Communication in Science and Technology

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Cross Jeffrey Scott 
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Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Fall Semester

Outline of lecture

This course uses a task-based learning approach to teach technical communications to graduate students where the classroom time is divided into lecture, group discussion on various topics or tasks for reinforcement of the lecture, and student's oral presentations. The tasks consist of writing/sending e-mail, writing a business letter, writing a technical journal manuscript, patent writing, and giving an oral technical presentation. This course focuses on teaching non-native speakers of English both written and oral technical presentation skills in English.

Purpose of lecture

To teach basic technical English communication skills (writing and oral presentation) needed for research activities at the graduate student level.

Plan of lecture

1. Course introduction, technical communications, hand-shake, sign-up & questionnaire.
2. Hearing skills drill and self-study approach to develop better hearing comprehension.
3. Writing a short research paper on your research theme for submittal to a journal.
4. What is a patent and how to write a patent.
5. How to ask technical questions at conferences (basics of debate).
6. Writing letters of inquiry, e-mail requests, response, journal submittal etc.
7. How to prepare and give a scientific oral (poster) presentation.
8. Technical class oral presentation on own research topic (during class) or for new grad. students, give a technical oral presentation on a published referred journal paper with prior approval.
9. Other items: gesture, body language, GTEC, etc.

Textbook and reference

Technical Writing and Professional Communication for Nonnative Speakers of English, 2nd Ed. Thomas N. Huckin, McGraw-Hill, 2001, ISBN 0071126422 (optional)
Reference Book
First Moves: An Introduction to Academic Writing in English, P. Rossiter, Univ. Tokyo Press, 2004

Related and/or prerequisite courses

All lectures, classroom discussions and homework are in English. The number of registered students is limited to 20 to allow sufficient time for in-class oral presentations. Familarity with Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 for oral presentations will be beneficial.


80% class participation, attendance, and homework; 20% Class oral presentation

Comments from lecturer

This course is registered in both Applied Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering(ME) departments. Students from ME are currently in the majority.


For inquiries contact Jeffrey Cross by e-mail

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