DELTA created a set of six videos for the Professional Writing Program that feature three working professionals talking about the importance of communication and writing skills in their workplace.

Instructional Challenges

  • Helping non-writing students (e.g. engineering majors, business majors, science majors) understand that the writing and communication skills emphasized in the professional writing classes are actually important in the real world.
  • Engaging students so that they watch the videos and listen to the speakers rather than tuning them out.


The instructors identified a set of three working professionals (two engineers and a business professional) in the Triangle area. The speakers were given a set of questions to discuss. These questions asked about real-world examples and experiences that highlight the importance of writing and communication. The resulting videos are posted and available for all Professional Writing instructors and students to use.

In order to increase engagement and communicate with all students, several strategies were used:

  • The three speakers had different levels of experience (25 years in the engineering field, 15 years in the engineering field, 5 years in the business field) and included both genders.

  • These are TRUE stories. Everything discussed actually happened to these people on the job and they discuss results from what happened. They are discussing incidents where there had been better resumes, writing, reports, then problems wouldn’t have happened.

  • Shooting with digital cinema cameras and shooting in this interesting environment were both intended to increase interest.

  • The camera angles were intended to give the viewer the feeling of being at the table and listening to these professionals.

  • Scattered throughout the videos are useful and usable hints, tricks, and ideas like how to use LinkedIn, ways to use PowerPoint, how to present a new engineering concept in a patent application and more. There are practical nuggets of information if students will listen to them.

  • Careful preparation of the speakers and their stories ahead of time and ruthless editing of the footage after shooting resulted in efficient delivery of lots of information in each video.

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