Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.


EDU-COM 2006 International Conference. Engagement and Empowerment: New Opportunities for Growth in Higher Education, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 22-24 November 2006.


Conventional Engineering curriculum is strongly focused on the development in students of technical knowledge and skills. However, in recent years, employers have increasingly acknowledged that this traditional preparation of Engineering students‘ is inadequate, as graduates lack the wide range of written and spoken communication skills required to engage with members of other professional groups and with the broader community. Recognition of the important role that communicative competence plays in professional success within the engineering industry has, as a result, led to a number of tertiary institutions developing curricula to address these needs. This paper presents a successful integrative Engineering Communication curriculum, developed for both local and international Engineering students in an Australian university, which aims to develop both communicative ability and community engagement. The courses that form the Engineering Communication Program provide for critical awareness-raising of community issues such as ethics, sustainability and gender, English for academic and professional Engineering purposes for both English as an Additional Language (EAL) and English background students and advanced research communication for postgraduate students. All courses are strongly informed by scaffolded learning techniques, systemic functional linguistics and genre theory, and most are run collaboratively by Engineering, Education and Applied Linguistics lecturers. The aims of the Program are to raise awareness in Engineering students about, and to equip them with skills for, their future roles and responsibilities, and to provide the community with engineers whose strong technical knowledge is balanced by an appreciation of the broader social contexts with which they will engage in their professional lives.

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