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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 204
Course Title: Technical Writing
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study and practice of writing for professional and technical audiences and purposes.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 112

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional Offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any comprehensive technical writing text, such as the following:

Reporting Technical Information
By Kenneth Houp and Thomas Pearsall (Oxford University Press)
Course Objectives
  • To prepare students for writing effectively in various professions.
  • To foster professional competence.
Measurable Learning
  • Recognize and exhibit proper professional format of reports and other forms of communication.
  • Employ audience analysis and adaptation skills.
  • Demonstrate effective graphics and the necessary technology to incorporate graphics in texts.
  • Exercise proper use of technical jargon.
  • Exercise proper grammar skills.
Topical Outline:
  • Departmental policy requires students write a minimum of 3000 words of graded writing for the course.
  • The major library tools of the technical writer.
  • Writing effective questionnaires.
  • Adaptation of writing content and style to the four audiences: laypersons, executives, experts, and technicians.
  • Use of the traditional means of exposition (definition, classification, comparison/contrast, etc.).
  • The place of argumentation in technical writing.
  • Formula for the Gunning Fog index and apply it to the control of wordiness and polysyllabicism.
  • Avoiding passive voice and other constructions that lead to wordiness.
  • Correct elements that belong in technical reports (abstracts, table of contents, numbering systems, documentation forms, etc.).
  • Incorporating graphics into report writing.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Christina Ingoglia Date: May 8, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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