
large audiences
Incorporate more projects (indiv or grp) that        Written papers with a research component with
require a formal final presentation and at least     strict adherence to academic form - biblo, etc.
one intermediate stage presentation
more team/individual projects requiring written
results and presentation of findings
professional speaking course maybe as part of        ok
ethics class
Put them with groups more. Also, make them           Let them write on subjects of their choice, stressing
give presentations in a place where they're          that they write on something they enjoy. They can
comfortable. If they feel comfortable first, it      learn this way easier, I think. At least I would.
will be less of a shock later.
A lot of engineers are great minds, but they don't   It would be good to work in sections of professional
know how to explain it to their client. More         documentation into different classes. This is very
work should be done & then presented before a        important as an engineer. In today‟s industry we
crowd. Confidence is everything & verbal is a        need to be able to go back & review where we've
key to project communication between engineer        been in a project & how we got to where we are @
& client                                             present date & why decisions were made. $ depends
                                                     on it.
provide an informal and laid back atmosphere         more business writing classes
Require a speech class. Perhaps combine it w/ a      As part of a project, include a detailed design report
high level design course requiring a professional    explaining the chosen design and other design
presentation using AutoCAD, PowerPoint, etc.         possibilities. Possibly include a letter to the "client"
Include cost estimates so that students gain         briefly explaining the design and why it is a good fit
experience speaking with materials suppliers.        for the client.
Timed deadlines to get a point across, including     Have a few exercises where people solve a problem
answers to questions. Meaning 15m max to get a       or get a point across effectively through the usage
point across using whatever tools they can.          of e-mail & attachments in e-mail
Ability to do above (prepare) in under 60 min.       (graphics/diagrams) ONLY. 40-50% of my job is
                                                     defending research or designs via e-mail. Focus
                                                     more on Architecture doc design-kinds of
                                                     documentation. My job focuses on coming up with
                                                     new designs or concepts that haven't been thought
                                                     of. It's very important to be able to articulate the
                                                     details of those designs to others, or risk the success
                                                     of the project. Students should be more prepared to
                                                     defend decisions made in their designs, not just
                                                     skilled in now to code.
                                                     8 step problem solving (format for reports)
Need a course (or 2) in technical                    Maybe a second technical writing course (beyond
communication!! This is key in my job.               110)

At the time I was at OSU, 83-88, very little oral
communications were required, if any. If you
don't require it, students will opt out of it. For BS
students an intro course should be required.
Require speaking engagements to the community Require students to try and get something
An informal discussion type class - could work        I think labs are adequate. I have learned a lot from
well for ethics                                       my supervisor at work.
to require more oral pres. Classes
Train students to better use "graphical" interface. Train students to better use "graphical" interface. In
In the aspect of having more graphics when            the aspect of having more graphics when presenting
presenting oral or written presentation because 1 oral or written presentation because 1 picture can be
picture can be worth a thousand words.                worth a thousand words.
All students must give one speech/week in front Focus on reading, ask this question: How many
of class                                              students have read a textbook, say a physics book
                                                      from cover to cover? OSU forces an atmosphere of
                                                      summarization, just enough to get by.
None I feel I was extremely well prepared.            None I feel I was extremely well prepared.
Make a speech class part of the curriculum
(especially important when making formal
More project presentations (powerpoint)
I'd recommend working additional engineering
oriented skills into core classes to expose all CE
students to much more of it. Perhaps working in
several scenarios where students would need to
draft reply letters to professional
correspondence. For instance, have students play
roles-one student represents the owner (DOT,
developer, etc..) and another a contractor and
have them resolve disputes or issues on a project.
don't just have a couple of presentations senior      Have someone other than engineering faculty
year-have some presentation training - give           review writing critically-the engineering status quo
people some tools as well as more experience          is unacceptable to the rest of the world, with whom
                                                      we inevitably have to communicate
There used to be a class on speaking + oral
communication but it was pretty general - a class
specifically for communicating
technical/engineering information would be
more team project classes, smaller classes            I think oral and written communication are very
always involve more communication                     closely related.
Require presentations at audiences of different       Require reports of different lengths and content to
skill level and background (i.e. simulate a           simulate written communications in the business
presentation in a business setting with junior and world - 1 paragraph executive summary, 1 page
senior level associates from R&D, Finance,            memo, email w/appropriate business etiquette, 5
Marketing, etc.). Require "talks" in a small group page report with appendix. Emphasize that
format to simulate a team interaction.                effective communication does not occur in the

