ENGL 301/002: Technical Writing (September 2016)

English 301/002: Technical Writing

UBC 2016/17 Term 1: TTh 9:00-10:45 a.m. Buch B208

  • Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter
  • Email: Gisele.Baxter@ubc.ca (put “English 301” in the subject line)
  • URL: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/gmbaxter
  • Office: Buchanan Tower 413; tel. 604 822-9455
  • Office Hours: by appointment

General Description:

English 301 is a study of the principles of written communication in general business and professional activities, and practice in the preparation of abstracts, proposals, reports, and correspondence. This course is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

All students must have third year standing and must have met one of the four following acceptable prerequisites:

  • 6 credits of 100-level English
  • WRDS 150 or ASTU 150 plus 3 credits of 100-level English
  • 6 credits of ASTU 100 or 3 credits of ASTU 100 and 3 credits of 100-level English
  • ARTS 001

This Section:

This course will examine the principles of written and oral communication in various professional activities. You will spend much of term producing a formal report, in which you will investigate concerns in a real-life workplace, organization, or local community, and make recommendations for solution or improvement. This report is a multi-part assignment, involving a proposal, a progress report, an oral presentation, and the final report itself with all of its apparatus. Our discussions will consider the requirements and the ethical concerns of these forms of communication, given their specific aims, methods, and audiences. In some ways, you can think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp; it is an intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement. Note: While technical competence in writing is required, the course will not cover grammar and mechanics. Students with writing problems should seek early, expert, and ethical tutorial help (UBC’s Learning Commons – http://learningcommons.ubc.ca – provides several resources; others are posted in Web Links on this course’s Connect site: log in at http://www.lthub.ubc.ca).

Texts:

  • A Strategic Guide to Technical Communication: Canadian Edition. 2nd ed. Broadview.
  • The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition. Oxford.
  • A good university-level dictionary.

Requirements: 

  • Report Proposal Memo (10%; written in class)
  • Progress Report Letter with Formal Outline (15%)
  • Oral Presentation on Report with Script (10%)
  • Formal Report (30%)
  • Participation Mark (10%: based on contribution to in-class discussion, completion of at least three Connect exercises; posting of and response to at least one draft on Connect; attendance and submission on time of assigned work)
  • Final Exam: 25% (Please note that you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass the course.)
  • All assignments and handouts for this course will be distributed electronically: emailed to you as PDF file attachments and posted on the course’s Connect site (the login link is here: http://www.lthub.ubc.ca).

Syllabus:

Readings will be announced ahead of each class on Connect Announcements. Exercises will be posted on Connect on Friday of each week.

  • September 6: Imagine Day for incoming undergraduates; no class meeting.
  • September 8: Introduction; discussion of course structure and major assignment.
  • September 13-22: Formal Reports Part 1 (concept); Correspondence.
  • September 29: Proposal Memo (in-class essay)
  • September 27-October 4: Definition and Technical Description.
  • October 6-13: Instructions and Processes.
  • October 18-25: Summary and Outline.
  • October 27: Progress Report on Formal Report due.
  • October 27-November 8: Formal Reports Part 2 (format and apparatus).
  • November 10-15: Technical Speaking.
  • November 17-29: Oral Presentations.
  • December 1: Examination review; last class meeting. Formal Reports due.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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