English 402: Technical and Professional Writing

    Instructor: Bryan Fry
    Office: Avery 371
    Office Hours: MWF 12-1
    quick link to schedule


    Course Description

English 402 is designed for students of all disciplines and a variety of majors.  The course is intended for students who, in their present or future work, must be involved primarily in transactional writing—writing that gets a particular job done. Students will learn to identify problems, research ways to address or solve those problems, and communicate the problems and their possible solutions appropriately and effectively to others. In having students develop these skills, English 402 serves the larger purpose of presenting realistic and sensitive insights into the workings of a professional world that has become socially, technologically, and culturally more complex.


Students will engage in reasonably sophisticated research projects and move through the various stages of analysis and interpretation of information they collect.  Through the process of their research, students will gain experience in producing several different pieces of professional and technical writing.  Having to focus on the research project over an extended period of time will give students experience in solving or addressing a problem and communicating that process to specific audiences in appropriate ways that fit their needs.  Additionally, engaging in various stages of solving problems will encourage awareness of how writers' purposes and roles influence writing.  Students will also participate in collaborative exercises and oral presentations.  The semester's work will promote critical understanding of audience, format, conventions, and rhetorical strategies in technical and professional writing.     


    Course Objectives    

By the end of this course students will be able to
> identify and analyze rhetorical situations and apply rhetorical strategies to technical and professional writing;
> understand the relationship between writing and larger societal groups and social issues;
> compose and revise a variety of technical and professional documents that respond to the identified rhetorical situation;
> demonstrate a knowledge of research techniques and inclusion of research results in technical and professional documents;
> demonstrate the ability to communicate through professional presentations;
>work both individually and collaboratively to complete technical and professional writing projects.   


    Required Texts         

A Concise Guide to Technical Communication by Gurak and Lannon (3rd ed)
The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams



All assignments must be wordprocessed. Registration for this course includes access to the Avery Microcomputer Lab (AML). An introduction to the AML will be provided, and the course will meet there often. No specific level of computer knowledge is required, but familiarity with basic personal computing will be assumed..


    Attendance and Assignments    

To successfully complete this class, you must faithfully attend class and complete all assignments. Because we will be working collaboratively on many assignments, your regular attendance is vital. Please note on the schedule the occasions when attendance is absolutely required.

Some specifics:
>more than three absences will seriously jeopardize your grade; after five absences you will fail the class;
> extensive tardiness will be considered in assessing absences;
> planned absences must be discussed and OK’d by the teacher prior to the absence; planned absences count in the total of absences;
> acceptance of late work is unusual and must be discussed in conference with the teacher. Late work will receive a lowered grade if turned in within one week of the original due date. Work turned in later than one week past the original due date will be give an automatic F.

    See linked 

    WSU Accommodation Policy    

We are committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Rooms 205). Call 509 335 3417 to make an appointment with a disability counselor.


    Academic Honest    

All students are expected to act in accordance with the WSU policies on Academic Honesty found in the Student Handbook. These policies include falsification of information, fabrication of information, plagiarism, multiple submission, and various others. Information about these policies can be found online at the WSU Academic Dishonesty site. These policies will be discussed in class and students will be asked to acknowledge that discussion and a basic understanding of the policies..


    Projects and Evaluation   

Several of the projects below are multi-part. Detailed assignments will appear on the class schedule as the assignments begin.

Resume and Application Letter
20 %
Document Design Project
Pitch Proposal
Collaborative Repurposing Project
Progress Memo
In-class Assignments and Quizzes

            Note: All assignments must be completed to pass this course.
    See Schedule