                                                     passive voice!
Require a senior thesis oral defense                 Require a senior thesis
From my experience at OSU, some of my EE             Perhaps seminar or speech on improving these
courses required presentations of the projects as    skills can be offered to students. Or, encourage
well as typed reports. To me, the                    students to read technical journal and write a report
department/faculty did play their role in helping    on it in a weekly basis. With that, students can stay
students to improve their oral and written           current technically yet improve their writing skills
communication skills. It is just a matter of how     and also critical thinking.
serious the students/instructors attitude is
towards those activities
More class presentations, class work groups          More technical writing for reports in engineering
                                                     class, proposal writing
More team problem solving in classes                 Upgrade faculty in GEC

For labs or class, have students present a subject   Write project proposals. Write papers to stimulate
or topic or recommendation to class (similar to a    possible papers to publish in a trade magazine or
presentation to upper mgmt                           technical journal.
Incorporate programs developed & taught by           Incorporate programs developed & taught by
outside professionals and/or training                outside professionals and/or training organizations
organizations to develop these skill sets.           to develop these skill sets
have presentations as part of junior and senior      more technical writing classes - focus on
projects                                             experimental summaries, memos, proposals.
Debate groups, mock public meetings                  Preparing correspondence or papers for both
                                                     technical and non technical audiences on the same
More opportunities to give oral presentations
with feedback and suggestions on style in
addition to content.
more formal writing courses
Inform students that both public and private         Stress the importance of good project
sector engineers end up presenting at public         documentation and record keeping. Here's an idea:
meetings. Warm them that these stupid meetings       pass out paperwork at the beginning of the quarter
can go from 7:00 PM to 2:00 Am! And that they        without stressing its importance. Make students
probably won't have time to eat dinner before the    produce the paperwork later in the quarter without
meeting! And they will miss their kid's soccer       any advance warning. The message is that you
games and their spouses will get irate because       never know which little piece of paper is going to
they're out until 2 AM! But seriously, have          save your butt during a project.
students learn Powerpoint and how to "dumb
down" technical material for a general audience.
Offer basic courses for Power Point early in the     Offer courses on technical writing, not just
program                                              English/general writing
Strongly encourage students to take speech or
presentation class, give recommendations on
what to take. Ops & the design courses force you
to do presentations but focus little on teaching
how to improve presentation ability

Need to include a course on presenting technical      Need to include a course on presenting technical
information to non technical/business oriented        information to non technical/business oriented
individuals.                                          individuals.
Need courses focused on business                      Need courses focused on business communication,
communication, presentations etc. If you are          presentations etc. If you are doing great work and
doing great work and no one knows about it, it        no one knows about it, it doesn't matter.
doesn't matter.
Presentations should be taught in an "answer
first" format
                                                      teach use of industry tools (CAD, schematics, etc)
A presentation course. A course that teaches the      I completed an English minor, writing classes are
fundamentals and also advanced techniques for         the best way to develop writing skills.
oral presentations
Create a student chapter of Toastmasters. Need        require more technical reports
to have more presentations within class
Accomplish both in standard engineering               Accomplish both in standard engineering classes,
classes, stress importance of presenting answers      stress importance of presenting answers not just
not just solving problem.                             solving problem.
Specific GEC classes that pertain to oral comm.       Specific GEC classes that pertain to written comm
Improve argumentative skills                          Improve argumentative skills
More presentations in class                           Assignments turned in as memos or letters.
Pull the first two classes out of the English
department. The number of foreign students in
the engineering classes was better and more
relevant training in diversity than what the
English department teaches. I never would have
made it without learning to work with people
from many backgrounds and this is exactly what
I see at work as well. We weren't exposed to
literature or useful skills in writing. The only
writing I was better at after leaving those courses
was creative/emotional opinion. This hasn't been
of any use to me at all. Courses similar to the
third level English course with emphasis on
specification documents and design review
presentations would have been more useful.
Some work with managing meetings would have
been very good also.
My greatest stride in improving oral                  I think everyone should prepare a short technical
communication have come as a result of                article at least once.
preparing for conference presentations. I think
having to make a presentation on a subject and
integrate criticism into a later presentation would
be most like that experience.
Presentation class mandatory - technical              Prerequisite for engineering entry
presentation skills, presentation aids (graphics,
cad, charts, etc)

