Campus Compact

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Campus Compact > Syllabi > Writing > Technical Report Writing

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Technical Report Writing

School: Hibbing Community College
Professor: Lois Schmidt

CATALOG DESCRIPTION:
The practice of technical writing, ranging from the simple memorandum to the long, complex technical research report. The course is designed for students in professional, technical and scientific programs. Prerequisite: English 106 or equivalent.

THEME: "Understanding the role of writer and citizen through service-learning"

TEXT: Technical Writing, Seventh Edition by John M. Lannon
MATERIALS: 3 1/2" disk; journal notebook; student guide

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

1. To prepare effective documents, visuals and presentations by knowing purpose, audience, constraints of the situation, and strategies for organizing and presenting information.

2. To reinforce writing and revising as a process

3. To learn to analyze reports, technical documents, and articles for clarity, credibility, development and control of purpose, logic, ethics and bias.

4. To develop skills to collaborate effectively in the workplace like: careful listening, self-directed learning, considering divergent points of view, consensus building, and acceptance of group and instructor evaluation.

5. To apply necessary procedures for primary and secondary research

6. To reflect on and evaluate critical thinking, problem solving processes and group processes as a means of: approaching writing problems in the workplace approaching issues relating to civic interaction

7. To experience community involvement as a means of understanding the role of an informed citizen.

This course has two goals. The first is to help you become a better writer. Over the next ten weeks, you will spend a lot of time writing – both inside and outside of class – and will come to understand the challenges of a work environment. To foster this understanding, the class will become a work community wherein we model relationships that sustain any community – shared power, valuing differences and communicating in a way that values the voices of others.

The second goal is for you to become more sensitive to the number of communities to which you belong and to the ways your activities in these communities reflect your role as a citizen. To this end, you are required to spend 20 hours in community service during this course. By being involved in community service, you will be involved in the everyday lives of persons who may be cornered by very limited social and economic choices, and your experience with them is authentic as you work with them to change their circumstances.

Your service work is, itself, a project in writing as well. As you write about your community service-learning experiences, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your role in this community and how you and others sustain it. Through this experience you will do more than develop insight and skills useful in the world of work. You will become a better prepared citizen able to bring about change in your community.

Hibbing Community College has arranged a number of settings where students can complete this service requirement. Your hours at your site will be negotiated between you and the agency or institution.

STATEMENT OF INTEGRITY: As I conscientiously prepare course lessons, I expect students to also conscientiously prepare assigned readings, exercises and major assignments; to be punctual and responsible; to confer with me on issues or problems they or I deem relevant to their performance as a student; to be courteous and respectful to others and their ideas so as to create a healthy learning environment.

Your success in the course depends almost entirely on you. You must be responsible for turning in assignments on time, for contacting me or your agency supervisor if you need help, for making sure things are as you assume they are. I am here to, support and assist you. Students are encouraged to discuss their individual needs with the instructor.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

1. Attend class and be punctual. This is a writing workshop, and many of the activities cannot be replicated outside of class. In addition, your peers will need your feedback and participation in group activities. Finally, this class will rely on your discussion and participation. Being a member of our work community means attending regularly.

2. Do all the reading for the course
Text: A reference for the skills and concepts needed to sustain a work community and to create technical documents, essays ,and other peer work

3.Type all writing assignments except for your journal

4. Complete all assignments.

A. Journal: In a 8.5 x 11" spiral notebook, keep a journal as a record of your reflections on your community service experience. A journal handout will provide you with the general structure, and the course handout and class discussions will provide a weekly focus.

B: Peer Editing Activities: Since work in real life often depends on collaborative efforts, you will be assigned to a four student editing group at the beginning of the quarter. You will learn to edit your own writing – an ultimate goal of the course – by editing the writing of your peers. You will also come be relying on your peers for some of the information and effort needed to complete projects.

C: Simulation Assignment: This assignment is designed to simulate the multiplicity of writing modes you will encounter in life beyond college. Two assignments will follow a simulation game that centers on a controversy that must be resolved. You may adopt the persona of any of the people involved in the controversy and will present his/her concerns in a statement at an open meeting. Assignments include: a recommendation report. In each case, the class will reach consensus on the purpose, audience and length of each assignment.


D. Final Project: Your final project will be a report prepared for your community service-learning agency which involves both primary and secondary research. Be observant. Listen to members of the agency to discover problems they consider significant. You will begin this project by submitting a proposal and later a progress report. After completing your research, you will complete an analytical report and submit a copy to me and later to your service-learning supervisor (or other appropriate audience.)

F. FINAL EXAMINATION: Essay on your Community Service Learning

COURSE SCHEDULE:

WEEK 1
: Orientation to Technical Report Writing

Discussion: Who writes for a living and what are consequences of selected products?

Orientation to community service-learning citizenship and service ,and its effect on community.

Journal Focus: What is "community?" What are ones I belong to and how do they reflect my values? When have my values been in conflict? How does my "community" depend on me?

WEEK 2: Service-Learning Placement

-introductions and forms

Writing Exercise: Description and Audience Profile

Readings in Text: introductory chapters

Journal Focus: What is the mission at my service site? How will I be a part of it? How are differences apparent in my service site? What is my reaction?

WEEK 3 The Persuasive Problem

Readings in text: purpose, audience, strategies for selecting format and organization.

Writing: audience profile/ Persuasive Letter

Journal Focus: Examine your reflective listening skills at the service site. What result did you anticipated? Are there barriers to applying this skill?


