|Arts and Letters
English 302W: Technical Writing
Statewide/Worldwide course number: 1154
Summer Intersession, May 10--28, 2021; entirely online
324 Babbitt Academic Annex (not available due to COVID-19)
When enrolled in the course, please send email using the Blackboard mail
tool in the course rather than sending mail to my NAU address.
ENG 105 or HON 190 or HON 191 or equivalent
Disciplinary Writing / Technical Writing
This course fulfills NAU's junior-level writing requirement. This course offers instruction and experience in writing in the form of:
of mechanisms & processes
memos & formal
informal reports resumes & job application letters science
journal critiques HTML documents, either by using Blackboard Vista's internal editor or
another editor analysis of technical documents
memos & formal correspondence
formal & informal reports
resumes & job application letters
science journal critiques
HTML documents, either by using Blackboard Vista's internal editor or another editor
analysis of technical documents
This is not an analytic class where you can succeed by recognizing skills in someone else's writing. Document design (how a document looks on a page) is important. Like it or not, readers make a first judgment of your resume, letter of job application, proposal or similar document based on how it looks. Attention to detail is a watchword for this course. Tech writing differs from composition or analytic essay writing (that you may have done in literature classes) in several ways. Tech writing:
Relies on explicit, formal organization by headlines or a
decimal outline instead of narrative development.
This means your writing in this course should be organized by topics identified by headings & subheadings.
Is not author-centered writing that expresses your feelings
& ideas. It is reader-centered producing job-related
information used by readers to solve problems.
Integrates visual material, which in the sciences, is likely to be at least as important, if not more important, as the exposition.
Is often produced by a team process involving SMEs (subject matter experts),
graphic artists, editors, usability testers,
lawyers, compliance officers, & others. Documents are not single-author controlled. The document belongs to the company, not you.
Markel, Mike. Practical Strategies for Technical Communication, 2nd ed., 2016. ISBN-13: 9781319003364 Bedford/St. Martin's. Amazon used price: $24 (04.02.2021).
There is a newer 3rd edition.
Reading: We will read some of the Markel text: chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14.
All of the assignments are fairly short, but they ask for formal documents, which
means that appearance counts as much as content.
Tinkering & revision take time. There is no major paper or project required.
Almost all of the assignments are submitted by posting the document or attachment in the discussion area.
M Tu W Th F Sa Su May 10
Deadlines: These are not strict, as in "the work must be in by 11 pm or I won't accept it." But deadlines are serious, especially for our accelerated schedule. I will accept work from 2 units (chapters) earlier. This means that if the calendar indicates we are working on unit 04, I will take submissions from 03 with a 10% reduction of grade &/or material from unit 02 with a 20% reduction of grade. I will not take earlier material. I will not accept material from 2 units earlier than the one we are working on. At midnight on 28 May 2021 the course ends, meaning that I will not accept submissions after this.
Discussion: These are not simply a convenient way to submit assignments. You are responsible for reading all the posts in each lessons & responding to a few that interest you most. Peer interaction is an important element of the course. See how your peers design, organize, & illustrate their assignments, which offer a comparison to your work. The course is not simply a tutorial between you & me.
Tech writing documents are business & professional documents. Every reader makes an initial judgment based on how the document or Webpage looks. In this course your documents must look professional. Since this is a Web course, the medium for your writing is electronic. You will only submit a few documents as MS Word attachments. Most submissions use the Discussion tool.
A: 90% of the accumulated points in the course