Designing a first-year composition class for engineering students

Maria D Lombard, Mark Sidey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Developing a first-year composition course for engineering students, in light of calls for engineers to learn to communicate more effectively with the public and to play a central role in solving the Grand Challenges, leads to questions of what should the class entail? Having students analyze the rhetorical aspects of solving the Grand Challenges ties in with the public turn in rhetoric and composition. Research on cognition would help students this analysis. However, studies indicate that transfer from general FYC to other classes is often weak. When strong transfer between FYC and subsequent engineering classes is the goal, teaching students to communicate with non-engineers is likely a secondary concern. Because a FYC class cannot cover all aspects of a students' rhetorical education, and because students may develop a subject matter mentality, writing faculty will likely want to encourage students to see FYC classes as the starting point of their rhetorical education. To do so, network pedagogy is a possible solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProComm 2015 - IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479933754
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2015 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: Jul 12 2015Jul 15 2015


OtherIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2015


  • First-year composition
  • cognition
  • motivation
  • transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Engineering(all)

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