I went ahead and turned in my book choice and course description for WR327: Technical Writing today. Despite not much time to select a book, I went ahead and chose Mike Markel’s Technical Communication, 8th ed. Here’s my course description (which is a collage/adaptation of others’ course descriptions from OSU, also influenced by Markel’s description of technical writing [p. 4]):
Creating technical documents involves the processes of writing, designing, and delivering technical information to audiences in ways that they can use it ethically, effectively, and efficiently. Because such writing requires a problem-solving process, successful technical writers have the ability to identify, define, analyze and solve communication problems in order to achieve a specific purpose with a specific audience. In other words, the documents technical writers produce are aimed at specific actions or results in the real world.
This course focuses on the rhetorical nature of technical communication and asks students to incorporate an understanding of context, audience, purpose, conventions, and design into the process and production of writing for technical professions. Students will learn how to think through the purpose of different modes of technical communication, critically examine and target specific audiences, research for and produce efficient and effective documents, and work successfully in groups. These lessons will the be applied to different forms of technical writing, including proposals, reports, instructions, memos, emails, letters, and employment documents.