“Effective technical communication is honest, clear, accurate, comprehensive, accessible, concise, professional in appearance, and correct.” – Mike Markel
Syllabus and Course Schedule
303 Syllabus (PDF, 857 KB).
Contains full course description, required materials, discussion of course policies, an overview of class assignments, and grading standards. Updated: September 6, 2018.
Rubric (with Writing Corrections Sheet)
303 Rubric 2018 Rev3 (PDF, 256 KB).
The course rubric is based largely on Markel’s Eight Measures of Excellence (clear, comprehensive, accessible, concise, professional in appearance, correct, accurate, and honest) and Auburn University’s Chemical Engineering Department’s Technical Report Rubric. Updated: 8 April 2018.
Writing Corrections Instructions (PDF, 214 KB).
Use the rubric above to help fill out the writing corrections sheet (influenced by Laura Randazzo’s 5-Minute Essay Grading System available from Teachers Pay Teachers). Updated: 8 April 2018.
Course Description and Objectives
(Excerpts—see Course Syllabus above for full information.)
This course requires different criteria from those used in composition courses, both in teaching and in evaluating students’ work. This course emphasizes writing on scientific and technical topics, geared toward a targeted audience by the proper choice of format and writing style.
English 102. It is assumed that you have basic knowledge and skill in American English grammar, style, usage, and persuasive and expository writing (English 101 skills).
Technical writing is used in many technical and professional fields. Its goal is to accurately and concisely convey direction, explanation, or instruction to specific audiences of varying levels of technical knowledge so that each audience member clearly understands the information they need.
Since the world is increasingly dependent upon technology, good technical writing is increasingly important. This course is designed to acquaint you with the understanding and tools needed for creating and designing quality communication for the professional environment. After the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Communicate using Markel’s Eight Measures of Excellence: honesty, clarity, accuracy, comprehensiveness, accessibility, conciseness, professional appearance, and correctness.
- Evaluate the communication situation: audience, purpose, and context.
- Create effective professional memos, proposals, technical definitions, and reports.
- Integrate effectively visual items in technical documents,
- Understand how to analyze, incorporate, and properly attribute data from research.
- Use a cover letter, résumé, and LinkedIn profile in an effective job search.
- Continue developing life-long learning and self-editing skills.
- Use Word effectively in document design.
Expectation of Outside-of-Class Work
This is a demanding and challenging class. Writing is an involved process for any writer. At this point we expect you to be at Hard-Mode difficulty level (to use a video game analogy). You should be able to figure out some things for yourself given the right information and tools and be trusted to submit completed assignments on time. I expect ethical and professional behavior in this class.
“Easy reading is damned hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
This class demands a high quality for ideas and for how those ideas are communicated: correct formatting is as important as correct grammar. You will not be able to throw an assignment together at the last minute and expect to pass. If you are not able or willing to devote the time and effort, I urge you to drop this class until you can.
 Includes knowledge of comparison/contrast, causal analysis, definition, and argumentation rhetorical modes.