Professional & Technical Writing Course

This course has four major projects:

  1. Project 1: Tailoring a Document for a Specific Audience
  2. Project 2: Consulting Simulation: Research & writing in teams
  3. Project 3: Communicating visually and orally: Infographic
  4. Project 4: Course Reflection

Project 1: Tailoring a Document for a Specific Audience

You will work individually to develop a document for a specific audience, purpose, and rhetorical context. 

For this project, you may be asked to:

  • revise a document you previously created for a class or your workplace to meet the needs of a new (i.e. different) audience and purpose

This project emphasizes: 

  • analysis of the writing situation and the audience
  • using basic design principles to structure information for readers
  • revision strategies
  • editing at the sentence- and paragraph-level
  • basic-to-intermediate word processing skills

Along with your documents, you’ll submit a project completion memo that reflects on your work on this project and addresses your progress toward achieving course goals for this class.

Project 2: Consulting simulation: Research and writing in teams

This project simulates the experience you might have as a researcher and writer in a consulting agency.  You will work individually and as a member of a research team to develop a set of recommendations, supported by research, to help a client solve a problem. (Clients may be real or simulated.) 

Examples:

  • Conduct a rhetorical analysis of presidential campaigns
  • Work with a Registered Student Organization to help them achieve a predetermined goal
  • Website usability testing
  • Workplace policy development (i.e., sexual harassment, cyber-security)
  • Solving a business communication problem
  • Recommending a business innovation 
  • Reducing e-waste
  • Redesigning ballots to reduce errors in voting
  • Creating a user guide to solve a problem for students or another group
  • Solving a civic problem

Each team will: 

  • identify a client and assess their business need/define the problem
  • analyze stakeholders
  • frame the problem as a researchable question
  • plan and conduct research to identify the best solutions based on client need
  • develop recommendations for solving the problem 

Each team will produce several documents, including:

  • an executive summary (with a problem statement and review of literature)
  • research proposal
  • progress report(s)
  • a recommendation report for the client
  • an internal presentation

This project emphasizes 

  • defining and describing problems
  • analyzing stakeholders, audiences, and user groups
  • planning and conducting primary and secondary research
  • summarizing research and texts
  • analyzing research data
  • arguing from research
  • representing data in graphic form
  • preparing informal and formal reports
  • strategies for writing, revising, and editing in a team
  • revision and editing at the document-level
  • intermediate-to-advanced document design features
  • basic-to-intermediate presentation skills 

In addition to documents created by your team, you will submit a project completion memo, reflecting on your work on the project and addressing your progress toward achieving course goals for this class. In addition, each team member will complete a project evaluation document at the end of the project. 

Project 3: Communicating visually and orally

You will work with a partner to develop a piece of visual communication that helps a business, civic, or non-profit organization communicate complex information to a specific, public, non-specialist audience, and you will present a draft of your work in progress in class for feedback. 

For this project, you may be asked to

  • create an infographic that explains a complex process for a non-specialist audience
  • create a narrated video that purposefully uses timing, voice over and images to explain a complex problem, process, or concept
  • create a scientific poster for a conference or public meeting
  • create a video TedTalk (following Presentation Zen principles)

This project emphasizes

  • analysis of the writing situation and the audience
  • articulating complex information for non-specialist audiences
  • ethically using and attributing visual resources
  • selecting and using appropriate technologies for developing and distributing
  • applying design principles to visual texts and presentations
  • planning, drafting, and designing visual texts
  • making internal presentations to report on progress
  • giving and using effective feedback on visual texts

Along with your documents, you’ll submit a project completion memo that reflects on your work on this project and addresses your progress toward achieving course goals for this class.

Final ‘exam’: Course reflection memo

In lieu of a final written examination, you will write a final course reflection memo, in which you describe how your work over the semester demonstrates your achievement of the learning goals for the course. The final reflection memo should talk in specific detail about one revised, polished piece of your work from the course.