Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Technical writing, Engineering--Study and teaching


Industrial Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Technical and Professional Writing


The Project to Integrate Technical Communication Habits (PITCH) has been implemented across seven engineering and computer science undergraduate programs starting in fall 2012. The overarching goal of PITCH is to develop written, oral and visual communication skills and professional habits in engineering students. PITCH activities begin in the very first semester and are reinforced and extended through all four years of each program. After three years of progressively more extensive development and deployment, a preliminary assessment of student writing over their first three years in programs was performed. In May 2016 the first cohort of students will have completed the entire sequence of PITCH courses, including senior design.

PITCH was designed to include technical memoranda, poster presentations, oral presentations, laboratory reports, proposals, and senior design reports. In addition to text elements, the use of tables and graphics also were addressed. These technical communication products are integrated into specific foundational courses common to several programs, as well as higher-level courses unique to each program. Engineering faculty teaching these courses were progressively trained through workshops conducted over three summers, so in the early years not all instructors teaching these courses had been fully trained. A random sample of students from four programs was selected for the assessment. These students had taken freshman through junior courses with trained instructors, and the assessment was performed based on the PITCH writing assignments they submitted in four courses.

Four faculty members and an external consultant involved in the development and deployment of PITCH performed the assessment. Each writing assignment was evaluated through use of a common rubric to see how well students achieved the overall PITCH learning outcomes. The evaluations were done in a series of collective settings with all five evaluators present and each writing assignment was assessed. Student progress through the four courses spanning the first three years of PITCH is quantified and the results are discussed.

Also discussed are pedagogical and administrative lessons learned during development and implementation of PITCH to date.

PITCH is supported by a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation.


© 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.



Publisher Citation

Erdil, N. O., & Harichandran, R. S., & Collura, M. A., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Adams, D. J., & Simson, A. (2016, June), Preliminary Assessment of and Lessons Learned in PITCH: an Integrated Approach to Developing Technical Communication Skills in Engineers. Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25944