Dear future ENGL 201007 students,
As I am writing this, I am nearing the end of my Writing for Engineering (ENGL 21007). This course ended up being much more enjoyable than I originally expected thanks to the ability to choose the topics that were written about and while the content we were learning was very structured, a great amount of creativity was used throughout the projects discussed on this site. As fast as this course went by, I can confidently say that I have learned far more than I expected to and feel one step closer to being prepared for the professional world.
The extent to which I have learned each outcome.
The course learning outcomes were one of the very first things we looked at this semester, to ensure that while completing our assignments with these take-aways in mind. (Regardless of if the assignment was a discussion post or an entire project). Not only were these learning outcomes looked at prior to doing our assignments, after each writing piece we looked at how we met each outcome with that piece. With every writing piece we did we practiced very extensive research, perfecting every rhetorical device to ensure that our writing is effective, and using proper citation techniques to establish credibility as a writer and to avoid plagiarizing. While these were the outcomes used to develop a first draft, no writing piece is perfect, especially without revision. Revision was just as important in this course as writing the original piece. Our work constantly got reviewed by other groups and fresh minds always helped ensure that our writing pieces were effective, and what can be done to improve them. Thanks to this cycle of learning, researching, writing, revising, and reflecting; every single course learning outcome was met and eventually perfected since these outcomes were not exclusive to just one assignment.
The change in my perception of what writing is, and its purpose.
This course helped connect the design process with writing, while writing is often viewed as a creative process, technical writing takes an equal amount of work, and understanding. Prior to this course I have done stuff identical to audience analysis and using/understanding rhetorical elements. The biggest takeaway or change in perception from this is that I learned how great of a tool writing is. Writing is not just “story telling” or “informing,” there is far more to writing than just informing someone of something. Writing is essential to every field regardless of if it is technical or not. Many of the skills and genres we covered can be transferred into other fields in one way or another.
At the end of the day, every field/industry would not be complete without writing or communication. Perfecting the ability to get a point across and make sure the right audience views can have a major effect on whether the purpose of your writing is met.
Understanding the significance of content, audience and purpose.
Audience and purpose are two words you will hear very often in this class. While a good chunk of new students understands how these two rhetorical devices play out in writing, they are the most significant devices when it comes to technical writing. In technical writing audience, purpose and content go hand in hand and all are dependent on one another. If one is changed then the other two will change as well. This was sort of the key part of each reflection piece we had following our assignments. Audience or selecting the right audience is key to your purpose since often in technical writing certain documents are meant for a certain category of people or someone who the purpose relates to, based on that audience the content you provide must be a. easy to understand and b. contain sufficient information. The same goes for changing content; take for instance jargon (using language that is used by a particular profession). If your audience is specifically engineers your writing is more likely to use jargon than if your writing was intended to be read by someone like a politician. Therefore, audience analysis and topic research are vital to technical writing because without the right audience reading your work, or your work containing sufficient content, then the effectiveness of your paper goes down drastically.
The biggest course highlight.
The biggest highlight of this course was the ability to work in groups remotely. Prior to taking this class all of us had already spent a year taking classes remotely, one thing that I am sure was new to most of us was the great amount of group work that had to be done remotely. To my surprise everything went way smoother than I expected, primary to the fact that nowadays everyone sits at their phone or computer. Anytime someone had a question it would get answered in less than 10 min. Working in groups made this course go by way smoother and helped many of us build our teamwork skills. The best part was that as the semester went by group mates began distributing work based on each other’s strengths. Group peer reviews and group comments ensured that there was no shortage of feedback. Group work and working in teams is a key part of industry, learning how to work in a team especially remotely was just as big of a takeaway from this course as the actual content we learned about.
Some parts of this course may have you questioning the point of doing something like an audience analysis sheet for the 10th time this semester, at the end it will all come together, and you’ll learn that writing is vital to every industry. This class has taught me way more than I expected it to. Id like to thank my professor and all my peers that were always there (even at 1 am) to answer any questions I had about assignments. While this class may not be the most fun, it will give you valuable skills when it comes to writing, researching and working in teams.