Technical Writing Syllabus

EH 301:  Technical Writing                                                        Fall 2015

Section 02:  T/TH    11:10-12:30   Lib 207

Instructor:      Dr. Allen Berry

Office:             MH 218A (located in the MH 220 office suite)

Hours:             Mon., Wed. 10:15 to 11:15, Tue., Thur. 10:00 to 11:00; all other times by appointment only

Phone:            TBA



TEXT:  The Essentials of Technical Communication by Elizabeth Tebeaux and Sam Dragga.  3rd Edition.  Available in the UAH Bookstore.  We will also be using supplementary materials found on Canvas.

Course Description


3 credit hours. Practical writing, especially technical or scientific reports and proposals, with emphasis on organization, research, and presentation. Prerequisites: EH 101 and EH 102 and junior standing. Counts as elective in the English major. Does not count toward minor except for Cognate Studies in Technical Writing.


Learning Outcomes


Students are introduced to typical technical and work-related documents, and the writing style and conventions appropriate for those documents, from several fields (particularly computer science, science, and engineering). Students who successfully complete this course can do the following:

Oral and Written Communication

  • Write in a prose style appropriate for the particular type of document (assessment tool: final project document)
  • Recognize the importance of clarity, consistency, and correctness in writing and apply these principles to the documents they write (assessment tool: final project document)
  • Create tables and figures for specific information and incorporate them smoothly into a document (assessment tool: final project document)
  • Use typography and graphic design techniques to reflect the content of a technical document and to enhance readability (assessment tool: final project document)
  • Select and organize information from readings or research and present that information orally (assessment tool: project presentation)

Critical Thinking

  • Determine what type of document needs to be written for a given situation (assessment tool: final project document)
  • Identify primary and secondary audiences for a technical or work-related document and adapt the content, style and graphic design to those audiences (assessment tool: final project document)
  • do secondary research, incorporate that research into a text, and cite that research according to an established style guide (assessment tool: final project document)

Professional Expectations


Because this class prepares students for the workplace, I expect students to behave as professionally as they would at work. This means turning arriving on time, actively participating in coursework and discussion, contributing a fair share to group work, and speaking and writing professionally. In particular, professional expectations for the course include the following:

  • Work that could not be published as is in a professional setting as is will not receive an A.
  • Emails will be professionally written.
  • Students will follow instructions meticulously and accurately.



Required Texts


The Essentials of Technical Communication. 2nd Edition. Elizabeth Tebeaux and Sam Dragga.

Readings on Canvas.

Assignments and Projects


Introductory Memo: Students will produce a 400 word introductory memo to help them learn and memo genre and effective revision techniques.

Project One: Job Application Project: Students will produce a resume and cover letter tailored to a specific job ad.

Instructions Project: Students will produce a video software tutorial and print instructions informing users how to complete specific tasks with the software.

Term Project: Students will complete a term project that comprises the most substantial part of EH 301. The project involves creating a technical document for a specific audience. The project involves several phases: an idea memo, a proposal, a progress report, a presentation, and a final document.

Final: Students will take a short final that assesses mastery of course concepts and material.

Participation/Activities: The course includes several smaller activities as well as many in-class activities. This 10% of the grade includes those smaller course activities as well as attendance and participation in discussion. In the event of absence, participation points cannot be made up.

ATTENDANCE:  Being present and on time is a mark of professionalism and a courtesy to others in the class.  Frequent absences will adversely affect your work and, consequently, your grade.  You will lose one letter grade for 3-4 absences.  Five or more absences will result in a failing grade for the course. Two tardies (more than 10 minutes late) equal one absence.  Note:  Students who drop the course are responsible for properly withdrawing.


EMAIL RULES:  Please use my UAH email address (above), not Canvas to send me messages.  When you email me, please put your name and class in the Subject Line (Mary  Smith EH 301).  I will answer questions about your assignments, but I do not comment on drafts through email, nor may you send me your assignments through email unless you are unable to get to class on a day the assignment is dueThen, you may send it through email so it’s not counted late.  However, you must bring a print copy by the next class period.  I am not your secretary; therefore, I will not print your assignments for you.

