ENC2210: Technical Writing


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Course Description and Objectives:

The aim of this course is to prepare you for writing and designing documents in technical and professional discourse communities. You will produce a number of technical genres—correspondence, reports, a proposal, and instructions—for various technical and lay audiences. Some of these assignments are taken from cases based on real-world situations and present you with a set of rhetorical considerations and constraints. Other assignments ask you to help identify actual situations to which you will respond. In both cases we will approach technical writing rhetorically, discussing such topics as organizational conventions, visual design, and style in the context of specific rhetorical situations.

Class will usually take place in a discussion or workshop format in which you will at different times discuss assigned readings, complete in-class writing and other exercises, critique sample documents, critique peers’ documents, and even lead discussions. Come to class prepared to interact. Because technical writing in the workplace is often collaborative, you will write the last three assignments in small teams.

Course Objectives
• Understand some of the features and processes of technical and professional discourse communities.
• Specify and adapt to the constraints of specific rhetorical situations, including audiences, purposes, and uses.
• Develop strategies for accommodating multiple audiences in one document and for accommodating both technical and lay audiences.
• Learn strategies for making documents accessible and user-centered. These include setting the context and creating pathways through a document.
• Learn to strategically orchestrate elements of document design, including type, spacing, and color.
• Design and integrate tables and figures in a user-centered way.
• Develop individual and collaborative writing processes appropriate for technical documents.
• Learn superstructures and conventions for common technical documents such as correspondence, reports, proposals, and instructions.
• Refine writing style for more strategic clarity, concision, coherence, cohesion, and emphasis.
• Critique and revise your own documents to insure that they fulfill their purposes.
• Form a community of writers with your peers in which you provide one another with extensive written and oral feedback.

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