Writing Projects

Overview:
Quiz, due every day with reading assigned, 5% (solo assignment)
Job materials, due 4/14, 10% (solo assignment)
Instruction set, due 4/28, 10% (group assignment)
White paper, due 5/12, 15% (group assignment)
Proposal, due 5/19, 10% (group assignment)
First draft of information packet, due 5/26, (-5% if not submitted) (group assignment)
Information Packet, due 6/2, 25% (group assignment)
Group member assessment, due 6/2, 5%
Portfolio, due 6/12, 20% (solo assignment)

Quiz

Each Tuesday you are required to read 1-2 articles. I will not summarize the readings in lectures. The purpose of our class time will be to apply, extend, challenge, and integrate the content of the reading. But we can’t do this higher-level thinking unless you have read. I will quiz you to make sure that all students have completed the assigned reading. There will be no tricks. This shouldn’t be a stressful assignment. In fact, these will be the easiest quizzes that you’ve ever taken.

The purpose of this assignment is to bribe you into completing the reading.

Due: Every Tuesday
5% of grade

Job Materials

For our first assignment, you will submit a full set of job application materials, which should include PDF resumé, PDF cover letter, and an online portfolio. First, find an advertisement for your “dream job” after graduation. Then, write and revise your resumé and cover letter to target that specific job advertisement.

As with all major assignments in this course, you must also submit a Technical Writing Justification Essay. In this essay, explain the key writing choices that you made while composing your job materials. Define your audience, what they need or want, and how you have targeted that audience. Justify the rhetorical efficacy of your writing choices. Define any limitations that you encountered. The goal of this assignment is to define your key writing choices and also defend those writing choices.

Assessment Criteria

  • Appealing to targeted audience
  • Usable document design
  • Professional organization and style
  • Technical Writing Justification Essay

Due: 4/14
10% of course grade

Instruction set

In groups of 2, you will compose and design a set of instructions. Locate a set of instructions that are you think are confusing, unclear, incomplete, overly detailed, or difficult to follow (Dr. Fancher will give you examples and you may also find an instruction set on your own). As a team, rewrite and redesign the instruction set. I recommend that you think about a specialized task that may be relevant to your major or career. The instruction set may be either web-based or print. 

As with all major assignments in this course, you must also submit a Technical Writing Justification Essay. In this essay, explain the key writing choices that you made while composing your job materials. Define your audience, what they need or want, and how you have targeted that audience. Justify the rhetorical efficacy of your writing choices. Define any limitations that you encountered. The goal of this assignment is to define your key writing choices and also defend those writing choices.

Assessment Criteria

  • Appealing to targeted audience
  • Usable document design
  • Professional organization and style
  • Technical Writing Justification Essay

Due 4/28
10% of course grade

Group assignment

17362447_10100230594199631_375336932434193716_nFor half of the quarter, we are going to be working with the American Indian Health Clinic in Santa Barbara to prepare information packets on health related topics for their clients. This project will include four smaller projects that will culminate in the final product. We are going to work with the lovely folks at AIHC to draft, revise, and prepare documents that can be directly used to help their clients. 

 

White paper

In the groups of 3-4 that you will work with for 1/2 of the quarter, compose a white paper that reports on research on the audience, context, and problem that you will focus on for the information packets. Before we begin any project, we need to listen carefully to the problems and needs of our audiences and communities. For this first project, research the problem or needs of the community or organization that you are working with.

Genre: A white paper, which is a technical/business writing genre; summarizes a lot of research in a short space; often designed to recommend or defend an action or decision.

Content: Collect research on your audience and the context for the information packet. Collect research on the problem that you are trying to address for the information packet. Summarize your research in a very concise way. You may also include research from conversations and interviews with community members.

Audience: typically, the audience of a white paper may be managers or decision makers in an organization. In this case, the audience is going to be your contacts at the organization.

Formatting: Format/design this document in a way that 1) creates a clean and concise organization of research 2) is designed to be skimmed quickly by a manager or decision maker.

As with all major assignments in this course, you must also submit a Technical Writing Justification Essay. In this essay, explain the key writing choices that you made while composing your job materials. Define your audience, what they need or want, and how you have targeted that audience. Justify the rhetorical efficacy of your writing choices. Define any limitations that you encountered. The goal of this assignment is to define your key writing choices and also defend those writing choices.

