A note about course calendars: Writing course calendars is more art than science. I try to front-load the calendar with the bulk of our coursework so that we can adjust as needed to everything from student needs to adverse weather conditions. It is very likely that at least some adjustments will be made to this calendar, so plan to check regularly for updates.
Please note: Unless otherwise specified, all readings listed on the calendar are from the Anderson textbook. If you do not have the most recent edition, check the index to make sure you get the material. There is really nothing content-wise that you can't get from an earlier edition as long as you are willing to hunt for it.
Week 1: Introductions, what is technical writing?
Reading: Chapter 1
Week 2: Resumes
Reading: Chapter 2
T: Assignment #1, resumes and cover letters, audience, purpose, and occasion
Week 3: Cover letters
T: Resumes due for peer editing workshops; Be ready to exchange documents with peer editors.
Week 4: Introduction to digital portfolios/Defining communication goals
Reading: Part II
T: Cover letters due for peer editing workshops; Discuss portfolios and digital publishing tools.
Th: WORK DAY: CLASS DOES NOT MEET; Please use this time to establish (free!) accounts on WIX (or other free website builder accounts) Issuu.com, Piktochart.com, and Canva.com. Play around with these so that you're comfortable using them. Other handy tools include the Noun Project, PlaceIt, Pablo, ReciteThis, Tiff, Pictaculous, ColorZilla, PicMonkey, Pixlr, BeFunky, Snappa, and Adobe Color . Assignment #1 due.
Week 5: Reader-centered information
Reading: Part IV (Chs 14-16) "Drafting Visual Elements"
T: Assignment #2, information pages with graphics. Play with fun toys listed above. Technical writing as description versus instruction. The concept of "action requests."
Th: Research and solve a real-life information problem here on campus with DESCRIPTION.
Week 6: Information pages with graphics
Reading: Part IV Continued.
Th: National Instruments recruitment visit. Information pages due for peer editing.
Week 7: Instructions, writing collaboratively
Reading: Instructions on Instructions, "Tell Them How to Do It" (by my friend David McMurrey!)
T: Assignment #2 due. Begin Assignment #3: instructions, user testing, and reporting results. Assign teams
Th: Reading: Skim Part V: Chs 8-13 (Don't panic. I know this sounds like a lot of reading, but it goes really quickly).
Week 8: Instructions
T: Reading: Ch 28--this is instructions for writing instructions. Plan to not only read this material before class, but to also have the book open on your lap while you write your instructions.
Th: Reading: Chs 18-20.
Week 9: Spring Break
Week 10: User testing
T: Instructions due for user testing (in class). Use this template to report test data.
Th: National Instruments Visit (V2)
Week 11: Reporting test results (Empirical data)/Organizational Patterns
Reading: Ch 9
T: Interpreting and presenting test results. Common organization patterns (all information is divisible--how will you divide this information to support your readers' tasks?) Discuss documentation memos for instruction assignment.
Th: Easter Holiday: Class does not meet
Week 12: Building instruction packages with user testing memos
Reading: Ch 25
T: Work on packaging instruction assignment for submission in class.
Th: Begin assignment #4, formal reports and proposals; lecture--find your superstructure (aka, template, macro, etc)
Week 13: Midterm
Reading: Chs 24, 26, 27.
T: Midterm review
WEDNESDAY: Assignment #3 (Instructions) due no later than 11:59 pm
Week 14: Formal reports
T: Discuss formal reports
Th: Workshop formal reports in class
Week 15: Portfolio workshops
T: Workshop formal reports in class.
Th: Assignment #4 (Formal reports) due. Begin portfolios.
Week 16: Portfolio workshops
Portfolios due NO LATER THAN 11:59pm Thursday of Finals Week