April 26, 2008: Class 15!


I didn’t post anything last week.  I’m a slacker.  So our class is wrapping up.  It has been a pleasure working with you this semester.  Please remember that no matter how hard it gets, it will be worth it when you’re done.  There is no feeling like walking across that stage on graduation day.  Whether you’re close or still have a lot of credits to go–do it!  Stay with it.  You will be glad you did.  My best wishes for the future for each of you.

  • A quick lesson on active versus passive voice
  • The final Yacapaca
  • Fond farewells

April 5, 2008: Class 12


This week’s class will have a short lesson on logical fallacies.  A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning.  Used either on accident or on purpose, they’re great things to know about.  Listen for them in political speeches, debates, and advertising.  Here’s this week’s agenda:

  • Yacapaca
  • Dashes and Hyphens
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Oral Presentations

March 29, 2008: Class 11


The ability to speak well in public is a skill that will set you apart from others in the work world.  This week we will talk about the elements of an effective oral presentation and discuss some best practices in the use of PowerPoint. Here’s this week’s agenda:

  • Yacapaca
  • The subjunctive mood
  • PowerPoint best practices
  • Sign up for oral presentation dates

March 22, 2008: Class 10


The topic of this week’s class is usability testing. Usability testing is done when an organization has to decide among several available choices. It’s also an opportunity to learn about some of the more advanced functions of Microsoft Office. So here’s our agenda:

  • Yacapaca
  • Agreement in number and case
  • Usability testing

March 15, 2008: Class 9


Did you have a nice Spring Break?  I hope so.  We will ease back into our normal routine this week with a lecture on the future of technical and professional writing.  Do you know a wiki from a blog?  Can you use XML to subscribe to a podcast?  All this and more will be covered in this week’s class.  Please remember to bring an electronic copy of your term paper to class so we can upload it to TurnItIn.com.

  • No Yacapaca this week…our last class was so long ago!
  • Creating an account with TurnItIn.com
  • The future of technical and professional writing

March 1, 2008: Class 8


When I created this semester’s syllabus, I set some class time aside for us to work one-on-one.  Your term paper is due when you get back from Spring Break, so now is the time to write.  Bring your sources to class.  I will be happy to look at your outline, your rough draft, or References page.  I can help with structuring your paper, smoothing out grammar questions, or advising you on documentation procedures.  So:

  • Yacapaca
  • Coordinating conjunctions
  • Reminders about the format of APA papers
  • Time for us to work one-on-one

February 23, 2008: Class 7


What skills are required to write a set of instructions?  That is the question we explore this week.  After we learn some the guiding principles of writing operational instructions, we will apply that knowledge in an in-class writing.  This is what puts the “techincal” in technical writing!  Here’s our agenda:

  • Yacapaca
  • Punctuating items in a series
  • How to write an abstract
  • Product safety labeling
  • Operational instructions

February 16, 2008: Class 6

Snoopy Typing

This week, our lesson on APA documentation continues. Remember, if you can bring to class some of the articles you found, you can get help writing the reference in class. Also, remember that because the documentation lesson took a little longer than planned, the process description lesson will be deferred until a later time. So, here’s the agenda for this week:

  • Yacapaca
  • Commas
  • Finish Documentation Lesson
  • Introductions and Conclusions
  • Extended Definitions

February 9, 2008: Class 9

APA Guide

This week we will learn how to produce documentation according to APA guidelines.  Documentation means giving credit to the author who originally published the work.  We will examine internal citations and learn how to write an APA bibliography, which is called a References page.

  • Yacapaca
  • Sentence Fragments
  • APA Documentation
  • Extended Definition (if time)

February 2, 2008: Class 4


This week we will continue our discussion of how to begin the term paper, also called the Business Report. We will review some of the steps involved in conducting research and talk about how to write the body of the paper once the research is done.

  • Yacapaca
  • Run-on Sentences
  • Tips on Writing the Background Section of Your Paper
  • The Title Page and Table of Contents
  • More on Finding Articles

January 26, 2008: Class 3


This week, we will explore the idea of the scholarly press in more depth.  We will learn what makes the scholarly press scholarly and learn how to use the library’s database of scholarly articles to conduct research.  Then we will learn about the one sentence that makes every term paper a reasonable undertaking: the thesis.  Good thesis, easy time writing the paper.  No thesis or bad thesis, difficult time writing the paper.  Here’s this week’s agenda:

  • Yacapaca
  • Apostrophes
  • The Scholarly Press
  • How to Conduct Research Using a Database of Scholarly Articles
  • Thesis Statements

January 19, 2008: Class 2

Job interview

This week we will cover the basic of writing resumes and cover letters and we will learn what a CV is.  We will also have an overview of the term paper for this class and go into a little more detail on recognizing and avoiding plagiarism.   Here’s our agenda for this week:

  • Yacapaca
  • Irregular plurals
  • An overview of the Business Report
  • Recognizing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Resumes, cover letters, and curriculum vitae
  • Professional ethics

January 12, 2008: Class 1


Welcome to Professional and Technical Writing!   This will be a great class.  Please don’t be intimidated by the phrase “technical writing.”  You will find that technical writing is just good writing.  This class will be about how to write well.  We will focus on the the kinds of writing tasks you will encounter in the business, science, technology, and during the search for jobs in these fields.  Each week, I will post a brief introduction to the content for the week and provide a quick agenda, like this:

  • Introductions
  • Rubrics
  • Memo Writing
  • Electronic Tools for ENC 2210
  • Professional Ethics

December 5, 2007: Class 14


I want everyone to remember that I designed a Final Exam that measures your mastery of the most important content of the course.  If you have been coming on a regular basis, paying attention, and asking questions when you don’t understand something, you will find the test to be a breeze.  So, tonight…

  • Presentations
  • Final Exam

November 28, 2007: Class 13


Tonight’s class is when we will hear the majority of the oral presentations. Remember to hand in any late, make-up, or re-do assignments in the next week. The course is drawing to a close. Tonight we will review for the Final Exam and next week it will be administered after the rest of the oral presentations. So, tonight:

  • No Yacapaca!  omg
  • Misplaced modifiers
  • Oral presentations
  • Assignment to make up for Description of a Mechanism
  • Course evaluations
  • Review for the Final

November 14, 2007: Class 12


This week’s class will focus on describing.  Specifically, we will practice the skill of describing a mechanism.  This will be an in-class writing.  Be sure to bring your Markel textbook this week.  Also, please remember that if you have not turned in your term paper, this is the time.  There are two weeks between this week’s class and next week’s; I will use that time to grade term papers.  Please make sure yours has been uploaded to TurnItIn.com and you give me a hard copy of the Cover Sheet and Rubric.

  • Yacapaca
  • Dashes and hyphens
  • Oral presentations
  • Description of a mechanism

November 7, 2007: Class 11


This week, there will be some time at the beginning of class, as promised, for you to finish your usability reports.  Then, I will talk about some best practices for electronic-assisted public speaking (that means PowerPoint).  We will discuss the requirements for the oral presentation and sign up for dates.  Then, if time allows, we will begin the next assignment: description of a mechanism.

  • Yacapaca
  • Subjunctive mood
  • Finish usability reports
  • Electronic-assisted public speaking
  • Description of a mechanism