This course will focus on many different kinds of written communication required to get and hold a job, to participate in business, to report in technical and investigative fields and to serve in community and professional organizations.
You will receive instruction and practice in writing summaries, correspondence, instructions, publicity releases, reports, brochures and proposals. You will also learn to choose a format and style appropriate for your audience and purpose.
As you plan, draft and polish your writings, you will work with me and your classmates to identify the most effective content, style, tone and design for each assignment you are working on. We will constantly analyze your writing from both the writer’s and the reader’s perspective, and we will emphasize a simplistic approach to writing rather than a complicated style. Technical writing does not have to be – nor should it be – technically confusing.
You will not be writing essays in this class. Each document will be completely different from the next, both in terms of content, design and purpose. Some papers will be more effective if they are short; others need to be developed more thoroughly for better understanding. The bottom line is that your reader should be able to understand what your message is while reading your information. Don’t try to impress your audience with your knowledge and ability: express ideas that your audience will be able to react upon.
This course will emphasize the “writer-reader” relationship. You are actively participating by providing your reader with information he/she will be able to understand. Your reader is actively participating by responding to what you have to say, following the instructions you are providing, or understanding the message you are offering.
During the next eight weeks, you will become a professional writer. Pay attention to documents around you. Understand what makes written communication effective and what detracts from active participation. Scrutinize what you see at school, at work, on the television and in the papers and magazines. Everything will be a potential source for your understanding of technical-writing concepts. Don’t simply read for content: look at how the document is designed, what makes the document stand out, and what stands out within the document.