Technical and Business Writing

ENGL 2311

Updated March 28, 2012

  • State Approval Code: 2311015112
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 48

Catalog Description

An interdisciplinary course emphasizing principles, techniques, and skills needed for college-level scientific, technical and business writing. Course stresses referential discourse and involves case studies, simulations, and short writing assignments with technological components. Lecture hours = 3, Lab hours = 0

Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Computer literacy

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.
  • Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.
  • Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.
  • Develop personal values for ethical behavior.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.
  • Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives

Communication (composition, speech, modern language)

  • To understand and demonstrate writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  • To understand the importance of specifying audience and purpose and to select appropriate communications choices.
  • To participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.
  • To understand and apply basic principles of proficiency in the development of exposition and argument.
  • To develop the ability to research and write a documented paper and/or to give an oral presentation.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

Students in all sections of English 2311 will be required to do all of the following:
1. Recognize the different needs of technical audiences and adjust content to meet specific audience needs.
2. Analyze communication problems and formulate documents that address those problems.
3. Create sound, logical arguments to support claims, findings, and recommendations.
4. Develop visual representations that assist a reader in understanding a problem, a conclusion or recommendation.
5. Gain proficiency in the types of computer software that will be necessary for successful written communication on the job.
6. Create an oral presentation of material presented in a written report.
7. Conduct research using technical resources and technical documentary styles.
8. Develop a sense of professionalism and craft as manifest in prompt, accurate and conscientious fulfillment of class assignment.

Specific Course Objectives

behavioral/learning objectives listed below with a minimum competency of 70% on exams and quizzes.
At the end of the course, the student should have demonstrated through tests, quizzes, reading assignments, research assignments, class discussions, writing assignments, and listening assignments all of the following knowledge:
1. Forms of technical writing as used in business and technology.
2. Methods of presenting technical material in text form. 3
3. Applications of the writing process (audience analysis, message adaptation drafting, revising, and evaluation).
4. Methods of and research in documentation in technical writing.
5. Analysis of data in producing technical writing.
6. An application of technical vocabulary as it applies to writing.
7. Methods of presenting technical material visually.
8. Applications of levels of technicality in language in technical writing.
9. Techniques for communicating technical material orally.
At the end of the course, the student should be aware of the following:
1. Ethical standards in technology areas of expertise.
2. Ethical standards in research.
3. Varying degrees of technical expertise within the audience.
4. Writing as a decision-making process.
5. The need for revision of written documents.
6. The power of language.
7. The connotative as well as denotative nature of language.
8. Common business practices.
9. Writing as a form of problem solving.
10. Rhetorical principles.
11. Writing as a pattern of cumulative skills.
12. Aims and circumstances of technical writing as they differ from those of rhetorical composition.
13. The characteristics of one’s own style of writing.
At the end of the course, the student should have demonstrated an ability to do the following: Write clear, concise, grammatically sound and well documented technical communications in a minimum of eight of the following genres:
1. A business letter.
2. An interoffice memo.
3. A summary of a technical article.
4. An informational abstract of a technical article.
5. A letter of application and resume.
6. A letter of inquiry.
7. A letter of adjustment.
8. A claim letter.
9. A follow-up letter.
10. A letter of acceptance.
11. A letter of refusal.
12. A letter report.
13. An informational report.
14. A recommendation report.
15. A progress report.
16. A periodic report.
17. A survey report.
18. A planning proposal.
19. A research proposal.
20. A sales proposal.
21. A formal, analysis memo.
22. A mechanical analysis memo.
23. A letter of transmittal.
24. A bibliographical memo.
25. A classification memo.
26. A definition memo.

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion

Students in all sections of English 2311 will be required to do the following:
1. Read, analyze and discuss selections both in a technical communication textbook and outside the text.
2. Write a minimum of eight technical documents.
3. Complete online objectives regarding a technical report.
4. Participate in and complete group projects in an online collaboration.
5. Complete quizzes and exams over course materials.

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

This course is offered in the traditional classroom and over the Internet using WebCT. Students in the traditional class and in the Internet class will have access to this course via WebCT. Students in the traditional class will meet regularly for lecture over the material. Students in the Internet class will only be required to meet with the instructor for testing; however, Internet students are always welcome to attend the traditional class (especially for exam reviews). Resources provided through WebCT include
• A calendar displaying assignments each week (please check often)
• Weekly discussion topics that address real world issues
• Chapter notes and links to World Wide Web resources beyond the text
• Online quizzes, article summaries, and exams
• Email (totally contained within WebCT)
All quizzes will be submitted through the official textbook website and emailed to the instructor at the Panola College email address provided to students on the syllabus. After other assignments are graded, the student will be able to view his or her grade by returning to the WebCT class and clicking the My Grades link in the left banner. Students will have unlimited review of the answers to the exams. I generally will have your work graded and posted within three days following the deadline.
Students in both the traditional and Internet classes should use the Email within WebCT to communicate with the instructor. Using WebCT email gives you access to the instructor and other classmates without having to remember or type email addresses—you just select a name from the list. If you are not able to contact me using email in WebCT, you may use my Panola College email address. I attempt to respond to all email within 24 hours. If you make an appointment with me through email to take an exam, for example, I will reply to your email—if I do not reply, you should send your email to me again or call me. Please always include a subject line, the course you are enrolled in, and your name in your email.


The following items will be assigned during the semester and used to calculate the student’s final grade:
1. Online Quizzes
2. Daily assignments
3. Projects
4. Class participation (Discussion postings)
Approximately 19 chapter quizzes will be given during the semester. The quizzes will be given online and you may use your textbook to complete them. Each quiz will have a deadline and failure to complete the quiz by the deadline will result in a zero for that quiz. The normal quiz includes 5-10 true/false or multiple choice questions.
Periodically throughout the semester, you will be asked to write essays concerning subject matter recently addressed in business news. You will be given an outline to follow and asked to review an article located in the Library databases. There is no charge to use the databases on campus
or from home since it is a Panola College subscription. Details for how to access the databases will be provided during the semester. These assignments must be typed in a format established for that particular document, provided by the instructor, and in a grammatically correct manner.
In addition to the online quizzes, a midterm and final assessment will be given during the semester. All testing will be administered by a proctor at the Carthage, Center, or Marshall sites for Panola College students. A Virtual College of Texas student will be able to take proctored exams at the college he or she currently attends. If you are unable to take a test when it is scheduled, you must reschedule the test with the instructor prior to the testing date. An excused absence and makeup test may be granted for sudden illness or unforeseen circumstances.
The grading scale for this course is as follows:
• Online quizzes – 15%
• Discussion participation- 15%
• Chapter questions- 15%
• Midterm- 15%
• End of Semester project- 20%
• Final Exam- 20%
Assignments are due as assigned and 10 points will be deducted for each day work is late. No work will be accepted more than 7 days late. All of your grades including a mid-semester and final grade will be posted to My Grades in Canvas.

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

• Technical Writing: Process and Product. 5th ed. Sharon Gerson and Steven M. Gerson
• Access to a computer, a word processor, and the Internet.