Connections 20018. Communicating Information
Information abounds. A liberal arts education should seek to instill not only the ability to acquire and produce information, but also the ability to organize and communicate it effectively.
ENG 280 asks students to articulate problems, make recommendations and to support those recommendations using information expressed as numbers, words and visuals. MATH 211 similarly challenges students to analyze information in the form of problems and to convey those analyses as solutions using symbols, words and visuals. Language and logic, in both courses, are a means of learning material and developing thinking processes; both courses implicitly and explicitly address the false dichotomy between numbers and words. Students in Professional and Technical Writing learn that data play a crucial role in the construction of effective professional arguments.
Additionally, both courses use group problem solving and collaborative communication. An exercise involving the description and reproduction of a Lego model in MATH 211, for example, parallels an abstract-drawing process-writing exercise in ENG 280. Effective communication in both courses also explores the visual display of quantitative information, as students read and design charts, graphs and/or figures; in ENG 280, document design (e.g., font selection, page layout, spacing, and so on) also serves as an important rhetorical element.