Viva voce examinations in Technical Writing

The main aim of Alfaisal University is to provide its students with the educational level (in content and skills) to be of service to the private sector in order to contribute to the development of Saudi Arabia. In pursuit of this mission, on Monday 12 November, students in 3rd year Industrial Engineering – and one Life Scientist – took to the floor for 1½ hours in a public defense of the groundwork for the capstone project research required for their Technical Writing (ENG222) course.

The research posters they produced were the summative evaluation part of the project, and this viva voce event marked the formative evaluation part. Three presentations posters were on display:

  • two students presenting on the comparative value of precast/prefab concrete forms and how this relates to the presence or absence of standard operating procedures in operational work flow at a Saudi company;
  • two students presenting on railway network development in the KSA and how industrial engineering decision-making accounts for geological data in relation to railway planning; and
  • one student presenting on the water resource problem in KSA in relation to water availability, water utilization practices, and associated technologies such as desalination.

Each group reported not only on their literature research, but also on the interviews they had conducted with professionals in the KSA scientific and business community, in this way, linking classroom content to actual institutional operation in society at large to develop a realistic sense of actual industrial engineering and scientific practice.  Now that this part has been accomplished, the rest of the ENG222 course will be devoted to developing Case Studies and PBL (problem-based learning) scenarios – all written up by the students themselves, once again linking literature research and active involvement with stakeholders and decision-makers in the community.

The Dean of College of Science and General Studies, Prof. Norman Swazo said, “The students showed themselves informed on their topics, had a sense of what additional work might be done, communicated their ideas clearly and competently, and responded to questions and comments attentively and with appropriate information.  This is precisely the sort of student development in course-work that our university values.” HRH Princess Maha al Saud, Alfaisal’s Executive Director for External Affairs said, “I was so delighted with the students’ knowledge level, enthusiasm and conduct. Grilling them was a joy, and they were not fazed at all.” Dr. Abiola Senok (Alfaisal Microbiology & Immunology) noted, “It was a pleasure to participate in the session today. The students were highly articulate and confident. To face a panel of 4-5 professors, all drawn from different fields, to make a presentation, to answer a barrage of questions, and all the while remain poised and confident is no mean feat. Congratulations to the students for a job well done”.