More presentation in front of groups - the more        No suggestions, I feel that I was well prepared in
practice the better. I suggest a once a week class     the area of written communication.
for giving technical presentations, incorporate
some powerpoint training.
I guess you could get rid of the TA's who can't        The endless drudgery of meaningless lab reports
speak English and make people do presentations         probably provides the weary engineering student
instead.                                               with more than adequate writing experience.
Conference posters used as foundation for oral         Actual scientific manuscripts as a basis for lab
reports                                                reports.
I would like to see students learn to participate in   In this age of increasing e-mail usage - I would like
mock up product/business meeting sessions,             students to learn how to write e mails so that
where they learn to receive information, analyze       information is communicated unambiguously across
it and be able to discuss it in a professional         national & international boundaries. Also how to
manner during the meeting.                             use, properly, visual/graphical embedded data with
Have students give persuasive presentations for a
small % of their grade in a few classes. Have
people w/experience talk to them about what
employers want to see.
                                                       Must have more 1) write letters, extremely
                                                       important to write a letter that "Grandma can
                                                       understand", seriously 2) calculation procedure
                                                       write up - what steps were taken to get from A to Z?
more practice                                          More practice
I would emphasize format a bit more in the two         I would emphasize format a bit more in the two
series mentioned above. (Aero senior design &          series mentioned above. (Aero senior design & lab
lab courses) In addition, requiring a public           courses) In addition, requiring a public speaking
speaking class in first of second year would be        class in first of second year would be helpful.
Require a speech class, or integrate it into other     no change
                                                       Make engineering a communication based program.
                                                       Encourage faculty to have it as part of each class.
                                                       Written assignments and oral presentations with
                                                       appropriate feedback are essential. Offer a course
                                                       through the college specifically on communication.
                                                       Oral, written, etc. and make it required for all
                                                       engineering undergrads. Include peer reviewing.
                                                       Will increase multi-disciplinary interaction as well.
A speech course in which students are taught           Basic letter writing and e-mail writing, including
how to speak clearly and convey their point            formatting.
none                                                   none
More classroom presentations, powerpoint/MS

make a speech class mandatory - it would have        Don't make excuses for poor performance, just
killed me at the time but would have helped          because we are engineers. Be tough! Industry
enormously!                                          certainly will be!
When group labs are permitted every team
member should present material.
Specific course for oral presentations (direct       Specific course on writing technical reports w/direct
feedback) step-by-step w/instructor involvement      feedback by instructor. Explain in detail
                                                     w/emphasis on importance.
Require a speech giving course                       Require more writing courses that also includes
                                                     some informal writing (like email and such)
As much as students dislike them, courses            felt well prepared.
requiring oral presentations are the best
preparation, but an improvement over the current
method would be many short frequent
presentations/updates, etc. vs one long single
end-of-quarter presentation (although it is
important to have some of these as well)
start requiring presentations earlier in the         Assign meaningful writing assignments. Not just a
curriculum - practice & feedback lead to poise &     report on a project that helps satisfy ABET. Use the
confidence                                           technical communications dept (if you still have
                                                     one) to help give feedback to students. Start earlier
                                                     in the curriculum. Bring back a technical writing
                                                     course & drop the ENG 367 requirement.
Students must be interested in the topic. The best   School projects always seemed like busy work with
training I have ever had is doing service training   no real purpose. When I have to make a proposal
after graduation. Knowing there is a real purpose    for a multi-million project, I care if it sounds
to my presentation made a significant difference.    correct. Assignments need to have more meaning to
                                                     students. (I know this is not easy.)
                                                     More feedback & more writing exercises
More emphasis on formal presentations                Required course involved with writing technical
throughout curriculum. Specific course               papers with focus on explanation of results and
requirement for public speaking & giving             presentation of findings. In addition to correct
presentations.                                       course with focus on calculation of results and
                                                     interpreting data.
                                                     Have an English class for engineers to help prepare
                                                     in writing technical reports separate from normal
More technical presentations in a pass/fail          nothing
format during the 3rd level writing course. Keep
the course graded (A-E), but make professional
presentation skills development a part of the
Classes that forces/allows students to make          More classes with example written materials are
presentations individually rather than as a          needed.
class/group are needed

