English 362: Foundations of Technical Writing
Hybrid Course Lessons

Module 5: Technical Papers
and the Tools and Processes to Write Them

Module Contents:
    Textbook Readings
    Supplementary Readings
    Discussion
    Assignments
    Peer Review
    Checklist
    Back to Syllabus
    Back to Course Index Page

This module covers the following topics:

  • Technical articles and papers.
  • Abstracts.
  • Writer's tools: software for creating technical documentation.
  • Single-sourcing.
  • Organization and structure.
  • Headings and titles.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists.
  • Tasks and procedures.
  • Outlines & documentation process.

Sample New Tech Report Project

In response to a couple of requests, I've recorded a short video walk-through and analysis of a sample project that a team of students created for the New Tech Report team project. Hope it helps!

Textbook Readings

Finish the textbook readings before the discussion starting on Monday at noon.

Supplementary Readings

Finish the supplementary readings before the discussion begins on Monday. These and lots more are also available on the Handouts page.

This Week's Discussion

Topics to include in this week's Blackboard discussion:

  • Technical articles and papers.
  • Abstracts.
  • Writer's tools: software for creating technical documentation.
  • Single-sourcing.
  • Organization and structure.
  • Headings and titles.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists.
  • Tasks and procedures.
  • Outlines & documentation process.

Discussion leaders: Start the conversations by Monday at noon. Everyone else: Get involved right away, but feel free to continue dropping in to read and respond to new posts throughout the week. Everyone is required to participate in these discussions by posting useful responses to the student leaders' prompts, or at least in response to other comments in the discussion forum. Your participation level - even when not leading discussions - strongly affects your semester grade, so get fully engaged every week!

Assignments

Elements exercise due by Sunday at 5:00pm. Go here for a great tutorial on how to take screenshots; note, however, that they miss two important steps!

1) Before you save your image, change the file type (in Save As...) to .jpg - don't just the default Save file-type of bitmap (.bmp). Sometimes I'll save both file-types, using the original .bmp as the source for future images that I then save as .jpg. By the way, never just paste a screenshot directly into a document or email, as the video tutorial, below, suggests; some screenshots can be several megabytes in size, and this will make your recipient very unhappy. If you're using a high-resolution screen display, consider reducing the resolution when taking screenshots, because documents are much smaller than your screen size, so the info in your screenshot will show up very tiny if you don't. Also consider using a photo-editor (or something powerful like Photoshop) to edit and clean up your images before inserting them.

2) Now use the Insert tool in your word-processing program to insert the image from wherever you saved it. I repeat: Never just paste a screenshot directly into a document or email; always insert it after editing it, or at least saving it as a .jpg. You will almost never need the huge amount of information stored in a bitmap; a compressed .jpg is sufficient for almost any work.

Here's a video version:


Heads-up for a project due in two weeks: Technical report team project.

I'll give you some time to find partners in class, unless you already worked it out. Please let me know ASAP if you miss class and need to find a partner.


After completing each assignment, make sure to back it up (I recommend using a low-cost USB flash device like this or a Web service like Dropbox) before you turn it in or send it to your peer-review partner. Even if you are late creating a project, you can often avoid getting zero points for that assignment by completing it and turning it in to Blackboard late. Be aware that turning in late projects could harm your peer-review partner's score, as well, so be thoughtful.

Peer Review

No required peer-review this week.

Checklist

  • Read the textbook and supplementary readings by Monday at noon.
  • Participate in this week's Blackboard forum discussion starting on Monday.
  • Find a partner for the Technical report team project in class on Wednesday (or before).
  • Turn in the Elements exercise on Blackboard by Sunday at 5:00pm.
  • Turn in your Reading Response on this Module's required readings before class on Wednesday.
  • Earn a bonus point by uploading a second Reading Response to reflect your thoughts on more readings and reflections on the week's discussions. Due by Sunday at 5:00pm.

Click here to return to the 362 index page.

Last updated 8/24/2015.