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Writing Coach

Writing and Public Speaking Coach


Today's cohort of undergraduates do not have well developed writing skills. There are a myriad causes. For many, English is a second language. For others aiming at an engineering career, writing skills are incorrectly believed to be unimportant. The most common cause of poor writing skills is lack of previous experience in high school. Many colleges and universities, including the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, have a campus writing center where tutors are available to help students prepare their essays for courses. Our approach was to engage a professional writer/editor to come in on a fee-for-service basis for a 2-hour workshop with the cadets when they had prepared the first draft of their final report. Each team of two cadets was responsible for a topic in both the written version of the final report and also in the oral presentation of the final report. To impress the students with the importance of writing skills, the outside editor was engaged and the students knew that he was a professional working for them on a fee-for-service basis, paid by the grant.


There was a last-minute change of plans and Professor Black of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy was kind enough to substitute for the editor. Professor Black teaches a class in public speaking, and he did double duty by attending the dress rehearsal of the oral reports. He coached the student presenters in effective speaking techniques and effective use of audio visual materials.