Zhongchao Tan, MME Professor, writes and publishes a resource book amid COVID-19 Isolation

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

In isolation due to COVID-19Zhongchao (Chao) Tan, Professor of University of Waterloo’s Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, spent two months writing and self-publishing an English resource book because he understands first-hand the formal, non-native, English writing challenges to engineering international students who come to Canada from another country.

the book cover
This 202-page book, released on May 27, 2020, Academic Writing for Engineering Publication: Guidelines for Non-native English Speakersis available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon Canada, USA, Italy, Japan, UK, France, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, etc. It has already made the charts and the price was intentionally set low by Tan, so it would be affordable for students. It’s hit the Amazon.ca charts as #3 (books) and #5 (e-books) in the category of Technical Thinking and Writing (Kindle Store), and #65 in Engineering (books) – a mere two books down from Strunk and Whites, The Elements of Style.

Tan decided to write this book to help faculty members prepare their students for formal writing in engineering. 

"This book is aimed at international students, who have to write in English. As a Chinese Canadian, who has studied and worked in the USA and Canada for 21 years, I am well-positioned to understand the language and cultural differences between the east and the west." Zhongchao Tan says.

Academic Writing for Engineering Publication: Guidelines for Non-native English Speakers chapters include ethics and professionalism, outline, first draft, paragraphs, sentences, words and phrases, punctuation, final formatting, and proofreading. Tan says, “most international students studying in English speaking countries are capable of reading and understanding other authors’ writing. As an engineering faculty member, however, I have seen many students who need systematic training in writing for their course projects, conference papers, journal articles, and theses.” The University of Waterloo has a Writing and Communications Centre with a English Practice Community.

Snippet from the Preface:

“Following the guidelines in this book, the writers can write with clarity and conciseness. The readers of this book are not limited to non-native English speakers either. All postsecondary and graduate students may find that this book balances between writing theory and simplicity. Students and researchers in engineering schools as well as professionals working in engineering industries may find valuable writing techniques in this book. It is deemed useful to new or experienced writers; they should be able to further convey complex technical information in a simple way. Motivated students can use the book as self-study materials to improve their writing skills. The book can be also used as teaching materials for both undergraduate and graduate students in engineering discipline, especially for non-native speakers of English.”

This is the third book Tan has authored and he has co-authored a fourth book. Two of them are published by Springer as textbooks, Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases: From Basic Concepts to Engineering Applications for Air Emission Control;Mass and Energy Balances: Basic Principles for Calculation, Design, and Optimization of Macro/nano Systems. Tan’s fourth book is about modern Chinese history titled, Walking in the Mud (in Chinese).

He adds, “Training students in writing skills is important to their employability and career advancement. However, few engineering schools offer technical writing courses.”

Tan Zhongchao

Perhaps his next book should be how to use your time efficiently during a pandemic!

Where to Purchase

Tan's Other Books on Amazon: