Schedule

detail from Juan Osborne's binary calendar

image credit: Juan Osborne

abbreviations

In the list of readings below, I will use the following abbreviations for the course texts.

  • HTW: Alred, Brusaw, & Oliu (2012). Handbook of Technical Writing. 10th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • WSJG: Wong (2013). The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics. W. W. Norton & Co.

This schedule is an outline for our activities in the course. It is subject to change with appropriate notice.

Unit 1: Job application materials

date

topic/readings

assignments

Aug 18 topic: Course Introduction; the rhetorical situation and persuasion in technical communication
readings: Course Description and Requirements, Policies, and AssignmentsThe Situation of Discourse
Aug 20 topic: Audience, genre, and job materials
readings: Read the sections of HTW titled Application Cover Letters, Audience, Correspondence, and Résumés
Identify two potential job ads in your chosen career and be prepared to access and discuss them in class.
Aug 21 Last day to register, add new courses, make section changes, change pass/fail, and audit Typo bounty claims due before 5 p.m.
Aug 25 topic: Audience (cont.), invention, and proofreading
readings: HTW: Five Steps to Successful Writing (pp. xv-xxii), Brainstorming, Outlining, Proofreading, and Purpose
Complete all of the tasks listed here; bring copies of resume and letter drafts to class
Aug 27 topic: Instructions
readings: NA
First submission of job application materials due (naming your files)

Unit 2: Instructions and documentation

date

topic/readings

assignments

Sep 1 topic: Instructions
readings: HTW: Clarity, Conciseness, Instructions, and Description
Find a set of instructions and evaluate them using the “Writers’s Checklist” on p. 273 of HTW. Be prepared to share the instructions and your evaluation with the class.
Sep 3 topic: Headings and layout
readings: HTW: HeadingsLayout and DesignLists, and Parallel Style Parallel Structure
Bring to class a well-designed list or organizational structure (headings, sub-headings, etc.) from a print document & be prepared to explain why you think it is well-desgined
Sep 7 Labor Day recess: university closed
Sep 8 topic: Headings and layout (cont.)
readings: Hagen and Golombisky, White Space is Not Your Enemy: ch. 4
Bring to class a sketch or document with a proposed layout for the main headings in your instructions
Sep 10 topic: Workshop
readings: NA
Bring instructions to class to workshop
Sep 15 topic: Creating your images
readings: HTW: DrawingsPhotographs, and Visuals
Sep 17 topic: Creating and altering styles in Word
readings: NA
First submission of instructions due
Sep 22 topic: Refining your design
readings: White Space is Not Your Enemy: chs. 1, 5
Sep 24 topic: Placing your images
readings: White Space is Not Your Enemy: ch. 6
Sep 29 topic: Workshop
readings: NA
Be able to access your instructions in class
Oct 1 topic: Collaboration; establish groups for usability testing project
readings: NA
Second submission of instructions due
Oct 2 Mid-semester

Unit 3: Usability testing

date

topic/readings

assignments

Oct 6 topic: Usability testing 
readings: HTW: Usability TestingMemos, and Test Reports
Oct 8 topic: Organization
readings: HTW: Read the Methods of Development section of HTW along with all the sub-points listed under it in the “Organization, Writing, and Revision” section on the inside front cover.
Team Contracts due
Oct 12-13 Fall break: No classes
Oct 13 No class – Fall break
Oct 15 topic: Speculative usability Writing the memo
readings: Rivers and Söderlund, “Speculative Usability”
Oct 20 topic: Workshop
readings: NA
Bring usability report to class to workshop
Oct 22 topic: Collaboration (cont.); establish groups for report and pecha kucha projects; brainstorm report topics
readings: NA
Usability reports due (submission instructions)
Oct 23 Last day to drop a class

Unit 4: Scientific and technical reports

date

topic/readings

assignments

Oct 27 topic: Reports
readings: HTW: Read the Reports section along with all of the sections listed under “Report Components” in the inside front cover
Team contract due
Oct 29 topic: Library research session

MEET AT DOWNTOWN CAMPUS LIBRARY

  • 11:30 class: Rm. 2036 (bring your own laptop, or arrange to check one out at the library’s Access Services Desk prior to class)
  • 2:30 class: Rm. 136

readings: HTW: Revision, Research, Note-Taking, Literature Reviews, Quotations, Paraphrasing, Plagiarism, Documenting Sources, Bibliographies, and Copyright

Nov 3 topic: Proposal meetings (Colson 231)
readings: NA
Meetings will be 15 minutes long. Bring one print copy of the proposal memo for me along with as many copies as you need for members of the group to be able to follow the discussion.
Report proposal memo
Nov 5 topic: Information literacy and data graphics
readings: WSJG: Chs. 1-2[N.B.: The quiz will cover the readings as well as content of the library session on 10/29.]
Nov 10 topic: Advanced data manipulation
readings: WSJG: Chs. 3-4
Nov 12 topic: Presentations, Job Materials
readings:
(both readings can be found in the “WSINYE Readings” folder in Google Drive)

  • Tufte, “The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint” (skim this document so that you are able to answer the question “What is slide software good for in a presentation?” during our class discussion)
  • “Presentations Handout” (read the whole thing)
Nov 17 topic: No Class  Library day
readings: NA
Nov 19 topic: No Class – Work on presentations with group members
readings: NA
The submission procedure for this version of the controversy report can be found here.
First submission of controversy report due
Nov 21-29 Fall recess: university closed
Dec 1 topic: Presentations: Dress rehearsal in presentation space // Meet in Colson 130
readings: NA
Dec 3 topic: Presentations // Meet in Colson 130
readings: NA

Pecha kucha presentations

 

Dec 8 topic: No Class
readings: NA

Second submissions of controversy report and job application materials due at 11:59 p.m.
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