Engineering Communication ME304

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The objective of this session is to introduce the subject of software engineering. When you have read this session you will understand what software engineering is and why it is important, know the answers to key questions which provide an introduction to software engineering, understand ethical and professional issues which are important for software engineers.

Introduction

Virtually all countries now depend on complex computer-based systems. More and more products incorporate computers and controlling software in some form. The software in these systems represents a large and increasing proportion of the total system costs. Therefore, producing software in a cost-effective way is essential for the functioning of national and international economies.

Software engineering is an engineering discipline whose goal is the cost-effective development of software systems. Software is abstract and intangible. It is not constrained by materials, governed by physical laws or by manufacturing processes. In some ways, this simplifies software engineering as there are no physical limitations on the potential of software. In other ways, however, this lack of natural constraints means that software can easily become extremely complex and hence very difficult to understand.

Software engineering is still a relatively young discipline. The notion of ‘software engineering’ was first proposed in 1968 at a conference held to discuss what was then called the ‘software crisis’. This software crisis resulted directly from the introduction of powerful, third generation computer hardware. Their power made hitherto unrealisable computer applications a feasible proposition. The resulting software was orders of magnitude larger and more complex than previous software systems.

Early experience in building these systems showed that an informal approach to software development was not good enough. Major projects were sometimes years late. They cost much more than originally predicted, were unreliable, difficult to maintain and performed poorly. Software development was in crisis. Hardware costs were tumbling whilst software costs were rising rapidly. New techniques and methods were needed to control the complexity inherent in large software systems.

These techniques have become part of software engineering and are now widely although not universally used. However, there are still problems in producing complex software which meets user expectations, is delivered on time and to budget. Many software projects still have problems and this has led to some commentators (Pressman, 1997) suggesting that software engineering is in a state of chronic affliction.

As our ability to produce software has increased so too has the complexity of the software systems required. New technologies resulting from the convergence of computers and communication systems place new demands on software engineers. For this reason and because many companies do not apply software engineering techniques effectively, we still have problems. Things are not as bad as the doomsayers suggest but there is clearly room for improvement.


Effective communication is essential to teamwork, and teamwork is essential to accomplishing complex engineering work. In this course, you will learn several aspects of effective technical communication that will help prepare you to work successfully on an engineering team. The strategies and techniques learned here are also applicable to other situationsfor example, preparing a rsum and cover letter, conducting a successful job interview, negotiating to make a major purchase or sale, and navigating through legal situations that you might encounter.

Quiz PDF eBook: 
Engineering Communication ME304
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32 Pages
2014
English US
Educational Materials



Sample Questions from the Engineering Communication ME304 Quiz

Question: In which section of a laboratory report would you include details about a calibration curve obtained for a rotameter used in the laboratory?

Choices:

Introduction

Conclusion

Sbstract

Procedures

Results and Discussion

Question: Which of the following statements is grammatically correct?

Choices:

The thermocouple, that we used, was brand new.

The thermocouple which we used was brand new.

The thermocouple that we used was brand new.

The thermocouple who we used was brand new.

Question: In which section of a laboratory report would you provide a concise (about 200 words) description of the objectives and results of the work?

Choices:

Abstract

Introduction

Conclusions

Procedures

Results and Discussion

Question: Choose the best answer. A paragraph might be defined by which of the following? I. An approximate number of words or sentences II. An approximate fraction of a page III. A group of sentences addressing a topic from a similar perspective

Choices:

I only

I and II onlly

I and III only

III only

I, II, and III

Question: Which of the following sentences is written in the passive voice?

Choices:

Although the thermocouple worked, the measurements were wrong.

We reported the measurements in error.

Incorrect values were measured.

Who made the incorrect measurements?

Question: In which section of a laboratory report would you make final recommendations to other groups which might attempt to repeat your work?

Choices:

Abstract

Introduction

Concllusions

Procedures

Results and Discussion

Question: Which of the following can be considered plagiarism? I. Copying text verbatim from another source without attribution II. Paraphrasing text from another source without attribution III. Copying one or more phrases or sentences from another source without attribution IV. Quoting from a source with attribution

Choices:

I only

I and II only

I, II, and III only

I, II, III, and IV

II and IV only

Question: Which of the following statements is grammatically correct?

Choices:

It is interesting that the thermocouple was faulty, because they're normally very reliable.

It is interesting that the thermocouple was faulty, because their normally very reliable.

It is interesting that the thermocouple was faulty, because there normally very reliable.

It is interesting that the thermocouple was faulty, since there normally very reliable.

Question: Choose the best answer. Identify the answer that makes use of local laboratory jargon.

Choices:

The centrifugal pump is subject to cavitation.

Cavitation may cause pitting on the impeller.

The impeller may then fail prematurely.

This process can also occur on a boat propeller.

The pump in laboratory seven failed last year by boat propelling.

Question: Which of the following sentences contains a comma splice?

Choices:

The thermocouple appeared to work correctly, the measurements were incorrect.

Although the thermocouple appeared to work correctly, the measurements were incorrect.

The thermocouple appeared to work correctly, but the measurements were incorrect.

The thermocouple appeared to work correctly; the measurements were incorrect.

Question: Choose the best answer. Identify the answer with the correct diction (word usage).

Choices:

I do not think that this infers that I broke the thermocouple.

The performance infers that you broke the thermocouple.

Are you implying that I am careless with the thermocouples?

The evidence would lead the careful observer to imply that you are careless with the thermocouples.

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Source:  Dr. Steve Gibbs. Engineering Communication. The Saylor Academy 2014, http://www.saylor.org/courses/me304/
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