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  • 1.  Listening By DesignTM

    Posted 09-18-2023 12:08 PM

    Hearing is the process, function, or power of perceiving sound. 

    Listening is paying attention to a message in order to hear it, understand it, and physically or verbally respond to it.

    Q. Given engineering education does not address this technical explanation of a so-called "Soft Skill,"

    what value might including this learning within the BSCE/MSCE programs add to workplace program/project work?



    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 2.  RE: Listening By DesignTM

    Posted 09-25-2023 10:57 AM

    Dear Bill, as an engineering professor, our students have many shortcomings in many basic technical aspects and knowledge that should be cultivated in their passage through school. Universities and engineering programs shouldn't have to explain the concepts of hearing and listening since they are basic concepts that should be understood from childhood. Otherwise, the whole formative process would be inert. 
    As you mentioned, concepts should be revisited, but in a Communication skills class in the first semester.



    Andres Guzman D.Eng., MEng, Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor

  • 3.  RE: Listening By DesignTM

    Posted 09-25-2023 10:58 AM

    Super idea, Mike.

    It needs to be learned somewhere, somehow. Instead of listening, most of us are composing our reply, particularly if the topic is contentious. It's said that one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s great strengths was total focus on the person speaking to him. He heard and absorbed before responding.

    I have observed "active listening," the practice of repeating back to a person their exact words, turn a hostile exchange into a pleasant discussion. It sounds silly, but it works.

    The undergrad Technical Communication course might be the place to teach good listening. Perhaps adding a required grad course in Advanced Tech Communication would be a good idea.

    Has anyone encountered good listening in a college class?


    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., BC.CE, BC.NE, F.ASCE
    Columbus MS