How to make good 5 minute over view                    To many lab reports, need more 1-2 page summary
presentations with good visual aids.                   techniques, that's what management wants to see,
                                                       they don't have time to read 10+ page reports.
Make group and individual presentations a              Require another English class, perhaps business
regular part of classes (maybe presenting lab          writing
profs w/English as their "first" language
OSU did a very good job in preparing me to             OSU did a very good job in preparing me to
communicate with other engineers.                      communicate with other engineers. Unfortunately,
Unfortunately, most reports are sent to non-           most reports are sent to non-engineers (i.e. sales,
engineers (i.e. sales, vendors, laymen, etc), and      vendors, laymen, etc), and who could care less
who could care less about the numbers or details       about the numbers or details of the information that
of the information that I am sending them. A           I am sending them. A good exercise would be to
good exercise would be to have the students            have the students present some report to "non-
present some report to "non-science personnel".        science personnel". The student could be graded on
The student could be graded on how much                how much information the "non-science people"
information the "non-science people"                   understood.
I like the way Unit ops Lab was structured in          I believe OSU does a nice job in requiring the
that the students had to present their findings in a   students to prepare written documents. I wouldn't
verbal and written way. I think more oral              change anything in this area.
presentations would help students prepare for the
Increase number of required presentations.
Overview of good presentation techniques.
more presentations throughout all courses
I would suggest adding an oral communications
course that covered techniques as well as tools
such as powerpoint.
Put students in more "real world" situations. Let      A course on letter writing, note taking & memo
them participate in public hearings, involve them      writing in addition to technical writing would be
in meetings w/regulators, faculty, etc. The            useful. In addition a course on preparing
student branch of ASAE would be an excellent           presentations & the use of effective graphics is
outlet for this type of experience.                    useful. Incorporate the different styles of
                                                       presentations, graphics, etc. & how & when to use
                                                       different types depending on situation.
A speech class or specific speech training would       An engineer does not write poetry, short stories or
help                                                   other fictional works that English 110 teaches. A
                                                       class should replace English 110 that teaches the
                                                       student how to write a business letter to an
                                                       executive in the corporation, or a memo to others in
                                                       his department. If the student wants to learn how to
                                                       write poetry, he can take an elective on his own
Know - office suite i.e. power point, public           Office suite

More class presentations, More interaction with       Provide more technical writing classes for engineers
"real world" people. In other word, field trip to     (engineering major students). Focusing more on
manufacturing plants & work on projects that          contents & structure of the writing instead of
require intense interaction with labors on            grammar, punctuations etc
manufacturing floor will help improve student
skills to interact with all levels of employees.
Oral presentation class that tells you how to
make a technical presentation (w/powerpoint),
teaching the students what makes a good slide,
(i.e. clear figures, short concise language, etc.)
more practice giving presentations with harsh         more grading emphasis on written aspects of
feedback                                              engineering courses
A professor with strong leadership skills is
needed for classes that focus on oral
communications. In my senior design class
(AAE), we had a professor who didn't give us
any direction or help. As a result the entire class
was lost and helpless for the whole year, and that
showed in our presentations. Not only that, but
he gave us absolutely no guidelines for our
presentations!! We would have been far better
off without that class and using the extra time
and energy on our other classes. A suggestion
would be to have a special oral communications
class taken through the English department.
Make students do more presentations on their
own - too much teamwork causes people to lose
out on the opportunity to learn how to write a
cohesive document/create an entire presentation.
The EE department uses the 582 course to show
specifically how to deliver an oral presentation
(Prof Anderson)
none needed                                           learning how to write proposals and a technical
                                                      writing course would be useful.
more emphasis on formal and, in particular,           Delete the second English course (367) and the
informal presentations and communications             extended lab report aspect of ME 570 - they were
                                                      useless and did nothing to prepare me for a career.
                                                      More emphasis on informal communications and
                                                      the proper techniques for them (email, etc) is
                                                      essential for today's industry.
Despite the partiality which could result, more       Once you are in college, in a major it is almost
focus on presentations needs to be implemented.       impossible to reverse to poor writing habits
Presenting one time is not enough for a course,       ingrained by mediocre high school English prep.
but I understand the shortage of resources            Maybe the ChE department should pay English phd
(faculty) to create such a curriculum                 students to develop a program. Sometimes it is
                                                      better to defer to another's expertise.

