This course aims to provide students with opportunities to improve their English communication skills in the context of their own interests, disciplines and/or future career aspirations; to give them further opportunities to explore using English as a tool for inquiry, learning, thinking and communicating; help them master the conventions associated with communicating in English in their particular fields; encourage them to develop their critical and evaluative thinking within their disciplines; develop their capacity to become self-directed English language learners; and finally help them to understand the role of English communication in the development of professional identities and membership in disciplinary communities.
Students first learn how to choose and evaluate suitable sources critically, select the most appropriate ones, and identify main points from technical texts. They then apply these in preparing a short presentation that also demonstrates an appropriate use of referencing skills. Drawing on the materials produced for these presentations, students work in groups to identify technical discussion skills through consciousness-raising activities and apply these skills in planning and conducting a simulated technical team discussion, culminating in a plan for a research project. Through various guided activities and discussions, they then identify the structure and language characteristics of a number of different types of reports and apply the knowledge gained this way in producing a standard written incident report related to their project. At the final stage, students work alone or in groups to identify the text structures and language features characteristic of business correspondence typical of a technical setting through inquiry and self-discovery. This is then applied in producing simulated business correspondence on technical matters.
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to identify various reading skills and apply them in reading, referencing and summarising literature on engineering; identify various skills of technical presentation and apply them in conducting short technical presentations based on information extracted from readings; identify technical discussion skills and apply these in planning and conducting simulated technical discussions characteristic of those that go on in electronic engineering firms; identify and compare the structures and language characteristics of various types of reports, focussing mainly on incident reports, and applying this knowledge in writing one; identify the text structures and language features characteristic of business correspondence, and apply them in producing a business letter; develop communication skills through active participation in class and group activities.