The central goal of the project is to develop a reasoning diagram for Mechanical Engineering (ME) that schematically represents how ME content knowledge and procedural knowledge (rhetorical, genre, and writing process knowledge) are integrated in the formation of disciplinary texts. The diagram will be premised on findings from interviews with ME professionals (academic faculty and practicing engineers), discourse analysis of written reports produced by ME professionals, and discourse analysis of written reports produced by ME undergraduate students. The diagram will be integrated into an undergraduate laboratory course that requires students to compose several written reports in Fall 2023, and its impact on student learning will be assessed through pre- and post-term surveys and a mid-semester focus group interview. The purpose of developing a reasoning diagram is to support undergraduate engineering students as they write disciplinary texts in a lab-based course. The significance of the project includes developing a novel ME reasoning diagram that could be used in pedagogy at the upper-undergraduate and lower-graduate levels to improve student knowledge of and composition of technical reports intended for technical and non-technical audiences.
The research questions asked by this study include:
- (RQ1) How do ME professionals (academic faculty, engineering practitioners) structure written reports for technical and non-technical audiences?
- (RQ2) How do undergraduate ME students structure written reports for technical and non-technical audiences?
- (RQ3) How does the mechanical engineering reasoning diagram support students’ composition of written reports intended for technical and non-technical audiences, if at all?
This team received $ 10,000 in funding in the Winter 2023 term.