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What do engineers write?

Hi everyone! Thank you for all of your thoughtful responses on the previous module.

The plan for today: 

Transparency: what is writing for engineering?

Consideration: What’s *actually* writing for engineering in your field?

Explore: Let’s find examples of what you might “write” or communicate within your respective field.

So I alluded to this a bit in the last module but I want to slow down and kind of consider the implications of this course and how it’s based on assumptions. Our departments decide what’s best for you to know, instead of asking what you want to learn. This matters because it means you’re paying for courses and an education that becomes largely preformative when it could be really dynamic. My goal with this course is that maybe you take away one applicable lesson that will serve you going forward. 

Now that I’ve totally dampened the mood lol, let’s get back to writing. There is a whole field of technical writing, writing within a specific genre that *can* be used by engineers. But what I am now seeing, is that the field of technical writing and those who need to write in that academic rhetorical form, is pretty small. 

I am totally unfamiliar with is the *actual* writing that goes on in your specific fields day to day. Do you know what you’ll need to be communicating professionally?

I definitely don’t, and when I started looking for examples of professional writing in your field, I realized it’s better for you all to find what’s applicable to you.

This week’s work is going to require some digging. I want you to 

  • find a sample of professional writing or communication from your respective field (electrical, chemical, biomedical, civil, computer science, computer, mechanical)
  • assess who the author of this type of writing might be (professional documents can be without attribution and they’re usually co-written).
  • who is the audience the author is writing for (general public, other engineers, co-workers)?
  • what is the author trying to communicate (<— this one is a bit like a summary). In what ways do they successfully communicate their message and in what ways do they not? (You get to critique!)

Andréa, where do I find such a sample? I’m not entirely sure! Some starting points could be: how did you know you wanted to go into the specific type of engineering you chose? Is there an engineer you know or a company that is doing cool things that interests you? Or maybe you follow someone’s YouTube channel. Just find me any artifact of “writing” or communication in your field and critique using the questions listed above.

Next module I will discuss our mid-semester Work In Progress and we will dive back into examining systemic issues within the fields of engineering.

Enjoy the week!