Engineering Design & Technical Communication


Engineering Design and Technical Communication (EGR101L) provides first-year students with the knowledge and experience needed to become successful engineers. Typically this experience is not offered to undergraduates until the second half of the academic career.

EGR101L inverts the traditional teaching method by delivering lectures outside of the class (topic based videos, student team videos, online quizzes) and moving “homework” into the class with in-class activities (hands-on, collaborative). This flipped-classroom requires students to come prepared for class time in order to be able to participate in relevant topic exercises in groups.

Students collaborate on teams and learn, practice, and implement:

Project Management and Planning

Team members use a combination of Gantt Charts, Work Breakdown Structures, and other project management tools to define roles and “deliverables,” lay out a time management schedule with deadlines, and scope materials to stay within a budget.

Students quickly learn that project planning costs do not equal the cost of producing a product.

Prototyping (from low- to high- fidelity)

Students begin learning about prototyping using low fidelity materials – construction paper, straws, string, glue, balloons – on a small scale to present a concept. As their knowledge of the engineering process, the materials/tools in the makerspace, and the context of their client’s problem/goal grows, their prototypes become increasingly “real” in scale and materials. When the team believes they have their solution defined, they create a prototype out of high-fidelity materials (wood, PVC, acrylic, metal, 3D printed materials, etc).

Students create a prototype that is portable, convenient/usable, and durable.

Professional Development

The course offers unique opportunities to develop technical as well as “soft” skills like teamwork, communication, conflict mediation, leadership and followership. These skills match employers’ desired trains.

Students learn that professionalism goes beyond working with their team and classmates. They learn how to work with faculty, clients, and mentors.


As students learn the engineering design process, they simultaneously learn how to communicate their ideas in two formats: technical memos and oral presentations using visual supplements (posters and power points). Technical memos use precise technical language, supported with numerical values, justified by clear technical reasoning. Technical memos organize information so that it is easy to navigate and process. 

Presentations are held various times throughout the semester to update peers, clients, and mentors on the status of a project. Sharing a stage, teams learn how to project professionalism and energy, maintain stance and posture, and to use effective gesturing, eye contact, and voice quality.

Students learn to share presentation time, what to include/exclude within a time limit, and how to communicate engineering ideas to non-engineers.

Enrollment Process and Deadlines

EGR101 is a required course for all first-year Pratt students.