Course Goals


  • To explore the theoretical basis for practice and research in technical communication so that we may better understand how the field is developing and what directions it may take in the near, and distant, future.
  • To explore how technical communicators build new knowledge, and to engage in these processes ourselves as future practicing professionals in the computer science industry.
  • To understand, generally, how theory and the results of research can shape practice and to learn how we may apply specific theoretical approaches and research results to our own work.
  • To foster reflective practice, laying a foundation for a career that involves professional writing.
  • Understand some of the features and processes of technical and professional discourse communities.
  • Specify and adapt to the constraints of specific rhetorical situations, including audiences, purposes, and uses.
  • Develop strategies for accommodating multiple audiences in one document and for accommodating both technical and lay audiences.
  • Learn strategies for making documents accessible and user-centered. These include setting the context and creating pathways through a document.
  • Learn to strategically orchestrate elements of document design, including type, spacing, and color
  • Design and integrate scientific tables and figures in a user-centered format.
  • Develop individual and collaborative writing processes appropriate for technical documents.
  • Learn superstructures and conventions for common technical documents such as correspondence, reports, proposals, and instructions.
  • Refine writing style for more strategic clarity, concision, coherence, cohesion, and emphasis.
  • Work within limited time frames under budgetary constraints.
  • Understand the implications of plagiarism and legal ramifications of technical miscommunication/false documentation.