Professional & Technical Writing Syllabus

Course Purpose

This course is designed to help undergraduate students improve their workplace and technical writing communication skills. The course is an introduction to

  • workplace writing genres (e.g., memos, proposals, recommendation reports, and infographics).
  • visual literacy, visual rhetoric, and principles of design.
  • the techniques and types of professional and technical writing, including correspondence and reports. It is designed to help strengthen skills of effective business and professional communication in both oral and written modes.

Course Description

Coursework involves three major projects along with a final course reflection. These projects include collaborative work, peer editing, and several multi-part assignments.

  1. Revise, Redesign, Edit: Tailoring Documents for Audiences
    1. Rhetorical Analysis Memo
  2. Extended Group Project: Consulting Simulation
    1. Problem-Definition Heuristic
    2. Client Proposal
    3. Team Charter
    4. Project Management Portfolio + Bibliography Template
    5. Group Research Proposal
    6. Research Notes + Executive Summary
    7. Visual Progress Report
    8. Recommendation Report
    9. Evaluation Memo
  3. Infographic
  4. Final Reflection

How to Succeed in this Course

Learning to write well takes practice and effort. Attending class, listening to feedback (from me and peers), and putting the time in is essential to your development as a writer. Academic credit is a measure of the time commitment required of a typical student in a specific course. The anticipated time commitment for this course is 3 hours of work per week for each credit hour (a minimum of 9 hours per week). Students can expect your weekly time commitment to be: 

  • Class time (lecture, discussion, activities) 3 hrs/week
  • Reading 2 hrs/week
  • Homework and take-home assignments .5 hrs/week
  • Formal and informal writing and research activities 3.5 hrs/week
  • Total hours 9 hrs./week


AssignmentDeliverablesTime on Task Points Percent of Overall Grade
Project 1 3 original texts 3 weeks10020% 
Project 2 9 texts8 weeks 20040% 
Project 3 2 texts2 weeks10020% 
Project 4:1 text2 weeks10020%

Suggested Readings
How Can You Become an Effective Communicator?
What Are the Benefits of Strong Communication Skills?

What is Communication?

Why Does Writing (or Public Speaking) Matter?

Tentative Schedule

WeekAssignments & Due Dates
Week 1Project 1, Milestone 1: Rhetorical Analysis Memo
Week 2
Week 3Project 1, Milestone 2: Revise, Redesign, Edit: Tailoring Documents for Audiences
Week 4Project  2, Milestone 1:  Problem-Definition Template
Week 5Project 2, Milestone 2: Client Proposal
Week 6Project 2, Milestone 3: Team Charter
Week 7Project 2, Milestone 4: Project Management Portfolio
Week 8Project 2, Milestone 5: Group Research Proposal
Week 9Project 2, Milestone 6: Research Notes
Week 10Project 2, Milestone 7: Visual Progress Report
Week 11Project 2, Milestone 7: Final Recommendation Report
Project 2, Milestone 8: Reflection Memo.
Week 12
Week 13
Project 3: Infographic and memo report due 
Week 14
Week 15Project 4: Final Course Reflection Memo