ENGL 314: Technical Writing

Technical Writing is a subject where your creative brain and your analytical brain can meet. The intent of this class is to prepare you for the type of professional communication you are likely to engage in during your first post-college jobs and beyond. This course focuses on technical communication: the presentation of specialized information in an accessible way to a variety of different audiences, but audiences who, no doubt, will expect clarity, accuracy, and professionalism from you.

This class stresses the key skills that highlight a successful professional technical communicator. Specifically, we will focus on the process of writing (including the planning, drafting, and revising stages) and look carefully at the work that goes into the final polished product. As collaboration is often a key part of the professional realm, you’ll spend much of the semester working with your classmates, which will include participating in brainstorming sessions, providing constructive criticism, and preparing for your final projects together.

You will produce several types of writing this semester. The assignments are designed to produce usable technical documents as you would for a client and to provide you with opportunities to gain hands-on experience with real communication challenges.

In addition, we will also focus building a web presence. This is important because as the internet becomes and increasingly large part of our lives, we leave an increasingly large digital footprint. Every time we go online, in any capacity, that footprint grows. The problem with this footprint is that it can be used against us. One way we can manage that footprint is by establishing and controlling our web presence. To that end, you will each create a WordPress blog that will be used for both collaboration with classmates and to house final versions of our main assignments. When you have finished this course, the blog can then act as a digital portfolio that can be used when applying to jobs. 

In this class, students can expect to:

  • Acquire and administer a personal web domain.
  • Establish an eportfolio that can be used to professional purposes.
  • Identify and implement appropriate research methods for each writing task.
  • Understand and practice the skills needed to produce competent, professional writing, including planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Improve artifacts by drafting and revising in multiple iterations.
  • Actively collaborate and participate online with cohort members through discussion, group assignments, and peer review.
  • Improve competence in Standard Written English (including grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, coherence, and document design) and use this knowledge to revise texts.
  • Explore and assess various forms of technical writing, and consider the variable factors that can influence the creation of a document.
  • Reflect on and critically discuss the process of writing and editing documents.
  • Gather and annotate timely and relevant research on the topics of technical writing, web presence, and professional development.

As a way of addressing the challenges of an online class, I have designed this course with the intention of building community. Please feel free to ask questions and to post resources that you have found that are related to our course content. You should also try to engage your classmates by responding to their posts and by asking them questions as well.

I look forward to working all of you this semester. 


Warm regards,

Dr. Carolyn Stice