WEEK 4: Simulation Assignments

WORKSHOP: Definition Report and Opening Statement

Readings in text: gathering evidence, research and writing and developing your ideas

Journal Focus: What are the political constraints and realities (time, organizational, ethical) at your service site? How do they effect the work of the agency?

WEEK 5: Considering the Analytical Report
-strategies for choosing a topic

WORKSHOP: Recommendation Report

Readings in text: revising for emphasis, voice, format – including graphs and other visuals

Journal Focus: Seek feedback at your service site, particularly concerning your final analytical report. What are the messages you receive? Are service receivers (clients) able to provide input or to seek feedback? Do they seem voiceless?

WEEK 6: Mid-Quarter formative evaluation of Service-Learning Writing: Proposal for final project

Readings: research and writing, continued

Journal Focus: Use techniques for observing and recording behavioral and attitudinal elements as you reflect on your service experience.

WEEK 7: Final Project – Secondary Research

WORKSHOP: gathering evidence, developing ideas and documenting sources

Journal Focus: What changes can you identify in your perception of the clients at your service site? What social issues impact the work of your agency? What are obvious causes of these problems? What causes may not be obvious?


WEEK 8: Final Project – Progress Report

WORKSHOP: drafting the Progress Report
drafting and revising the Analytical Report

Journal Focus: Reflect on your role in your peer group and in any groups with which you work at your service site. Use the checklist provided in class to organize your thoughts.

WEEK 9: Final Project

WORKSHOP: polishing and editing the Analytical Report

Journal Focus: Did you effect positive change at your service site? What skills did you use? Have your values changed or become more clearly defined? How have your goals been affected? Your social or political awareness?

WEEK 10: Final Project delivering to agency seeking agency feedback

Final Examination: Reflection on community service-learning work

GRADING:

Final grades will be based on an averaging of the following:
Class assignments, including the process description Recommendation Report Proposal and Progress Report Analytical Report Reflection Essay and Journal



Basic English 090

JOURNAL QUESTIONS

1. Recall a successful learning experience. Describe what happened and explain why you were successful. What was the effect of this success experience?

2. Recall a difficult or impossible learning experience. Describe what happened and explain why it was difficult. What was the effect of this unsuccessful experience?

3. Why have you earned the grade recorded on the assignment which has just been returned Are their external causes to be considered?

4. Describe your reaction to the service-teaming tutoring project. What is your belief about your possible success? What will make it difficult?

5. Explain your writing process. How do you go about completing a writing assignment? What distracts you? What helps you when you are stuck? Where and when do you work best?

6. What strengths do you bring to your peer group? What keeps you from contributing to the group?

7. Describe your tutee and the classroom in which you work? Use all your senses to capture the scene.

8. Describe your work with your tutee. What is difficult for you and what is easy? When does your tutee have the most difficulty? What seems easy for him or her?

9. After describing your activity as a tutor, assess whether the tutoring hour was a successful or an unsuccessful learning experience. Use the criteria discussed in class.

10. Is your tutee an optimistic or a pessimistic learner? What messages, body language or situations confirm your assessment?

11. What skills do you use most during the tutoring hour? Describe situations in which you are viewed as a leader by the students?

12. Describe your attempt to confirm or dispute the tutee's learning messages. Then describe the effect on the learning climate. (Look for clues in your tutee's face, body language, comments or attention to the task.)



Basic English 11

JOURNAL WRITING GUIDELINES


One useful way of keeping track of what you are learning is to keep a personal journal. Writing in a journal will help you think your experiences and gain insight into what they mean.

A journal is a series of entries. You will have one or two entries per week, and entries may take different forms. However, a few ingredients are essential. Do not edit as you write. Instead, write your thoughts freely, without regard for spelling or punctuation. Editing may be done later, if you wish. The point is not to stop the flow of your thoughts. Be candid and use your senses and observational skills. As a result, your writing will become more interesting.

Your journal is a reflective activity which allows you to grapple with problems and frustrations; it allows you to think about the way you think and about the way you organize your time and pursue tasks; it allows you to identify your accomplishments and positive learning experiences. In other words, in this Journal, you can chart your growth both academically and personally.

1. As you complete journal prompts given in class, follow the specific directions given for each. (12 points)

2.
When completing a journal entry during your tutoring project, use the following format: Record a journal entry each time you tutor. Take a few minutes soon after the tutoring session (no longer than a few hours later) so that your reflection will be as accurate as possible.

A.
Begin with an objective description, including the place, date and hours worked. Indicate what happened in a brief factual account. Do not include any opinions. This part of the entry will be a few lines. (2 points)

B.
Then interpret. Respond to the focus question given in class. Think of this as a focused free write in which you put down everything that seems pertinent to the question. This part of the entry will be a paragraph or more. (5 points)

C.
Describe what the experience means to you. Use emotion words (happy, surprised, frustrated, etc.) to describe your feelings. Add other information that seems important to you. I have included a few questions below that you might use in this section. This part will be a paragraph or more. (5 points)

1. What's the best thing that happened today?

2. What skills did I learn/practice?

3. How do others see my role?

4. Did I receive any compliments/criticisms? What did I learn from this?

5. What kind of person does it take to be a successful tutor?

6. How does tutoring help the community?

Campus Compact connects the campus with the city formally and informally, which is very useful in a variety of ways, from name recognition for service-learning and the university to developing and funding a new position that will foster relationships between schools, universities, and city offices."

-Hamline University