Tag Archives: reports

If you read my personal blog, you know that I’m on travel for a conference this week.  This conference has been much different than the ones I’ve attended before.  It was a lot smaller and easier to get to talk to people.  I really enjoyed that aspect.  Also, I saw a lot of work on areas closely related to fields where I’m working rather than having everything from here to the moon (and, for some conferences, beyond that). Another area where things were different was the poster session.  I mentioned on my own blog that the posters were very visual without much text.  I typically ‘narrate’ my posters with text, but they’re typically more visual than others I’ve seen at big conferences.  However, this time, I was far more wordy than I should have been.  I could’ve easily stripped most of the text and left the pictures, making the poster…

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One of the skills that engineers are required to have is critical thinking and the ability to quickly assess and analyze a situation. [Good] Engineers are often brought in to situations because they have a certain background or have worked on a particular topic before but this new situation is slightly different than their previous experience. However, the time to get immersed in a topic is limited and often, they’re asked for their opinion the same time that they’re learning about the new topic. This is difficult situation because the engineer often doesn’t have all of the pieces to put together a complete puzzle. However, they often have enough to get a clear picture of the situation to assess accordingly. Because this is a skill needed by engineers, one question for engineering educators is “how can this skill be taught?”. The best method that I can think of that can…

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If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I am anything but succinct. It may surprise you to know that in my technical writing and presentations, I go too far the other way in many cases: I tend to make the assumption that people have a pretty good idea of what I’m saying. This has, on more than one occasion, left me with someone giving me the deer-in-the-headlights stare. I really don’t mind going back and explaining some of the information necessary to grasp what I am discussing, but I often don’t realize it’s not something that people are familiar with. As time has gone on, however, I’ve gotten better at gauging and addressing areas where my audience may be need extra knowledge. When I’m doing slides or a presentation, my version of being succinct is to create slides that have only a brief outline (2-5 bullet points…

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How do you write your best reports? The hardest part for me is getting started. Back when I was a humanities student I had a post-it note system of organization. Rather than starting with a written outline, I’d go through the document and attach stickies wherever there was a point I wanted to analyze. Then I’d just go back through, cite it or paraphrase with a footnote, and write my analysis on the spot. Now it’s a bit harder for me to do this fly by night method. It helps to start with a template I think which can serve as a rough outline, but it doesn’t actually capture the main points you might want to hit. I generally have a really good idea of the overall objective and less of a good idea about how to get the reader through all the logical steps to get there. Often I…

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