Scientist/Technologist Track

In ENGL 2311: Technical and Business Writing, you study the principles, techniques, and skills needed in scientific, technical, or business writing. The course includes instruction in the writing of reports, letters, and other exercises applicable to a wide range of disciplines and careers, along with emphasis on clarity, conciseness, and accuracy of expression. Research techniques, information design, effective use of graphics, and preparation and presentation of oral reports is also covered.

Technical and Business Writing is a writing-intensive course; be ready to produce writing projects every weeks and a lot of reading and practice in between. As a 12-week course, this course is particularly brisk. Whenever possible, try to work ahead of the schedule.

This is the special Iechnologist/Scientist Track (recommended for science and technology majors). The other tracks are the Entrepreneur Track (applicable to any major) and the Technical Communicator Track (recommended for people considering a technical writing career).

Semester/year Fall 2017
Instructor David McMurrey
Class meetings Online class
Office & hours Tuesday and Thursday: Northridge Campus 4225 12:00pm-3:30pm (Always call 512.223.4804 to ensure I'm there.)
Phone 512.223.4804 (Northridge Campus)
E-mail davidm@austincc.edu

Week of September 25

In this first week, find out about the course and get going on the first unit, which is resumes and application letters. You can start this week getting ready to write the resume and application letter.

Introductions & startup. Let's find out who we are and what this class is all about.

Start-up activities Watch and listen to course overview. (ACCstudent is the password.)
Note: You may need to click the Full Screen button to be able to see better and be ready to click the Pause button if things go too fast. This video is from last year; a few things have changed for this year's course.
Go through the list of startup activities to get going in this course.
due—Sept. 27
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about technical communication (no quiz)
Read about audience and take the quiz.
Read about business correspondence and take the quiz.
due—Sept. 27

Grammar, usage, punctuation review. Use the following exercises and learn to recognize and correct some of the most common errors in writing projects in this course.

Writer's bootcamp No matter how good your writing projects in this course, the errors listed above will be devastating to your grade. Keep in mind that you must complete these exercises before your writing assignments will be accepted. due—Oct. 8
Formatting, revising The following formatting and revision practice items are optional:
Using the provided text, build, format, and edit the text of one resume. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, build, format, and edit the text of one application letter. (Ask me for the key.)

Week of October 2

Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about resumes and take the quiz on resumes
Read about application letters and take the quiz on application letters
due—Oct. 4

Writing project Complete your own resume, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.)
Also, Complete your own application letter, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.)

Note: You are not required to do the optional exercises that are in gray lettering. However, doing them ensures you will have a greater chance of success on your writing projects in this course.
due—Oct. 8

Week of October 9

Descriptions and graphics. This and next week, you study technical description and write a two-page description yourself. In this most basic of technical writing, you attempt to description a mechanical or natural object in extreme detail. To supplement your written description, you study graphics and include at least one illustration of what you are describing.

Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about description and take the quiz
Read about graphics and take the quiz
due—Oct. 11
Writing project Start thinking about your own description, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Oct. 22
Formatting The following formatting practice item is optional:
Using the provided text, build and format a description. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text and graphic, import and position a graphic. (Ask me for the key.)
Process writing and vertical lists. Also this and next week, you study process discussions and write a two-page process discussion yourself. In this other most basic of technical writing, you discuss the steps or phases in a natural or mechanical process in extreme detail. To supplement your process discussion, you study vertical lists and use at least one in the process that you are writing about.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about process writing and take the quiz
Read about lists and take the quiz
due—Oct. 18
Writing project Start thinking about your own process discussion, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Oct. 22
Formatting The following formatting practice item is optional:
Using the provided text, build and format a process discussion. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, reformat to include vertical lists. (Ask me for the key.)

Week of October 16

Writing project Don't forget! Your description and process writing projects are due at the end of this week due—Oct. 22
Introductions. Learn what makes up a good introduction—for a long report like you'll be doing later this semester, short reports, and sections within reports.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about introductions and take the quiz. due—Oct. 18

Week of October 23

Cause-effect writing, charts, graphs, and tables. This and next week, you study cause-effect writing and write two pages about some combination of causes or effects yourself. In this essential type of writing for science and technology, you discuss the effects, causes or both associated with natural or mechanical process or events in extreme detail. You will also study charts, graphs, and tables and see how they can be used in writing about science and technology. Include at least one chart, graph, or table in your causal discussion.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about cause-effect writing and take the quiz
Read about tables and take the quiz
due—Oct. 25
Writing project Start thinking about your own causal discussion, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Nov. 5
Formatting The following formatting practice item is optional:
Using the provided text, build and format a causal discussion. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, create tables. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, create charts. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, create graphs. (Ask me for the key.)
Definitions and headings. This and next week, you study definitions and write a two-page extended definition of an interesting term yourself. In this essential type of writing, you not only use phrase- and clause-length definitions but also description, process, cause-effect writing as necessary. You will also study comparison and classification writing and see how they can supplment your extended definition. To format your extended definition, you study headings and use at least two.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about definition and take the quiz
Read about headings and take the quiz
due—Nov. 1
Writing project Start thinking about your own definition, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Nov. 5
Formatting The following formatting practice item is optional:
Using the provided text, build and format an extended definition. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, format text with headings. (Ask me for the key.)

