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Technical Writing Introduction
What’s in store for you this semester
Contents
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Purpose of course
Technical writing characteristics
Technical writing
Course requirements
Safe computing
Definition/Purpose of Course
• Technical communication is the “art and science of
making complex technical information accessible,
usable, and relevant to a variety of audiences in a
variety of settings.”
• Composition of the types of documents technical
professionals write
• Review of the planning, drafting, and editing processes
• Interaction with new technologies and new
environments
Accessibility
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Accuracy– no errors of fact or grammar
Clarity– no ambiguity
Completeness– all necessary information is present
Diction—appropriate and grammatically correct
language
• Organization—logical arrangement of parts
• Visual effectiveness– page/screen design, graphics
Usability
• Allows audience to perform the task or retrieve
the information they need
• Studies design of table of contents, index,
headings, etc.
• Keeps learning curve short
Relevance
• Focus on your audience’s need for information.
• Give only what’s needed.
• Use language that fits your audience and
situation and is consistent.
On-the-job Writing
• Communicate expertise to clients, customers,
and the public
• Report tech activities to supervisors and
others
• Write proposals
• Instruct lay people
• Correspond with colleagues and clients
Tech Communicator’s Skills
• Facility with language
• Use of critical thinking skills to solve problems
• Ability to assess situations, determine what the
most important issues and the subsidiary ones
are
• Ability to organize a document that presents the
information clearly
Skills, continued
• Awareness of the persuasive nature of writing
and ability to compose documents that
convince your reader(s) to act as you suggest or
to trust your point of view
• Ethical behavior shown by avoiding deceptive
graphics, presenting information truthfully,
balancing ethical and moral beliefs with the
demands of the job
Writing Assignments
• Application, follow-up
letters, and résumés
• Technical Definition
• Proposal
• Collaborative process
manual and oral
presentation
• Product/service
comparison
• Formal report
• Progress Report
• Personal and
professional website
• Class notes
• Report outline in
PowerPoint.
Home Page Creation
• Create or update your web site.
• Put the pages together manually first
• Use an editor or continue to work manually
once you’re working on your own.
• Link to a web site you already have, adding the
requirements for this new part of your site.
Safe Computing
• Check your own disks for viruses.
• Back up your work (you can save on both the
S/T drive and a 3.5 floppy/data CD).
• Don’t forget to take your disk with you at the
end of class.
• Put your name, phone number/e-mail address
on the label.
• Save often; don’t rely on autosave.