I was very prepared for written communication        I was very prepared for written communication of
of technical content; and reasonably prepared for    technical content; and reasonably prepared for oral
oral presentation of the same content. I was         presentation of the same content. I was unprepared
unprepared however for written/oral presentation     however for written/oral presentation of material
of material that was either non-technical,           that was either non-technical, presented to non-
presented to non-engineers, or was required to be    engineers, or was required to be a quick
a quick summary/synopsis.                            summary/synopsis.
There should be a public speaking course put         Wouldn't change anything
into the curriculum
good as is                                           I'm still working on my skills of "putting the
                                                     pieces" together for management in easy to read
                                                     memos and reports. I think this should be stressed
                                                     more in all engineering schools, to improve our
                                                     practical effectiveness in the workplace.
Any class that requires a presentation, either for   Lab reports should be graded on grammar and
a group or individual project.                       spelling, not just on technical content. I am appalled
                                                     at the written communications (formal and
                                                     informal) that I see at work written by adult
                                                     technical professionals. It's shameful, especially
                                                     when they don't even bother to run spell checker.
Mockup a meeting where presenters require
input from audience. Facilitate team building
from a "roundtable" environment.
require powerpoint
On senior project each person must present oral      weekly technical paper
presentation weekly
Informal use of email, phone, etc to execute an
important project seem to really be the most
important communication skills in business

more requirements in ChE classes                     more writing in classes
More group work, even in lower classes
Requirements elicitation techniques for              Requirements elicitation techniques for
software/applications                                software/applications
Students need to be forced to dissect presentation   ME lab reports don't cut it. Unless you do
with a lot of questions. Presenters need to be       evaluations for a living, you'll almost never make
ready to answer these questions on the spot.         written communications filled with graphs and
                                                     charts and statistics, so you need to express yourself
                                                     with more words, but in a concise manner (A4
The presentation portion of the ISE curriculum       Another higher level English course. Professors in
emphasizes oral communication skills                 engineering usually do not emphasize grammar in
They need to actual working engineers work           They need to actual working engineers work with
with the students on how to prepare                  the students on how to prepare business/technical
business/technical presentations. Professors do      presentations. Professors do not understand how to
not understand how to prepare students for the       prepare students for the working world as it applies
working world as it applies to communication.        to communication.

