Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Advisory: Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement as determined by score on the English placement test OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 25 & ESLL 249; not open to students with credit in ENGL 3.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Communication & Analytical Thinking Transferable: CSU
5 hours lecture. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students will be able to recognize the characteristics of diverse rhetorical contexts based on audience(s), purpose(s), and workplace conditions/situations.
  • Students will be able to design and produce written texts in a variety of workplace genres, demonstrating the principles of clear and concise language and effective visual design.
Description -
Preparation of written texts for proposals, presentations, reports, user manuals, handbooks, newsletters, grants and applications, memos, brochures, email, and Internet Web sites. Emphasis on clear, concise language and visual document design. Logical organization and awareness of audience, purpose and process. Effective integration of text, graphics, charts, photos and illustrations.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. create written texts for professional business letters, memos, proposals, presentations, reports, user manuals, handbooks, newsletters, brochures, email, and internet web sites.
  2. design effective visual documents through the appropriate integration of computer-generated page design, fonts, graphics, photos, charts, and other illustrations.
  3. edit texts for logic, accuracy, accessibility, and brevity.
  4. recognize and respond to the needs of differing audiences, situations, tasks and goals.
  5. define technical terms and concepts clearly and creatively.
  6. generate ideas, drafts, outlines, illustrations, and revisions in a timely and creative manner.
  7. recognize and avoid unnecessary jargon, sexist language, and culturally insensitive expressions.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus, computers with capacity to run appropriate software.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to computer with Email and basic software capabilities (word processing, presentation, spreadsheet); Email address.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Text formats designed to address audience needs and expectations
    1. Letters and memos
    2. Proposals and applications
    3. Presentations and reports
    4. User manuals and handbooks
    5. Newsletters and brochures
    6. Email and internet web sites
  2. Visual Document Design
    1. Page layout and font selection
    2. Effective design and strategic placement of graphics, charts, and illustrations
    3. Overall integration of text and graphics for enhanced communications
  3. Editing for accuracy and accessibility
    1. Sequential logic of sentence, paragraph, and document development
    2. Definition of key terms
    3. Reducing redundancy and unnecessary information
  4. Assessing audience needs and expectations
    1. Researching and comparing available formats
    2. Assessing the expected level of technical knowledge in the target audience
    3. Assessing and addressing audience needs and expectations
    4. Peer editing procedures
    5. Focus groups and field testing
    6. Awareness of voice and tone
  5. Creating effective definitions
    1. Necessary vs. unnecessary definitions
    2. Metaphors, similes, and analogies
    3. Icons, graphics, and illustrations
    4. Indexes, glossaries, appendices, and other supporting references
  6. Drafting, revising, and generating ideas
    1. Brainstorming, mind-mapping, and other idea-generation techniques
    2. Outlining and organizing information
    3. Drafting and revision process
  7. Recognizing and avoiding offensive and inappropriate language
    1. Recognizing and avoiding inappropriate technical jargon
    2. Recognizing and avoiding clich?©s
    3. Recognizing and avoiding sexist language
    4. Recognizing and avoiding negative cultural stereotypes and expressions
    5. Effective communication in a multicultural environment
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Written assignments
  2. Class presentations
  3. Journals and Portfolios
  4. Midterm examination
  5. Final examination
Representative Text(s) -
Gerson, Sharon J. and Steven M. Technical Writing: Process and Product, 6th edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007.
Markel, Mike. Technical Communication, 9th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010.
Pfeiffer, William S. Technical Writing: A Practical Approach, 7th edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.
Reep, Diana C. Technical Writing: Principles, Strategies, and Readings, 8th edition. Longman Publishers, 2010.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentation of criteria, concepts, and techniques for effective technical communication. In-class/online instructor-guided evaluation and discussion of the criteria, concepts, and techniques for effective technical communication.
  2. Practice and production of texts applying the criteria, concepts, and techniques for effective technical communication.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading of textbook covering the apparati for effective technical communication.
  2. Research (web, interviews, surveys) on the application of effective technical communication within a given industry.
  3. Written analysis and evaluation of technical communication case studies and case documents
  4. Revision and editing of technical communication case documents
  5. Production (drafting, revising, and editing) of technical communication documents, including a culminating final project