1. ENGL 317 SYLLABUS Page 1 of 4
Instructor: Victoria M. Arthur
email@example.com |208 885-6156 (msg only)
Technical Writing is both a field of study and a profession with a unique history and set of
distinctive practices. It is also the writing done by professionals in other careers. So, whether
you have an interest in becoming a technical writer or are preparing to write in another
career, in today's workplace, you will craft messages using ever changing and increasingly
integrated media. The projects in this course will help you meet these challenges.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After completing this course, you will be able to
• translate discipline-specific discourse to meet the needs of audiences with lower levels
of technical expertise,
• articulate the affordances and constraints of technologies to stakeholders,
• apply rhetorical constructs to produce the visual and verbal design of communication,
• communicate solutions to rhetorical problems in a variety of print and electronic genres.
TEXTBOOK: No textbook is required.
2. ENGL 317 SYLLABUS Page 2 of 4
GRADES: Final grades are on successful completion of the following:
Project 1: Technical Prose and Presentation Speaking Style 100
Project 2: Technical Definitions and Descriptions 150
Project 3: Data Visualization 200
Project 4: Usability Testing 250
Project 5: Professional Identity 100
Total Possible: 800 points
All page length and word count guidelines below are based on single-spaced, left-justified text (no
indent) for paragraphs with an extra line of space to separate paragraphs and includes the use of
heading levels and white space.
Please keep in mind that page length and word count guidelines are not a valid way to determine
how long a project will take you to complete in this course because the work you will do is workplace
writing, and it is different from academic essay writing.
PROJECT 1: Technical Prose and Presentation Speaking Style. In this project, you will analyze
some of your prior writing to determine the level of readability and create a podcast.
• Memo Report write-up of findings from the analysis, about 4-6 pages.
• Podcast about research at the University of Idaho, up to 3 minutes.
PROJECT 2: Technical Definitions and Technical Descriptions. In this project, you will
compose technical documentation (a type of planning document), and a slidecast of a
technical definition or a technical description. Your goal will be to translate dense technical
information to a lay audience.
• Technical Documentation, about 350-500 words.
• Slidecast Technical Definition OR Technical Description, up to 3 minutes.
PROJECT 3: Data Visualization. In this project, you will create a mixed-chart infographic that
visualizes a statistical data story. Next, you will compose a screencast to justify design
• Mixed Chart Infographic.
• Screencast justifying design choices, up to 3 minutes.
PROJECT 4: Usability Test. In this project, you will test two communication products or
websites based on five components of usability, collecting both quantitative and qualitative
data. Next you will write-up your findings in a technical white paper describing your
experience as a user and compose a screencast of one or more usability test findings.
• Technical White Paper write-up of test findings. Length will vary greatly depending on size of
screenshots but about 2000 -2500 words.
• Screencast of a usability test finding, up to 3 minutes.
PROJECT 5: Professional Identity. In this project, you will compose targeted job or graduate
program application materials and compose an e-portfolio.
• Cover Letter,1 page, Resume or CV, up to 2 pages.
• E-Portfolio populated with sample work.
3. ENGL 317 SYLLABUS Page 3 of 4
1. Technology Requirements.
• Computer in good working order.
• Reliable Internet Connectivity.
• Microphone. Most computers have an integrated microphone, but if you need to
purchase one, however, here are two inexpensive microphones that bblearn
recommends: Logitech 1 ($14.99) and Logitech 2 ($19.99).
• Reliable Backup. You will need a reliable backup to store the latest drafts of your
work other than the hard drive of your computer or an easily lost thumb drive. Here is
one I recommend http://www.dropbox.com
• Microsoft Word. Students are strongly encouraged to use Microsoft Word because it
is the most commonly used software in the workplace today. Microsoft Office is
provided at no extra cost to all students and as part of the UI Microsoft Licensing
Agreement. You can install it on up to five separate devices. To install, go to ITS
Technology Services https://www.uidaho.edu/infrastructure/its/self-help/ms-
2. Multimedia Project Deliverables. Four of the projects require both print
and multimedia deliverables. Students are not expected to have prior experience in
producing multimedia products and will be invited to create these using free, cloud-
Warning: Digital media files (MP3, MP4, WAV, WMV etc.) and Zip Files are not accepted
in this course.
All digital files are required to be on a host site and play without a user needing to
download the file (or advance slides) because you are practicing how to share media as
it is shared in workplace environments.
3. Accepted File Formats. The following are the only accepted file formats:
• Print Deliverables: Word or PDF.
• Infographic: jpg, png, or other image file; Word, PPT or PPTX, PDF file or the URL
where the file is hosted.
•Multimedia Deliverables URL where the file is hosted.
4. ENGL 317 SYLLABUS Page 4 of 4
4. Deadlines. All work is due by 11:59 PM on the day/date indicated in the project
schedules. Late work will lose one letter grade (or the equivalent number of points) per
day late. When I start to grade your work, if a file will not open or a URL link does not
work, I will notify you by email, and you will be given 24 hours to submit work correctly in
bblearn and a late work point penalty will apply. To avoid this problem, verify your
5. Verify Submissions to Avoid Point Penalties. When submitting assignments, students are
responsible for verifying that files they uploaded are not corrupted and will open and that
the URL to your
This means you must return to the submissions box and open any files you uploaded and
check that a URL works. If your work does not submit correctly or if you failed to submit
part of it, you will need to submit all work again in a single attempt because the last
submission is the only one I grade.
6. University Disability Support Services. Reasonable accommodations will be made for
students with disabilities. Disability Support Services must approve your request: (208)
7. Plagiarism. Violation of the University of Idaho Student Code of Conduct for Plagiarism
will result in a course grade of ‘F'.
8. Contacting Me. You are invited to email me when you have a question or to request a
writing conference or feedback on a draft through email. You may expect a reply within
24 hours (not including weekends).