Assessment Criteria

  • Content: students demonstrate that they understand a specific audience, context and problem.
  • Research: researched from a variety of resources (library research, interviews, surveys, personal experience).
  • Genre: conforms to the genre of a short white paper. Students demonstrate that they can condense extensive research into a short space.
  • Audience: Format the white paper in a way that can easily be processed and used by audience.
  • Technical Writing Justification Essay

Due 5/12
15% of course grade  

Proposal

As a group, write a proposal for an information packet that will 1) appeal to the audience 2) address the problem that you identified in the white paper. This proposal should define your audience and problem briefly. Then, you should outline your key strategies for addressing this problem. Define the genres that you will use, the general features of these genres, and justify why you plan to focus on these genres. Your audience for this assignment should be the decision makers at Indian Health Services in Santa Barbara.

As with all major assignments in this course, you must also submit a Technical Writing Justification Essay. In this essay, explain the key writing choices that you made while composing your job materials. Define your audience, what they need or want, and how you have targeted that audience. Justify the rhetorical efficacy of your writing choices. Define any limitations that you encountered. The goal of this assignment is to define your key writing choices and also defend those writing choices.

Assessment Criteria

  • Content: students develop plan to address specific problem.
  • Argument: Argue for why your strategies (content, genre, rhetorical strategies)  are the most beneficial or effective to address the problem/audience. 
  • Genre: conforms to the genre of a proposal.
  • Audience: Format the proposal in a way that can easily be processed and used by audience.
  • Technical Writing Justification Essay

Due 5/19
10% of course grade

Information Packets

This is the final stage of the process. Now that you understand the problem, audience, context, and rhetorical strategies, you are prepared to compose documents that will help to solve the problem or need you identified during week 5. In the last assignment, you identified the genres or documents that you were going to compose. For this assignment, you will compose those documents. The parameters of this assignment are relatively open. Each group is focusing on a slightly different audience, context, and problem, so each project will be quite different. I encourage each group to make decisions based on what is best for YOUR goals.

As with all major assignments in this course, you must also submit a Technical Writing Justification Essay. In this essay, explain the key writing choices that you made while composing your job materials. Define your audience, what they need or want, and how you have targeted that audience. Justify the rhetorical efficacy of your writing choices. Define any limitations that you encountered. The goal of this assignment is to define your key writing choices and also defend those writing choices.

Assessment Criteria

  • Writing Strategies: students demonstrate that they can effectively apply writing and rhetorical strategies to target their audiences, within specific contexts, and address communication problems.  
  • Research: Use of research to be determined by the individual students.
  • Genre: conforms to the genres defined by students.
  • Audience: Appeals to the needs of your dual audience.
  • Technical Writing Justification Essay

First draft due 5/26 (-5% if not submitted)
Final draft due 6/2
25% of grade

Group Assessment

Given that your grades are dependent on each other for almost 50% of the course, I am going to allow you to assign a grade to each of your group members. Write short essay that evaluates your group dynamic. How did you help each other? How may your collaboration have improved the quality of your work? Assign a grade to yourself as a group member and justify that grade. Assign a grade to each of your group members and justify that grade.

Assessment: I will assign a grade based on an average of what your group members assigned.

Portfolio

After all this hard work, you’re going to end by reflecting upon what you have learned about technical writing. The portfolio is an opportunity for you to individually reflect upon what you’ve learned in the course and how you have grown as a writer. The proposal should include:

  • Cover letter that defines technical writing and reflects upon themes of the course.
  • All major projects (Job Documents, Instruction Set, White paper, Proposal and Information Packets)
  • Reflection paper that addresses how you think you have grown or developed as a technical writer.

Cover letter: This should be composed as a personal letter to Dr. Fancher. In order to address these questions, draw upon 1) reading materials that you found useful 2) your experiences writing and composing in this class 3) examples or quotes from your writing projects. This is typically 1-2 pages. We began the quarter by defining technical writing. Now end the quarter by answering these questions:

  • What defines good/effective technical writing?
  • What skills are important technical writers within organizations?

Reflection paper: After looking through your documents this quarter, reflect upon the work that you’ve done. How have you grown as a technical communicator? What are you proud of and why? And what room for further improvement do you still see?

Assessment Criteria

  • Student articulates and develops definitions of technical writing that they have learned from the reading materials, discussions and projects.
  • Student supports definition of technical writing with examples from their own experience, readings, class discussions.
  • Specific, thoughtful reflection upon how you have personally developed as a technical writer.
  • Polished, refined style, though the tone may be either casual, professional, or academic.

Due Monday 6/12
20% of course grade

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