Monash University

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Important issues in the development of a curriculum for English and communication studies in engineering and technology courses to improve communication skills of students in developing countries

posted on 2017-02-08, 05:25 authored by Danilova, Elena Alexandrovna
This research was conducted to investigate deficiencies in engineering and technology education especially in relation to developing communication skills. While technological in nature, engineering and technology profession is highly communicative and increasingly international in practice. These factors reiterate the importance of language and communication skills for the portfolios of modern engineers and technologists. Moreover, these skills shortages are likely to increase as the world emerges from the global financial crisis. Therefore, there is an urgent need to enrich and broaden engineering and technology education so that it reacts adequately to the changing global economy, the explosion of knowledge and the development of technology, without compromising its quality. This thesis argues that one of the options for engineering and technology institutions is to design an innovative curriculum that can be flexible and responsive to changes. This study focuses on proposing a design of a curriculum for English and communication studies at engineering and technology courses. The data for this research, concerning the existing curricula utilised by universities, are collected predominantly from the information available in the public domain such as official Web-sites of universities, ministerial documents and educational quality standards. Quantitative and qualitative analyses identified the deficiencies of existing curricula and highlighted successful practices (according to university ranking indexes that have been used in this thesis). The outcome of this study is a proposition of an innovative model for an ESP curriculum design that has the potential to improve engineering and technology education in relation to developing students’ language and communication skills. Innovative curriculum design, as well as curriculum mapping, which includes the rubrics introduced on the basis of the results of this study, should be instrumental for comprehensive planning of programmes; holistic design of courses and their components; monitoring the changes in educational standards and industry demands, as well as updating the curriculum accordingly. The research also presents possible approaches to utilising information and communication technologies in teaching and learning processes. Innovative tools for developing teaching materials, as well as efficient methodologies and techniques for enhancing language and communication skills are also explored and recommendations for further implementation are given. No research on the curriculum design would be complete without proposing how to optimise its monitoring process. An insight into future research gives a perspective of computerising this curriculum design in order to reflect and implement changes that will help to adjust the curriculum according to new tendencies that take place in the institution, educational standards, industry requirements, teaching/learning methods and techniques, and educational content.


Principal supervisor

Zenon J Pudlowski

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Monash Asia Institute


Doctor of Philosophy

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Faculty of Arts

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