Technical and Business Writing

ENGW 3335

TR 2-3:15

JBWS 186

Textbook

Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach, 8th ed. 

Paul V. Anderson

This course is designed to prepare students for authoring documents in various workplace genres. Students will compose several types of workplace communication, such as correspondence, instructions, white papers, business reports, handbooks and oral presentations. Special emphasis will be placed on analyzing the rhetorical dimensions of the workplace: writing for multiple audiences, communicating complex and detailed information, and conforming to institutional style and formatting guidelines. Students are not expected to have prior workplace experience or a specialized technical background to take this course. 

Instructor

Beth Eakman Re

Andre Hall #302

CM Box #998

beths@stedwards.edu

www.betheakmanre.com

512.468.2228 (if you text, please identify yourself)

Note: While I try to use Canvas for as much class work as possible, I also have the above listed website with your course information. Please bookmark and check it often. 

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

This course is designed to prepare students for authoring documents in various workplace genres. Students will compose several types of workplace communication, such as correspondence, instructions, white papers, business reports, handbooks and oral presentations. Special emphasis will be placed on analyzing the rhetorical dimensions of the workplace: writing for multiple audiences, communicating complex and detailed information, and conforming to institutional style and formatting guidelines. Students are not expected to have prior workplace experience or a specialized technical background to take this course.

COURSE OVERVIEW

This course is organized around a series of common workplace documents, both hard copy and electronic. Students will work independently and collaboratively to research, design, create, edit, test, and produce professional-quality documents. By the end of the semester, students will use the writing samples they've created to populate a digital portfolio to showcase their work to potential employers. The following is a list of the assigned documents. 

1. Employment application documents: Resumes and cover letters

2. Information page: Explain a scientific concept or technology; includes infographics

3. Instructions

4. User testing and documentation for instructions

5. Formal report or proposal

6. Digital portfolio

GRADING

Your grade for this course will be calculated on a scale of 1000 possible points (not percentages), so it's pretty easy to keep up with your standing. Just add up the points and move the decimal point one position to the left. Occasionally Canvas doesn't play nicely with this system, so if you are concerned at any time about your grade, please do not hesitate to come and talk to me about it.

Assignments: 25%

Of the assignments listed above, 1-5 (everything but the portfolio) gets a Complete (100) or Incomplete (0) along with my comments for revision and a note evaluating the assignment as at, below, or above "spec." See notes on what that means below. The percentage of complete assignments will count for 25% of your grade. So, for example, if 4 of the 5 assignments are complete, you will have an 80 for assignments. To get a complete grade, the assignment must be on time and fulfill the requirements of the assignment. Submissions after the deadline or missing components may receive up to half credit. 

Homework/Daily work: 25%

Quizzes, class activities, homework, and in-class peer editing assignments will be averaged in the same way as assignments. Note: in-class work cannot be made up. This is as close as this class gets to an attendance grade. 

Exams: 25%

Midterm and final exam grades will be averaged for 25% of your final grade. Exams will cover lecture and textbook content and will be mostly short answer. 

Portfolio: 25%

The single largest segment of your final grade comes from your electronic portfolio. Along with your revised assignments and any homework or daily work that you would like to submit as writing samples, your site design and bio should reflect the skills you've developed over the course of the semester. This allows you to make a grade that evaluates what you've learned cumulatively rather than incrementally. You are not required to make this portfolio public. 

 

Attendance

I do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences. Two late arrivals count as an absence. Please note that excessive absences (as determined by individual professors) may result in students being dropped from courses with a grade of W/A (withdrawn for absences). The good news is that perfect attendance adds three points to your final grade.

 

Note: The flu seems to be sweeping the city. If you have the slightest concern that you may have the flu, or strep, or any other contagious plague, get to the health center immediately. This will allow you to both receive treatment and to get official documentation that allows me to make accommodations. PLEASE do not share your contagion with the class, but remember that you MUST have documentation for any exceptions to the attendance policy.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Academic integrity includes not only cheating on quizzes and exams, but also plagiarizing, presenting someone else’s work as your own. The SEU Undergraduate Bulletin states that “The normal penalty for a student who is dishonest in any work is to receive a mark of F for that course. Students who commit academic dishonesty more than once may be subject to expulsion. Please see your Undergraduate Bulletin for a description of the full range of penalties.

 

WRITING CENTER

Your student activities fees entitle you to access to excellent writing tutoring absolutely free of charge. The tutors who work in the Writing Center (in the lovely new library!) are writing professors here at SEU. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this resource. Students who regularly use the writing center typically make better grades than those who do not.

 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

If you have a medical, psychiatric, or learning disability and require accommodations in the class, please present your documentation to me as soon as you are eligible so that we can work together to make the appropriate accommodations. You will need to bring me official documentation from the Student Disability Service Office in Moody Hall 155 in Academic Planning and Support.

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