Discourse in Engineering

Blog ยป Discourse in Engineering

Posted on 07 Mar 2013 01:17

The discourse community that I wanted to investigate further is the community of engineers at City College. The document that I decided to look at was the weekly emails from OSRS sent exclusively to all students in the engineering department. A shared goal among all the people in this community is to further all of the students careers and offer the best resources for each student to succeed in life. This community is compromised of two different kinds of people, the administrators, whose goal is to find opportunities to the students and make them aware of them. while the second group of members in this community are the students who accept the information and use it in order to further their careers. It seems that the writers of these emails expects all members of this community to fully take advantage of all they are advertising, but in reality a very few actually are. so though this may be a big community, many are not really an active participant in the discourse. The writers of the document is the assistant professor, and her colleagues. This person is definitely an insider to this community. this is apparent through her emails in which she makes her goals clear and expects the students to do their part in this community. She almost seems like the leader of the community because she has the most interactions between the students and the department as a whole.

a discourse community must share certain things in order to be a community according to Swales, one such thing is lexis. Some of the lexis, or community specific terminology, is REU, OSRS, NIST, IBM. the writer of these emails expects all readers to understand what all this lexis means. This is apparent because there is never an explanation to some of the acronyms and terms used. Another thing Swales says is a necessity for a discourse community, is different written forms of communication. In this community, emails are the main way that information gets passed from faculty to student. other forms of communication in this community is by posters an flyers around the engineering building, and lastly at meetings.

The particular document i chose was an email about upcoming deadlines to scholarships. this email truly emphasizes what the community is about as a whole. the community focuses on helping students and get the information to them as fast and as efficiently as possible. The email was about a deadline for some REU's, which stands for research experience for undergraduates. The document made it quite apparent that anybody not in the engineering department would have no use reading the document much less participate in the community. In my opinion though, a club should revolve around a central meeting place of sorts. In the case of this discourse community there is no real place. theoretically, there is the Grove School of Engineering building, but almost never will you have a truly big group of students there, so that you can interact with fellow members of the community. The way this community is set up is that there is very minimal contact between fellow members of the community. rather most of the interaction of this discourse community occurs between the faculty and students.

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