Week of October 30

Writing project Don't forget! Your causal and definition writing projects are due at the end of this week due—Nov. 5

Week of November 6

Instructions and notices. This and next week, you study how to write instructions and how to use special notices (cautions, warnings, dangers, notes). You'll write your own set of instructions complete with headings, vertical lists, graphics, and notices—a real wrapup of what you've been doing the past 6 weeks in this course.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about notices and take the quiz
Read about task analysis and take the quiz.
Read about instructions and take the quiz
due—Nov. 8
Writing project Start thinking about your own instructions, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Nov. 19
Formatting The following formatting practice item is optional:
Using the provided text, build and format instructions. (Ask me for the key.)
Using the provided text, format to include notices. (Ask me for the key.)

Week of November 13

Writing project Don't forget! Your instructions writing project is due at the end of this week due—Nov. 19

Week of November 20

Writing project Don't forget! Your instructions were due yesterday (Nov. 19)

Optional revision. If you want to submit one revision for a higher grade, I must receive that revision on or before Dec. 10

Information-searching. Use a strategy for finfing information for your final report.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes

Read about information searching and take the quiz.
Use the information search guide to step you through the process. (Planning notes are not required.)
due—Nov. 22
Documentation. Review another system of indicating the sources of borrowed information.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes

Read about documentation and take the quiz.
due—Nov. 22
Final-report planning. This week, study technical reports, types of reports, topics for reports, report requirements; look at example reports; and start thinking about your own report project, which is due toward the end of the semester. Specifically, pick a topic, and invent or find a real or realistic audience, purpose, and situation. Notice that the assignment for this week is the report (see below).
Online textbook readings Read about reports in types of reports.
Review
report examples
Read about technical handbooks
Take the technical reports quiz.
due—Nov. 22
Writing project Start thinking about your final report. To the right are the due dates for the preliminary and final drafts for your report. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Dec. 10
(preliminary draft)
Dec. 13
(drafts returned)
due—Dec. 17
(final draft)
Report memo project Here is a bunch of crazy, fascinating science and technology items from gizmag.com that I have been collecting. For the adventuresome!

Post your report project notes so that your instructor and the rest of the class can view them. (Don't forget: this assignment receives a grade.)
View the report memos to see what others are doing for their final report projects.
View the past report project memos to see what others have done for their final report projects.

due—Nov. 22
Formatting Using the provided text, build and format a technical report. (Ask me for the key.)


Week of November 27

Optional revision. If you want to submit one revision for a higher grade, I must receive that revision on or before Dec. 11
Writing project Don't forget! Your report memo was due last week. due—Nov. 22
Report projects Prepare your oral report, due on the date shown to the right. (Planning notes are not required.) due—Dec. 10
Final technical report. For the remainder of the semester, do a variety of activities to get you ready to write your final report: look at examples of technical reports, format and revise technical reports, practice writing the executive summary, and more. (Planning notes are not required.)
Writing project Review this information about the final report requirements
Please use this template for your report, handbook, guide—whatever you call it.
Use this video to see how to use the prototype.
Use this video to see how to construct a professional-looking table of contents for your report.
due—Dec. 10
(preliminary draft)
Dec. 13
(drafts returned)
due—Dec. 17
(final draft)

Week of December 4

Optional revision. If you want to submit one revision for a higher grade, I must receive that revision on or before Dec. 10
Final report. Keep working on your final report!
Oral reports. This week, review the requirements for the oral report, and then start planning for a 7-minute oral-report script on your formal-report project or some other topic. (Because this is an online class, this will be a script instead of audio or in person. If you can produce a computer audio file, contact your instructor.)
Online textbook
readings & quizzes

Read about oral reports and take the quiz.
due—Dec. 6
Cross-referencing. Learn or review how to refer to other sections of your reports or to other external resources from your reports.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes

Read about cross-referencing and take the quiz.


due—Dec. 6
Abstracts, executive summaries, introductions. Learn about the various types of summaries (abstracts, executive summaries) that accompany technical reports and that will be an important part of your own final report.
Online textbook
readings & quizzes
Read about abstracts and summaries and take the quiz.
due—Dec. 6
Writing project due—Dec. 10
(preliminary draft)
Dec. 13
(drafts returned)
due—Dec. 17
(final draft)

Week of December 11

Writing project Your preliminary report draft was due yesterday. due—Dec. 10
(preliminary draft)
Dec. 13
(drafts returned)
due—Dec. 17
(final draft)



Informal course evaluation Course evaluation form

Maintained by davidm@austincc.edu.