Engineering Communications, Ethics and Professionalism



Louise MeunierDupuis 211louise.meunier@queensu.ca613-533-6000 x78048



Course Description

This course provides advanced instruction and practice in engineering communications, ethics, and professionalism. Effective engineering writing and speaking skills are developed with an emphasis on technical reports and oral presentations. Students will learn how to gather information from literature sources, apply appropriate citation styles, present data, and write effective documents. Activities include case studies involving the application of codes, engineering ethics, equity, and professionalism. This course is integrated with CHEE 331. (0/0/12/0/0)

PREREQUISITES: APSC 200 or APSC 202, APSC 293 or permission of the Department.

COREQUISITES: CHEE 331, or permission of the Department.

Objectives and Outcomes

The objective of this course is to develop proficiency in written and oral technical communications. Self-assessment and peer review are key components of the course. The course is coupled with CHEE 331 (Design of Unit Operations).

Specific course learning outcomes (CLO) include:

CLO1 Critically evaluate written material, including scholarly sources. CO-Written
CLO2 Present concise, coherent, and grammatically correct materials (written and oral) that reflect critical analysis and synthesis, and appropriately address the needs of the audience. CO-Written
CLO3 Create accurate and complete technical graphics to explain, interpret, and assess information. CO-Graphics
CLO4 Deliver formal and informal oral presentations with appropriate language, style, timing, and flow. CO-Oral
CLO5 Apply principles of engineering ethics and equity to issues encountered during engineering practice. EE-Ethics
IM-Environment IM-Social
CLO6 Analyze social and environmental aspects of engineering activities. IM-Environment IM-Social

This course assesses the following program indicators:

Teamwork (TW)

  • TW-Feedback Share ideas and information by eliciting, giving and applying positive and effective feedback.

Communications (CO)

  • CO-Written Produce clear, concise, precise and well-organized written communication with language appropriate for the audience
  • CO-Graphics Create figures, maps, tables and drawings to engineering report standards
  • CO-Oral Deliver formal and informal oral presentations with suitable language, content, style, timing and flow, while adapting format, content and tone to audience and purpose.

Professionalism (PR)

  • PR-Interpersonal Demonstrate professional conduct and integrity.

Impact of Engineering (IM)

  • IM-Environment Evaluate the environmental impact of engineering activities and promote environmental stewardship of the natural and built environments.
  • IM-Social Evaluate cultural, societal, and technical norms while maintaining ethical position required for engineering practice in Canada.

Ethics and Equity (EE)

  • EE-Ethics Identify and resolve potential ethical issues using ethical principles and codes, demonstrating knowledge of professional accountability in engineering.
  • EE-Equity Intentionally incorporate principles of fairness, access and opportunity into decision making.

Lifelong Learning (LL)

  • LL-Information Identify, organize, and critically evaluate information from an appropriate range of sources, to meet learning needs.
  • LL-Acquisition Independently acquire new knowledge and skills for ongoing personal and professional development.
  • LL-Reflection Evaluate and reflect on own knowledge, skills and learning.

Relevance to the Program

This course builds on communication and professionalism skills introduced in APSC100, APSC200, and APSC293. These skills will be used in the fourth-year projects, and in future engineering work.

Course Structure and Activities

Activities will be completed individually, in groups, online, in preparation for, and during the two-period facilitated weekly workshops during the term.

Support material will be posted in advance on the course learning management system (LMS).


Students should study assigned materials and prepare draft assignments for feedback during workshops. Students are expected to refine their assignments during workshops with the help of instructors; peer editing will also be encouraged. Workshops are intended as consultation time with instructors and group work for both CHEE 331 and CHEE 361 assignments.

In group assignments, each group member is expected to contribute fairly and equitably. In the event of serious deficiencies in the contributions (e.g. observed by instructor, through peer assessments, or through complaints from other group members and/or teaching assistants), the student will be issued a written warning, stating the expectations and timeline for remediation and compliance. The student may be assigned individual work to compensate for a lack of contribution. If the student does not comply within the specified time frame, a second written warning will be issued (with a copy to the Associate Head and Undergraduate Chair). Failure to comply will result in automatic expulsion from the group, and possibly a failing mark in the assignment and/or in the course. A peer evaluation form is available through the LMS. This form may be filled out by a group member at any time during the semester. The form must be submitted to the instructor, who will take appropriate action in response to this submission (response may include a request for each group member to fill out a peer evaluation, individual meetings, group meetings, and follow up action as described above).


All resources, including instructions and details for each assignment, will be available from the course LMS.