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Technical and Business Writing, ENGL 2311
Course Master Syllabus
Business & Technical Communications Department

CIP CODE Area 23.1101
Course Level Sophomore Level
Course Number ENGL 2311
Course Title Technical and Business Writing

Hours Credit: 3
Lecture Hours: 3
Lab Hours: 0

Prerequisite Please note that ENGL 1301 is no longer a required prerequisite for taking ENGL 2311.

Method Three-hour lecture/discussion each week

Description ENGL 2311 Technical and Business Writing: Principles, techniques, and skills needed to conduct scientific, technical, or business writing. Instruction in the writing of reports, letters, in the preparation and presentation of oral reports, and other exercises applicable to a wide range of disciplines and careers. Emphasis on clarity, conciseness, and accuracy of expression. Research techniques, information design, effective use of graphics, and preparation and presentation of oral reports will be covered.

Textbooks Riordan and Pauley. Technical Report Writing Today, current edition. Houghton Mifflin.
McMurrey. Power Tools for Technical Communication, current edition. Heinle.
Houp, Pearsall, Tebeaux, Dragga. Reporting Technical Information, current edition. Oxford.

ENGL 2311 SCANS Competencies Please go to for a complete definition and explanation of SCANS. This list summarizes the SCANS competencies addressed in this particular course.

1.1 Manages Time
2.1 Participates as a Member of a Team
2.3 Serves Clients/Customers
2.5 Negotiates to Arrive at a Decision
3.1 Acquires and Evaluates Information
3.2 Organizes and Maintains Information
3.3 Uses Computers to Process Information
4.1 Understands Systems
5.1 Selects Technology
5.2 Applies Technology to Task
Basic Skills
6.1 Reading
6.2 Writing
6.5 Listening
6.6 Speaking
Thinking Skills
7.1 Creative Thinking
7.2 Decision Making
7.3 Problem Solving
7.4 Mental Visualization
7.5 Knowing How to Learn
7.6 Reasoning
Personal Qualities
8.1 Responsibility
8.2 Self-Esteem
8.3 Sociability
8.4 Self-Management
8.5 Integrity/Honesty

See specific instructor’s syllabus

Course Rationale This course is an introduction to technical writing. It is intended primarily for people in other majors in which writing- and oral-presentation skills are essential and for people entering the Technical Communications Program at Austin Community College. This course challenges students to demonstrate writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation; to define audience and purpose; to employ descriptive, expository, narrative, scientific modes of expession in technical communications (written, visual, and oral); to participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening and responding as well as critical thinking; to apply principles of critical thinking, problem solving, and technical proficiency in the development of technical documents; to research and write technical documents and to give oral presentations on technical subject matters. ENGL 2311 covers the basics of analyzing and writing for audiences; writing technical reports, instructions, business letters, resumes, proposals; preparing for and presenting oral reports; using headings, lists, and notices; creating tables, charts, graphs, illustrations; finding and documenting information; technical-writing-specific mechanics and style; and a review of grammar, usage, and punctuation.

Objectives &
  • Be able to analyze an audience, both domestic and international, and write effective technical and business documents for that audience.
  • Employ the appropriate aims of discourse in technical and business contexts: primarily, expository and persuasive. Use the appropriate modes of discourse accordingly the situation, audience, and document genre.
  • Write a satisfactory application letter and resume and critically evaluate those others.
  • Write a satisfactory set of instructions that use headings, lists, illustrations, and notices competently. Review for terminology, color, and graphics issues that would cause comprehension problems for international users. Critically evaluate a selection of instructions.
  • Write a proposal that works as a proposal and that provides adequate detail about your final technical-report project. Critically evaluate a selection of proposals.
  • Write a recommendation that uses sources of information and documents them properly and that includes tables, charts, or graphs. Critically evaluate a selection of recommendation reports.
  • Write a complaint letter that calmly and professionally requests compensation for a bad product or service and that is well-designed as a business letter.
  • Present at least three oral reports, either summarizing the proposal, progress report, or recommendation report, or demonstrating the instructions. Peer-evaluate the oral presentations of others in the class.
  • Research and critically evaluate external-information resources for technical documents.
  • Write a formal technical report that focuses on a specific real or real-life situation requiring a report, that addresses a real or realistic audience's needs and background, that is properly structured with the standard front and back matter, that uses page format as covered in this course, that uses borrowed information that is properly documented, that is nicely produced and bound, and that contains good technical writing.
  • Working in teams, plan, research, write, and revise a researched technical document such as a report or white paper.
  • Develop a portfolio of written projects over the semester, continuously adding to and finetuning the portfolio, with an objective of using the portfolio not just for a final grade but for employment interviews.

Grading System Your instructor will provide specific information about how you will be graded in this course.

Course Policies Departmental policies for Incompletes, Attendance, and Withdrawal are as follows:

Incomplete Policy: An incomplete (I) will be granted to a student in rare circumstances. Generally, to receive a grade of I, a student must have completed all examinations and assignments to date, be passing, and have personal circumstances that prevent course completion that occur after the deadline to withdraw with a grade of W.

Attendance Policy: All students are expected to attend classes. Non-attendance will have an impact on the student’s grade.

Withdrawal Policy: It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course. Instructors are allowed to withdraw students but students must not rely on their instructor to withdraw them if they wish to withdraw.

Austin Community College policies for Academic Freedom, Scholastic Dishonesty, Student Discipline, and Students with Disabilities are as follows:

Academic Freedom Statement: Each student is strongly encouraged to participate in class. In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. These differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor. It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.

Scholastic Dishonesty Statement: Acts prohibited by the College for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework” (Student Handbook, 2002-2003, p. 32). Penalties for scholastic dishonesty will depend upon the nature of the violation and may range from lowering a grade on one assignment to an F in the course and/or expulsion from this institution.

Student Discipline Statement: Classroom behavior should support and enhance learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being withdrawn from the class. ACC's policy on student discipline can be found in the Student Handbook, 2002-2003, p. 32.

Students with Disabilities Statement: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester” (Student Handbook, 2002-2003, p. 14).