CLASSROOM CONDUCT:  All students in the class must treat others with civility and respect, and conduct themselves during class sessions in a way that does not unreasonably interfere with the opportunity of other students to learn.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result in points being deducted from a student’s final grade, up to a maximum of one full letter grade.  Please turn off your cell phone, and make every effort to be at every class on time. Texting in class will result in an automatic absence, and you will be asked to leave.  Use of vapor cigarettes is not permitted. If I see smoke coming from your head, I will get a bucket of water and try to put you out, and then you will have to leave my class room.


ACADEMIC HONESTY:  Your written assignments and examinations must be your own work.  Academic misconduct will not be tolerated.  To ensure that you are aware of what is considered academic misconduct, you should review carefully the definition and examples provided in Chapter 7, Article III, Section C, in the UAH Student Handbook.  If you have any questions in this regard, please contact me right away.


PRIOR WORK:  You may not submit in fulfillment of requirements in this course any work submitted, presented, or used by you in any other course.


DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS:  The University of Alabama in Huntsville will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. If you need support or assistance because of a disability, you may be eligible for academic accommodations. Students should identify themselves to the Disability Support Office (824-1997, Madison Hall 131) and their instructor as soon as possible to ensure that appropriate accommodations are implemented in a timely manner. All discussions regarding disabilities will remain confidential.



Exercises and drafts                            10%

Progress Report                                  10%

Project #1 (individual)                        10%

Project #2 (group)                               15%

Project #3                                             15%

Proposal                                                 10%

Final Exam                                             15%

Instructions                                           15%

Assignments receive both a letter grade and a numerical equivalent: A = 12, A- = 11, B+ = 10, etc.  To figure the final course grade, I multiply the numerical equivalent by the percentage, then total (see chart on page four).  Note: Students should work well in advance of deadlines so they can receive my help during the drafting stage.  Also, while I will answer questions and offer comments on your drafts, I will not proofread them for mechanical or grammatical errors.  Consult your handbook if you have problems in these areas.



Work is due at the beginning of the class period (the time stamp in Angel will provide the final authority on the submission time). Failure to attach an assignment to an email or Angel qualifies as turning it in late. Please also follow the instruction sheet directions for naming file attachments. A late assignment will lose a full letter grade for every 24 hours it is late (the 24 hour period begins at the moment the assignment is due).


Note:  Since this is not a correspondence course, I do not accept papers from students who are not regularly attending class.


Submitting Work


All work written outside of class must be typed and follow genre conventions. Because many assignments must be submitted electronically, students should have access to a computer with word processing software. In addition, students need to be able to submit files that are compatible with Microsoft Word, so students with Apple computers should submit files as .rtf, .txt, .pdf, or as a Word file. Please let me know if this presents a problem.



Your written assignments and examinations must be your own work. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated. To ensure that you are aware of what is considered academic misconduct, you should review carefully the definition and examples provided in Article III, Code of Student Conduct, Student Handbook, p. 93. If you have any questions in this regard, please contact me right away.

This policy means that all student writing must be ethically researched and cited to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is any student’s intentional or unintentional representation of another writer’s words as his/her own writing. To enforce this policy, an assignment that contains ANY words from another writer that are not indicated by quotation marks and proper citation will result in a zero on the assignment and referral to the Committee on Academic Integrity. Additionally, writing that is too closely paraphrased from another author will be considered plagiarism and result in a zero on the assignment and referral to the Committee on Academic Integrity.


You may not submit in fulfillment of requirements in this course any work submitted, presented, or used by you in any other course.

