Tag Archives: Writing

On the increasing problem of writing quality of engineering students

F. C. Berry, M. L. Phillips, J. Condron and P. A. Sanger, Improving Writing Quality of Capstone Reports, IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 383-389, Nov. 2021, DOI: 10.1109/TE.2021.3059739.

Contributions: The main contribution is to share a series of practical methods that improve the writing quality of capstone reports. Background: The ability to write well is critical to the success of an engineering technology graduate. However, the evidence points to the fact that industries are disappointed with the quality of writing skills graduates demonstrate. Intended Outcomes: A faculty review of capstone reports showed little improvement in writing quality from the first course to the second in a two-semester capstone sequence. Therefore, the instructors explored what actions were needed to improve the writing quality of the capstone reports. Application Design: Several changes in the capstone courses were developed and implemented. The changes included: 1) using instructional technology as a scaffolding to help frame the writing required for the course and 2) engaging students in iterative writing with feedback. Findings: The assessment data showed a significant improvement, at the 5% level. The iterative process of writing and rewriting the report, coupled with frequent meetings with faculty mentors, proved to be a powerful combination for improving the writing process of the students.