Technical Writing

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2016
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 8:00-9:20am

Dr. Sally Henschel (view Profile)


Practical Strategies for Technical Communication.
Author - Mike Markel, 2013

Course Objectives

 Course Description:

The purposes and practice of expository writing in the professions, with particular emphasis on writing related to each student’s major. Topics include audience analysis, communication ethics, collaboration, information design, technical editing, and professional genres (letters, e-mails, memos, instructions, proposals, reports, and presentation slides).

Departmental Learning Goals:

Critical Inquiry (Objective 1.1): Students engage in an increasingly sophisticated discourse and demonstrate aesthetic and critical discernment through close textual analysis. (Objective 1.2): Students evaluate secondary sources and apply skills in information gathering and management, and document design, using traditional sources and emerging technologies.

Knowledge of Language and Literature(Objective 2.1): Students understand the usage and structure of the English language.  (Objective 2.4): Students are introduced to seminal academic and professional publications in the field of technical and professional communication.

Writing as Process (Objective 3.1): Students reflect on their arguments over multiple stages of development. (Objective 3.2): Students reference and format primary and secondary sources using any one style manual consistently.

Engagement (Objective 4.1):  Students are aware of a cultural context for their own values and those of their sources.


Course Learning Outcomes and Measurements 

 Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze communication contexts rhetorically by understanding audiences, purposes, and situations. Measurement: Completion of course reading assignments, and successful completion of individual and collaborative assignments and projects.
  • Analyze and apply the ethical responsibilities involved in technical communication. Measurement: Observation and analysis of informal face-to-face and online asynchronous discussion. Completion of individual and collaborative assignments and projects.
  • Write effective, meaningful technical prose. Measurement: Completion of individual and collaborative projects.
  • Apply concepts of information design to create convincing and usable documents. Measurement: Successful planning, development, and design of individual and collaborative assignments and projects.
  • Create technical documents that solve problems and improve situations through communication. Measurement: Successful completion of individual and collaborative assignments and projects.
  • Communicate effectively with a diverse audience. Measurement: Observation of informal face-to-face and online asynchronous discussions, completion of research poster, and completion of individual and collaborative projects.


Course Expectations






Team participation

-   Team member evaluations






Individual assignments

-   Instructions

-   Graphics/tables

-   Job application materials

-   Research report

-   Collaboration/conflict memo

-   Editing exam











Collaborative assignments

-   Proposal presentation

-   Team style guide

-   Proposal written

-   Recommendation report

-   Project mgmt. web site

-   Final presentation











Grading Standards


100 - 90% — A 

   89 - 80% — B 

   79 - 70% — C 

   69 - 60% — D

  < 60% — F 


Graded assignments submitted after their due dates will be penalized in the following ways:

-   The grade for the assignment will drop 10% for each scheduled class meeting that it is late.

-   Students will not be allowed to turn in future assignments until late work has been submitted. These assignments also will be penalized for late submission.



Final Exam

05/12/2016 8:00am

Submission Format Policy

All assignments submitted for grading in this course must conform to the guidelines outlined in each assignment description.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

All assignments will be due on dates assigned. No late work will be accepted unless specific arrangements have been made prior to the due date. Students falling two assignments behind are subject to administrative withdrawal from the course by the instructor. 

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Negative points are deducted from final grade for absences or tardies (i.e., arriving late to class or leaving class early):

 -0 points for one absentee

 -2  points for two absentees

 -4   points for three absentees

 -6   points for four absentees

Two tardies are counted as one absence. A "tardy" is when one arrives late to class or leaves early (i.e., 1-14 minutes)

Arriving 15 minutes late or leaving 15 minutes before class ends counts as an absence.

After five absences or tardies, a student is subject to being dropped from the course with a grade of "F." 

Other Policies

See attached syllabus which includes an assignment schedule.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at