English 362: Foundations of Technical Writing
Hybrid Course Index

Instructor: Chris McKitterick
Hybrid Live-Online Course
Live Meetings Wednesdays 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Wescoe Hall 4066
(and online all week)

English 362 Index


Assignments List



Web Links

Scoring Checklist

Measures of Good Technical Communication

Technical Communication Defined

About McKitterick

(Note: This page is for the hybrid live-and-online course.)

The course contains a unified syllabus, 16 modular lessons, dozens of handouts, a massive set of web links, and lots more information covering the full spectrum of technical communication from its roots to a number of delivery forms.

Because we meet in-person (in a classroom) and hold discussions online, success in this course requires diligence, good time-management, solid skills with remote collaboration, clear communications with others, familiarity with Blackboard and other internet tools, and - most of all - that you be a solid self-starter. If you are good at all these things, plus you can demonstrate excellent writing skills, you'll be great in whatever future career you pursue. This course provides a wide variety of experiences that very few other recent grads can talk about in job interviews, so make the most of it to learn not just the overt content, but also focus on mastering how we work to get everything you can from the experiences!

Click each learning Module to find your materials for the week. Check the syllabus for a unified view, as well as lots of information about the course, grading, and so forth. Each Module corresponds to one week of the semester, and most have this structure:

  • Readings from the textbooks.
  • Supplemental readings linked from each Module page. You can also find these and much more on the Handouts page.
  • Student-led discussion on our Blackboard site. These focus on elements, forms, ideas, and more.
  • Frequent exercises and projects to practice the theory and forms described in the readings and discussions.
  • Frequent peer-review practice to reinforce the content while improving your critical skills: Often, the best way to write better is to critique other people's work. Reviewing will likely initiate more discussion and revision.
  • Lots of opportunities for bonus credit if you're willing to do the work!

Weekly Modules Index

Module 1: Introduction to Technical Communication (and course-orientation video).
Module 2: Good Technical Documentation and Peer Reviewing.
Module 3: Writing Clearly for the Correct Audience.
Module 4: Research, the Scientific Method, and Writing.
Module 5: Technical Papers and the Tools and Processes to Write Them.
Module 6: Proposals and Specifications and Audience Research, Oh My!
Module 7: Editing and Visual Communications.
Module 8: Scheduling, Business Reporting, and Websites.
Module 9: Building Websites.
Module 10: Adding Awesome to Your Website.
Module 11: Presentations.
Module 12: Manuals.
Module 13: Careers, or How to Make Clients and Employers Want to Hire You.
Module 14: Giving Presentations.
Module 15: Giving Presentations, Part II.
Final Project Module.

Click here to see the syllabus.

This course provides a hands-on introduction to the principles of organizing, developing, writing, and revising technical documentation in today's fast-paced world. It is designed to help prepare you for the kinds of writing and other communication you'll be doing in your future career, and to enhance your attractiveness to potential employers in the scientific and technical fields. Scientists, engineers, and businesspeople who possess good tech-writing skills enter the high-tech world of science and industry with an advantage over their peers who cannot write good proposals, lab reports, or other forms of documentation that they regularly need to create. For English students, this course is designed to prepare you to enter the field of technical communication.

You will review and practice the essential tech-writing elements. We also survey document forms common to scientific and technical disciplines. You will gain valuable experience through research, real-life technical-writing exercises, peer review, critical and theoretical discussions, and presentations.

It focuses on four primary areas:

  • Elements of technical writing: The tools you use to build good technical documents.
  • Forms of technical communication: How to design, write, and deliver various documents, such as reports, proposals, specifications, websites, presentations, and manuals.
  • Collaboration: Sharing your understanding of the materials in online discussions and applying it in peer-reviewing projects.
  • Advanced projects: Putting everything together to create and manage complex documentation projects. You will write several such documents during this course.

Types of technical-writing forms that you will create include technical or scientific articles and papers, doc plans, abstracts, proposals, specification documents, technical reports, graphical documents, websites, oral and audio-visual presentations, and manuals. Includes an introduction to technical-writing software tools.

Note: This is not a generic professional writing class; rather, it is a technical writing class. It is designed for all students expecting to write technical documents in their careers, but it is especially designed for those headed into the fields of science, engineering, design, technology, business, and technical or scientific writing and editing.

McKitterick's class differs from English 362 sections offered by other instructors, and this version is significantly revised to take advantage of the nature of online and hybrid courses. Check with your instructor to learn more about what a prospective course offers.

Click here to see the syllabus.

Click here to see the Handouts page.

Click here to see the Web Links page.

Last updated 8/24/2015.