Find Professors who know how to communicate           Find Professors who know how to communicate - a
- a professor's research expertise has basically no   professor's research expertise has basically no
impact on an undergrad's education but that           impact on an undergrad's education but that seems
seems to be how you pick 'em. With few                to be how you pick 'em. With few exceptions I
exceptions I thought my professors were               thought my professors were excellent scientists and
excellent scientists and POOR teachers.               POOR teachers.
I don't remember doing any oral presentations         I don't remember doing any written reports, just
                                                      taking notes and taking tests.
this is an ambiguous category. are you referring      students need as many opportunities as
to one-on-one communication, formal                   possible/practical to develop these skills. they also
presentations or speech making? in any case           need coaching/instruction. in almost every course
increasing opportunities within the current           of an MBA program students are required to write
curriculum to practice these skills and providing     reports, papers and give presentations. the same
feedback/coaching will better prepare graduates       should hold true for undergraduates.
for professional life.
Have a little more formal presentation                Continue to keep this requirement – a lot of
participation in a relative class                     personnel from other establishments are very
                                                      lacking in general writing skills. Organization,
                                                      proper grammar, and well written documentation is
                                                      extremely important. Lack of this is sadly
                                                      unprofessional and time consuming to remedy.
Add a class specifically geared toward a major        Continue/strengthen the requirements for cross-
oral presentation, or make this a requirement in      departmental "GEC" type courses. I cannot
several of the existing project oriented classes.     overemphasize the importance of a well-rounded
When I was in school, this aspect of                  education, especially for students in engineering
communication was essentially ignored.                programs, who often have little time or interest in
                                                      taking courses outside their majors.
Course that outlines concise presentation of
technical material to a general audience using
speech / presentation class                           English for technical writing made a mandatory
Students should be given several opportunities to     Everyone should have an opportunity to write
present their projects to their classmates. Even      specifications which enable them to discuss their
having to stand up in front of the class to review,   projects, the thought processes, and outcomes.
in detail, homework assignments would be              Once again, everyone on my team is given several
helpful. I have been requiring my team members        opportunities to develop specifications. Very few
to give at least one presentation a year either to    do a good job at writing, often leaving gaps,
the team, to the department, or at conference.        questions, etc...
Several have appreciated the opportunity to
practice while others would rather not be
bothered. Those that welcome the opportunity
are the ones who are making the most progress
from a development and advancement
standpoint. They are also the ones who
contribute the most to our organization.
Have students have to present project results to      In both design and more academic classes, have the
the class in design classes.                          students have to prepare more "research style"

I would add additional senior level speech /
presentation classes to the curriculum.
Communication skills, both oral and written, are
becoming increasingly important in the business
world. Unlike 20 to 25 years ago, today‟s
typical engineering staff employees do not have
ample clerical support to proof and perfect our
written communications and presentation
materials. Each engineer now shoulders this
responsibility relative to his or her own work.
Not sure                                           Not sure
Require more projects where teams are created
to perform presentations
As far as oral communication, I feel that I was
prepared, however it would be useful to have a
communication course which teaches effective
ways to sell an idea or a solution to a group of
people or to company executives would be
More presentations of investigated material in     More technical writing projects with taught
front of class.                                    structure.
None.                                              Write more that powerpoint presentations to get a
                                                   grade...more technical writing is needed.
                                                   (Powerpoint is important, but makes it to easy to
                                                   just make quick summaries and help non-English
                                                   speaking students pass.)
ISE curriculum prepared me beyond my               ISE curriculum prepared me beyond my
expectations.                                      expectations.
                                                   Email etiquette at work. Suggested format /
                                                   organization for meeting minutes related to project
Nothing to change wrt oral presentations... just   Instead of wasting my time, and $1200 to listen to
too much in the way of teamwork projects           an imbecile, liberal, lesbian, feminist, crazy bitch
overall.                                           that taught my 2nd writing class - and made us read
                                                   6 different books about how evil men are - and
                                                   write bullshit essays & papers about this sort of no
more individual presentations - less group         proposals for recommendation of an idea or action

ISE final project provided very experience in      ISE final project provided very experience in real
real world problem solving, data collection,       world problem solving, data collection, analyses,
analyses, documentation, and presentation.         documentation, and presentation. Would
Would recommend making students document           recommend making students document and brief
and brief intership/Co-Op (both interim and at     intership/Co-Op (both interim and at conclusion of
conclusion of assignment) work to                  assignment) work to

All courses should include a presentation portion   Develop coursework that requires students to
and small group discussions on required topic.      interview staff or industry specific professionals to
                                                    collect information on system or process.
                                                    Information collected would be used to document
                                                    and or provide analysis of these processes and
                                                    Throughout much of my profession there is a strong
                                                    needed to be able to read specifications and
                                                    understand them. I do not recall within college any
                                                    of the courses going into this. I believe that a better
                                                    understanding of specifications would be helpful t
Give presentation on any class project              write a formal proposal for any class project,
                                                    interim report, final report.
More project or team work which would require       Improve the ability to use and understand
open communication.                                 CAD/CAM software. This is universal across the
                                                    majority of engineering practices.
Have a couple more classes that require an oral


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