Engineering and Communications Integrated Learning: Collaboration Strategies for Skills and Subject Experts

Engineering and Communications Integrated Learning: Collaboration Strategies for Skills and Subject Experts

C. Carlsson, K. Edström, H. Malmström (2010).  Engineering and Communications Integrated Learning: Collaboration Strategies for Skills and Subject Experts. 16.


This paper focuses on the integrated learning of communication and communication skills within engineering education, and on the respective roles of the communication expert and the subject expert in courses and throughout the curriculum.

Approaches to the function of communication in an overall engineering curriculum and to the learning activities are here referred to as learning-to-communicate and communicating-to-learn. These concepts are further merged into the term communicating-to-engineer. This means that all communication aspects are intrinsic components in engineering education and that factors such as learning activities, ambition, maturity, and resources together contribute to deciding how and to what extent communication can be effectively learnt and taught.

This paper then suggests two distinct roles of the communication expert: the direct and the indirect where the direct approach implies an active classroom role, and the indirect approach being more focused on course and staff development. These roles are then placed on a continuum where the role may change over time, in accordance to the learning objectives and staff development ambition. By categorizing the role of the communication expert into these functionally and strategically different functions, the corresponding role of the subject expert is also changed.


Authors (New): 
Carl Johan Carlsson
Kristina Edström
Hans Malmström
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
KTH Royal Institute of Technology,Sweden
expert roles
Crawley, E., Malmqvist, J., Östlund, S., Brodeur, D., (2007). Rethinking Engineering Education, The CDIO Approach. Springer.: 
The CDIO Standards, 5 June 2006. : 
Barrie, S., “A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy”, Higher Education Research & Development, Vol. 23, No. 3, August 2004. : 
Carter, M., Ferzli, M., & Wiebe, E., “Writing to learn by learning to write in the disciplines”, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Vol. 21, 2007, pp 278-302. : 
Ackerman, J.M., “The promise of writing to learn”, Written Communication, Vol. 10 (3), 1993, pp 334-370. : 
Klein, P.D., “Reopening inquiry into cognitive processes in writing-to-learn”, Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 11 (3), 1999, pp 203-270. : 
Hoffmann, M.E, Dansdill, T. & Herscovici, D.S. “Bridging writing to learn and writing in the discipline in computer science education”. SIGCSE, Houston, 2006, pp 117-121. : 
Wilson, O. “Writing to learn in an Organic Chemistry Course”. Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 71(12), 1994, pp 1019-1020: 
Guerin, A.D., Olson, M.J., Zborowsky, T. & Lim, Y. “Exploring writing-to-learn in design”, Journal of Interior Design, Vol. 25(1), 1999, pp 25-36. : 
Hübner, S., Nückles, M., & Renkl, A. “Prompting cognitive and metacognitive processing in writing-to-learn enhances learning outcomes”, in R. Sun, N. Miyake & C. Schunn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Erlbaum, 2006, pp. 357-362: 
Stone, J.A & Madigan, E.M. “Integrating reflective writing in CS/IS” The SIGCSE Bulletin, Vol. 39(2), 2007, pp 42-45. : 
Smith, G., “Learning to speak and speaking to learn”, College Teaching, Vol. 45, 1997, pp 49-51. : 
Curto, K. & Bayer, T., “Writing & speaking to learn biology: an intersection of critical thinking and communication skills”, Bioscene Vol. 31(4), 2005, pp 11-19. : 
Coté, V., “Teaching oral communication in computer science”, The SIGCSE Bulletin, Vol. 19 (2), 1987, pp 58-64: 
Keys, C., “Revitalizing instruction in scientific genres: connecting knowledge production with writing to learn in science”, Science Education, Vol. 83, 1999, pp 115-130. : 
Edström, K., Hallström, S., El Gaidi, K., Kuttenkeuler, J., “Integrated assessment of disciplinary, personal and interpersonal skills - student perceptions of a novel learning experience”, Proceedings of the13th Improving Student Learning, London 5-7 September, 2005.: 
Hallström, S., Kuttenkeuler, J., Edström, K., “The route towards a sustainable designimplement course”, Proceedings of the 3rd International CDIO Conference, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, June 11-14, 2007. : 
Carlsson, C. J. & Wranne, O., ”Using writing as a cognitive tool in a car design project”, Utvecklingskonferensen 2008, Nätverket ingenjörsutbildningarna, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, November 26-27, 2008: 
Biggs, J. & Tang, C., Teaching for quality learning at Univeristy: What the student does, 3rd edition, Open University Press, 2007 : 
Go to top