Faculty on Writing
Professor: Associate Professor Daryl Kobie
Department: Department of Construction Technology and Electronics
Interviewed By: Joe Peretto
Date: October 2, 2007
In my interview with Associate Professor Daryl Kobie, we talked about his views on the importance of writing for students at Northern Michigan University. From my experience with Professor Kobie in CN353 Soils and Foundations, I know that he views writing as an important skill for all professions. Our conversation further confirmed my thoughts on Professor Kobie’s views of writing. We discussed Professor Kobie’s classes and grading criteria, his views and experiences with writing, and his knowledge of the Writing Center.
Professor Kobie teaches the following courses at NMU:
CN151 Introduction to the Construction Industry
CN251 Field Operations
CN278 Mechanical and Electrical Systems in Buildings
CN353 Soils and Foundations
CN358 Bidding Strategies
ET250 Electrical Motors, Generators, and Transformers
ET252 Industrial Motor Controls
Professor Kobie assigns summaries on articles or concepts presented in class to check students’ conceptual understanding, to improve their communication skills, and to practice writing. The frequency and difficulty of Professor Kobie’s assignments depend on the class level. At the 100 level, Professor Kobie’s grading focuses mostly on content, clarity, and the basic use of grammar. Grammar, professionalism, and punctuation become more important at the 200 and 300 levels. The most common problem he sees from students is the struggle with organizing their written thoughts. Professor Kobie works with APA format for the citations in his writing assignments. The use of industry terminology and higher level vocabulary is important when writing assignments for his classes.
After talking about Professor Kobie’s classes and grading criteria, we discussed his views and experiences with writing. Professor Kobie has composed thousands of e-mails to communicate between groups of tradesmen and management within the construction industry. He has written price quotations on projects and packages of work, letters debating job criteria, and the proposal of jobs. Professor Kobie feels writing is an important skill for students in all fields. He believes clear writing is needed to convey thoughts and communicate with others. Professor Kobie teaches e-mail as a serious communication tool and he feels that when communicating through e-mail, a professional tone needs to be maintained.
Also, I asked Professor Kobie about his experiences with the Writing Center and if he had ever recommended his students use the center for help with their papers. Professor Kobie’s students usually do not bring their assignments to the Writing Center. From a class of forty, only one student would use the Writing Center. He receives documentation of which students visited the center, the date, and how long the student’s session was. Each semester Professor Kobie sees a couple students use the Writing Center for his classes. He notes no increase in the number of students using the Writing Center in his classes compared to past semesters. I asked him if papers brought to the Writing Center were better, on the average, than papers not worked through the center. He confirmed papers brought to the Writing Center were clearer and more logically structured than papers not worked through the center. He also noted that grammar and punctuation suffered on the papers that were not brought in for tutoring. In the past, Professor Kobie has not recommended his students use the Writing Center, but I encouraged him to inform his students about the capabilities of the tutoring service. He assured me that in the future he will mention the Writing Center in his classes. Professor Kobie also knows that the Writing Center is located near Starbucks in the Learning Resource Center and that tutoring takes place on a walk-in basis.
This interview provided me with the opportunity to further my relationship with one of my instructors. Throughout the interview, Professor Kobie confirmed my ideas of writing’s importance for students in all curricula. He believes that writers need to convey their meanings in an effective and professional manner. Professor Kobie views writing as a major communication skill that is used daily by students and professionals.