Hello, and welcome to ENG 110: Technical Communication! The goal of this course is to provide, through situated learning experiences (i.e., authentic activity, context, and culture), knowledge, skills and tools that will enable you to communicate effectively and ethically in professional, academic, and community writing environments.

The author of our textbook, Mike Markel (2015), describes technical communication as something that, when produced, “uses the four basic communication skills — listening, speaking, reading, and writing — to analyze a problem, find and evaluate evidence, and draw conclusions” (p. 4). In this way, Markel describes technical communication as being similar to other types of academic writing.

Where technical writing differs from academic writing, however, is in its focus on audience and purpose. In our course, you will learn to apply principles of audience and purpose analysis, collaborate and problem-solve, write for real audiences beyond our classroom, make ethical communication decisions, and receive feedback from subject matter experts and professionals in the field. Your writing will motivate people to take action, and reinforce or change attitudes or beliefs.

Please take some time to read the material in this WordPress site and our Blackboard course, and contact me as questions arise. Together, let’s make this a productive, successful semester!

Course Location: Blackboard and this Wordpress site.

Required Materials

  • Mike Markel’s Technical Communication, 11th ed., ISBN: 978-1-4576-7337-5
  • USB flash drive
  • See also the Technology Policy for our course

Course Description and Outcomes

Prerequisite: ENG 100 | Corequisite: ENG 101

Course Description. Technical Writing is a course in basic technical writing, including memos, status and progress reports, application letters, and resume writing, in the context of technical fields of study.

Course Outcomes. Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Write effective memos.
  2. Write reports.
  3. Write at least one application letter.
  4. Identify the principles of audience and purpose analysis.
  5. Construct a resume.
  6. Demonstrate effective visual page design in documents.
  7. Demonstrate ethical handling of data.
  8. Write documents using standard sentence structure, usage, and spelling.

Student Profile

Yuma is located on the border of Arizona and Mexico, and according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data for Yuma County, the total population estimate in 2014 was 203,247 residents. In 2013, 61.1% identified as Hispanic or Latino, and 51.2% reported a language other than English spoken at home. Among the county’s residents, only 14.3% had a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 20.2% were identified as living below the poverty level.

Located in Yuma, Arizona Western College is designated an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and a Title V PACTO grant recipient. The college serves more than 11,000 students each year and awarded 2,119 degrees and certificates in the 2014-2015 school year. According to the Arizona Western College: 2014 Strategic Vision Student Progress and Outcomes Report, from 2012-2013, “67 percent of AWC students were members of an underserved racial or ethnic group and 58 percent were Pell recipients” (p. 2), statistics which are significantly higher than corresponding statewide averages.

Additionally, Yuma is home to a Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) and Army Proving Ground (YPG). The air station includes logistics units, aircraft squadrons, and aircraft control units, and the proving ground is one of the Army’s largest testing facilities. Both active-duty and civilian personnel aboard these installations work in highly specialized, technical environments. Both MCAS and YPG have strong ties to AWC, as the college provides educational opportunities for those who want to enter technical and scientific fields, and the military installations provide career opportunities for certified and degreed civilians. AWC is also the school of choice for many active-duty members and their families.

AWC hosts the STEM (Futures) program, described as “an innovative endeavor by Arizona Western College (AWC) and University of Arizona (UA) to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees in Southwest Arizona,” hosting a 4-year degree in Systems Engineering on campuses in Yuma and Tucson. A list of certificates, degrees, and transfer degree sheets can be found on the Degrees and Certificates page of AWC’s website.

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