355:322 Writing for Engineers
Coordinator/Contact: William Magrino
Writing for Engineers is a research-based, project-focused course designed to address the needs of School of Engineering students. The course covers many of the basic forms of professional communication that engineers will likely encounter in their careers, including resumes and cover letters, research reports, memos, letters, technical proposals, user documentation, and oral presentations. The main writing assignments for the course are focused around an individually designed project involving research in each student's area of specialty or interest.
The best engineers are managers capable of using information to make leadership decisions that are rationalized within accepted paradigms of the profession. To meet the standards of a good management document, the final project must use research to justify a plan of action, making a persuasive appeal for project funding with a strong research-based rationale. Engineers today are also increasingly asked to communicate with diverse audiences, ranging from their peers to management, clients and the public at large. Therefore, the course involves writing practice, collaborative exercises and class presentations to improve general workplace communication skills.
M. Markel, Technical Communication (7th Edition)
Handouts ( Readings, forms, notices)
Instructor's webpage (to be given in class)
The grading criteria for assignments in the Writing for Engineers course are intended to promote fair and relatively uniform standards for evaluating the work students submit. These standards are important because they tell students what will be expected of them and enable students to evaluate their own work as it is being done. There are 10 assignments that will be graded during the semester:
Cover Letter and Resume (20 Points)
LSM Self guided Tour (10 Points)
Summary/ Analysis Memo(15 Points)
Annotated Bibliography (35 Points)
Assigned Readings (15 Points)
User Manual (30 Points)
Midterm Letter (75 Points)
Oral Presentation (40 Points)
Evaluation Teamwork (10 Points)
Technical Proposal (250 points)
These assignments constitute all of the work that is done in the course. One assignment will be entirely completed in class; the others will be organized and/or started in class and finished independently. Writings will be collected, commented upon, and returned to help students prepare for the writing demands typically experienced in the engineering profession. Students also need to participate in collaborative activities involving discussion of assigned readings, peer review of drafts, and development of a user manual. The class, in fact, is in many ways a writing lab. Thus, attendance is crucial; without practice and participation, students will have difficulty meeting the criteria for the assignments. There is also the matter of timeliness. Engineering work is typically done within a business environment. There will always be demands to complete high quality work within specific time frames and penalties imposed for not doing so.
The Technical Proposal is the major assignment for the semester. As such, a passing grade must be earned on this assignment in order to earn a passing grade for the semester.
Each assignment has a number of points that will be earned by completing the required elements. Points earned will then be converted to percentages that correspond to letter grade ranges.