This paper describes the integration of a significant amount of instruction and technical communications assignments into an early design course in the BSME program at the University of Houston. While many of the examples presented in this paper were initially introduced into the course without outside involvement, many more have been developed and the initial assignments have been improved through collaborations with the recently established University of Houston Writing Center (2000) and the even newer (2004) Technical Communications Across the Curriculum Program in the Cullen College of Engineering. Approximately 55% of an individual’s course grade is based on a variety of team (18%) and individual (37%) writing and presentation assignments. In many ways, these assignments are similar to those given in a traditional technical communications course. The difference is that many of these assignments are directly linked to course material including, the design process, working in teams on design-fabricate-and-compete projects, engineering ethics, and intellectual property issues. The paper provides details of these activities (including examples of assignments) and the results from student surveys requesting feedback on their effectiveness.

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