English 608

ENGL 608
Professional & Technical Writing

1. Catalog Entry

ENGL 608
Professional & Technical Writing

Credit hours (3)

An online course that teaches students to plan, write, revise, and design persuasive professional and technical documents, focusing on the rhetorical, ethical, and social implications of communicating complex information to mixed audiences and of managing writing projects in a team environment.

2. Detailed Description of Course

To help students engage in the professional and technical writing process and master professional and technical writing principles, ENGL 608 may organize units around the following possible topics and subtopics (in parentheses): rhetorical situation analysis (audience, purpose, context), persuasive appeals (ethos, pathos, logos), ethical and legal considerations (copyright, conflict of interest; manipulating, withholding, or falsifying information; plagiarism), professional writing style (clarity, conciseness, fluency, nonsexist language), summaries (summaries, abstracts), activity reports (progress, lab, field, peer review), analytical reports (research, recommendation, feasibility), technical documents (instructions, technical specifications, technical descriptions, technical definitions), graphics (tables, graphs, charts, illustrations, photographs), collaboration (virtual project management, virtual collaboratively writing), and document design and format (headings, bulleted lists, page numbers, headers/footers).

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

English 608 utilizes a variety of instructional strategies, such as video lecture, online discussion board, case studies, and problem-based learning, to help students improve their understanding and composition of professional and technical documents. Students will have multiple opportunities to improve their writing in response to instructor and peer feedback. Finally, because English 608 is a graduate-level course, students will be expected to assume more responsibility and agency in their own learning. To this end, collaborative projects and presentations may be assigned. In completing such projects, students might be asked to write reflectively in order to foster metacognition and learning transfer; some of this reflective writing may be part of a major, end-of-term assignment for the course. This assignment most likely would feed into the ePortfolio capstone course for the certificate program as a whole.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Given that many enrollees are post-baccalaureate students who likely have some professional experience, the course aims to improve students’ abilities to communicate effectively and persuasively in an organizational context. Planning, writing, and revising professional and technical documents receive the bulk of attention in English 610. By the end of the course, students will be able to:
    1) Analyze audience, purpose, and context
    2) Create persuasive, usable, and ethical professional and technical documents
    3) Understand the professional writing process
    4) Use a professional writing style and tone
    5) Summarize research findings and other information
    6) Write activity reports
    7) Write analytical reports
    8) Write technical documents
    9) Create graphics
    10)Work collaboratively
    11)Design and format pages and documents

5. Assessment Measures

Knowledge and application of course principles will be assessed in a number of ways. Students will plan, write, and revise a variety of reports and technical documents.  Students also will analyze the rhetorical, content, design, format, and other features of real-world professional and technical documents, including those they may have produced as part of their professional duties. Students may be asked to present their work and discuss their rhetorical choices with the class. At key moments in the course, students may be asked to engage in metacognitive exercises (e.g., short, reflective writing exercises) to facilitate learning transfer. When theoretical, historical, or other readings are assigned, students may participate in online discussions.

6. Other Course Information