UAH is committed to the fundamental values of preserving academic honesty as defined in the Student Handbook (7.III.A, Code of Student Conduct). The instructor reserves the right to utilize electronic means to help prevent plagiarism. Students agree that by taking this course all assignments are subject to submission for textual similarity review to Assignments submitted to will be included as source documents in’s restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. The terms that apply to the University’s use of the service, as well as additional information about the company, are described at


COPYRIGHT (Allen Berry, 2014).  All federal and state copyrights in my lectures and course materials are reserved by me.  You are authorized to take notes in class for your own personal use and for no other purpose.  You are not authorized to record my lectures or to make any commercial use of them or to provide them to anyone else other than students currently enrolled in this course without my prior written permission.  In addition to legal sanctions for violations of copyright law, students found in violation of these prohibitions may be subject to University disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct.




September 1          Last day to drop and receive refund

September 7          Holiday, University Closed

September 9           Last day to apply Pass/Fail

September 16        Last day to change from credit to audit

October 1                Application deadline for Bachelor’s Degree Spring

Semester Candidates

October 8-10         Fall Break (No Class)

October 30             Last day to withdraw

October 26            Registration for Spring 2016 begins

EH 301:  ASSIGNMENTS (Complete before you come to class)

  Assignments What’s Due
Week 1    
Aug 20 Introduction to class  
Week 2  
Aug 25 Basics of Technical Communication


Aug 27 Memos            



Week 3

Sep 1 Concise Writing

Track Changes


Memo Draft due (Canvas)

Sep 3 Grammar/Spelling ETOC Appendix A

Memo revision due (Canvas)

Week 4  
Sep 8 Job Search

Reading Job Ads

EOTC Ch 12

Final Memo due

Resume/Cover letter rough draft due by Midnight

Sep 10 Career Fair at UAH in lieu of class. Find a company you’d craft a resume for.
Week 5  
Sep 16 Resumes and Cover Letters  
Sep 17 Peer Review of Resumes/Cover Letters (bring two copies to class)  
Week 6  
Sep 22 Project 2: Instruction Project EOTC Ch 10

Final resume due (Canvas)

Sep 24 Chapter 6: Designing Illustrations EOTC Ch 6
Week 7    
Sep 29  Readers and Users

Preparing Usability Tests

Oct 1 Work Day for Project 2
Week 8  
Oct 6 Usability Testing/ In class Peer Review of Instruction Project Project 2: Rough draft due on Canvas by 11:59 PM
Oct 8 Fall Break – Class Will Not Meet  
Week 9  
Oct 13 Introduce Term Project

Audience Analysis

Final Draft of Project 2 Due on Canvas by 11:59 PM
Oct 15 Proposals


EOTC Ch 9 (Read before Class)
Week 10  
Oct 20 Technical Reports

White Papers

EOTC Ch 8 (Read before class)


Oct 22 Research EOTC Appendix B

Week 11

Oct 27 Work Day Project Proposal Due
Oct 29 Scientific Reports  
Week 12    
Nov 3 In-Class group work on idea memo Idea Memo due on Canvas 11:59 PM (final draft)
Nov 5 In-Class group work on Project 3  
Week 13    
Nov 10 Progress Reports  
Nov 12 Document Design



EOTC 6 (Read before Class)

Week 14
Nov 17 Preparing for Presentations

Visual Ethics


EOTC Ch 11 (Read before class)

Nov 19 Editing Progress Report due on Canvas 11:59 PM
Week 15    
Nov 24 Presentations  
Nov 26 Thanksgiving Holiday – Class Will Not Meet  
Week 16  
Dec 2 No Class – Finals Week  
Dec 3 Final Exam: 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM              FINAL PROJECT DUE

301 Grading Chart


Assignment Letter Grade & numerical equivalent Percentage Points earned

Project 1: Job Application

x 15%


Project 2: Instruction

x 15%

Project 3: Term Project X 50 %


Progress Report


Final Documents

x 10%

x 10%

x 10%

x 10%

x 20%

Final Exam                               x 5%
Participation                               x 5%
  TOTAL Points     100

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