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Draft-of-Performance-Review-Memo MK

Page history last edited by fs7648@... 6 years ago

WSU Undergraduate Bulletin Course Description

 

Instruction in basic technical writing skills. Requirements include writing summaries, letters, memos, instructions, and technical reports. Topics include audience and purpose analysis, textual and visual aspects of technical document design, and formatting.

 

Department of English Course Description 

 

ENG 3050 prepares students for reading, researching, writing, and designing technical documents. While some technical writing addresses a general audience (e.g., instructions), technical documents are often written for multiple audiences with different specializations (e.g., technical reports for executives and implementers). Technical documents incorporate both textual (writing) and visual (graphics, illustrations, etc.) elements of design.

 

To pass ENG 3050, students must demonstrate their ability to do the following:

 

Writing and Designing

Write effectively as individuals and in teams in standard genres of technical writing (including summaries, professional correspondence, resumes, instructions, technical descriptions, reports, and performance assessments), including the appropriate use of grammar, mechanics, style, and document design for formal and informal documents and standard conventions of citation and documentation.

 

Reading and Analyzing

Read, analyze, and evaluate the design of, and the audience(s) and purpose(s) for, technical documents, including text, visuals, format, usability, citation, documentation, and mechanics.

 

Researching and Documenting

Design and conduct primary and secondary research; evaluate appropriate sources in support of composing technical documents.

 

Using Technology and Media

Make productive use of current technologies for reading, researching, writing, and designing technical documents.

 

Evaluate each part based on the criteria of the memo

Refer more to the learning objectives

Shorten: reduce fluff and make more concise based on memo requirements

Way too long, 4 pages.

 

Intro

 

 

Individual Performance

 

Personal Portfolio:  Curriculum Vitae

As part of the learning objectives, we had to create a resume', cover letter, and personal web page to represent our emerging portfolios of works and to learn to highlight skills that would show us at our best to the world.  I never would have considered making a personal webpage before this class.  It was kind of a breakthrough for me personally.  I started to analyze who I was and how i wanted to present myself to future employers, but also the digital community at large.  The prospect of creating a digital footprint became a very exciting one as I saw the benefits of properly marketing yourself to the community at large.  Unexpected networking, a positive self-image, and a portfolio that I could look back on to reflect and gain insight on projects where I could have worked harder and what things I am truly proud of.

 

These projects made me think very critically about my audience and how I can tailor to them or control what I want them to see.  Design and usability were very important to me as I created these works.  Design was crucial for the site, but more importantly the resume' and cover letter.  It was hard to portion out skills I had, or accomplishments I wanted to highlight, while still providing a clean, professional, and persuasive argument for hiring me.  The design was something that I had actually messed up on due to formatting issues.  I somehow had a problem where there was an extra blank page that saved with the rest of my document.  I couldn't seem to make my content fit and was something I needed to work on, an experience to learn from. 

 

WikiHow Instruction Set

In the world of technical writing, especially as I am becoming an engineer, being able to convey your works to someone who doesn't have the knowledge that I would have in creating a project.  It is important to be able to create an instruction set that anyone would use, or at least those who it is designed for.  Instruction sets depend on your audience wholly.  While design, usability, criteria, and genre are instrumental to creating a solid set of instructions, all of these concepts are dependents to the audience.  You may be writing a instruction set for: a manager with limited knowledge, a customer with no knowledge, or fellow engineers who have as much technical knowledge as yourself.  This could be a document that is based on pictures alone, or a manual with technical drawings and instructions that require a base of knowledge to begin with.

 

My instruction set dealt with a workout technique, the turkish get-up, and so dealt with a broad audience, but concentrated in the exercise communities.  As I have said before, audience is always crucial for any writing process.  This helped me determine what type of graphics I would use, how I would write instructions (to what degree of specificity), and how I wanted my audience to feel as they read it.  This was a great experience for me because not only was I able to create an instruction set, something I have never done before, but I was able to interact with the WikiHow community and actually contribute to "society" in a way I found fun and interesting.  I was able to take something I knew and had experience with and answer a request from the community and give them a detailed, interesting, and safe set of instructions to perform.  My work was noted by the WikiHow community and was promoted to the "Rising Stars,"  which is a type of commemoration for the work I did for WikiHow.  It is a small reward, but something that gave me pride and I may contribute more to WikiHow as time goes on. 

 

Graphics were a very important part of this document.  As the old saying goes, "a picture can say a thousand words,"  graphics can provide more instruction  than a many pages of information.  I was lucky to find very detailed pictures for my instrcutions with front and side views of each step.  Even though, in a way, this took away from the learning experience, I still was able to help further enhance graphics with arrows, captions, etc. and learn how to make graphics say even more.

 

Short Writing Assignments

This is one area where I felt my efforts were shallow and could have been improved immensely.  I just didn't feel the connection to their relevance as I did with the main projects.  They were just small reading assignments where we had to just answer a particular question or two or talk about a certain procedure of writing and extrapolate its importance.  I had a hard time applying the concepts of writing to these assignments.  The only ones I felt I truly used for these were audience, persuasiveness, and criteria.  Looking back I would have worked harder on these assignments.  When we would shortly review the assignments in class I saw really good examples of what I should have been doing.  This only raised the bar for me, but was also a concern of mine that I was becoming apathetic or just didnt fully understand the concepts I was writing about and therefore couldn't apply the techniques of writing well.  These assignments were where I performed the worst and have a lot of improvement to make.

 

Collaborative Performance

Feasibility Report

This project was by far the most difficult for myself.  Not only was it a lot of work, but delegating the work and planning the steps to reach our collaborative goals was a wake up call from the real world.  I have always worked best on my own because I understand exactly where I am at and where I need to go.  This was a big change for me.  I have never worked on a group project whose scope was so large and yet so detail oriented.  It was quite daunting at first.  I loved having deadlines for the team and wokring with them in revision and directing them into what to research, how they should thinking about the data, and what's the data's relavance to our end goal.  Being able to effectively analyze data, sites, and purpose were critical in this project to develop not only a pitch of a local problem, but on the measures needed to solve that problem.  This project required critically thinking strategies, detailed planning, and constant revision as we constantly assessed goals based on criteria and its effectiveness for the report.

 

Research Plan

To develop a solid research plan, we used every skill we had learned previously and applied them in concerted effort.   It was by far the most confusing time for all of us in the group.  Deciding on what idea we would work on was very odd at first as people assiilate in groups and pitch their very diverse ideas.  As awkward as it felt at first, it was a valuable experience for the real world as this is how teams work in the beginning of any project.  Once we had decided on a mission, we were to create a plan on how we would tackle our objectives.  This required every writing concept: audience, genre, persuasion, usability, design, revision,  and criteria.  As we went on in steps, we had to evaluate everything based on our audience and run all our research and solutions throuhg criteria we developed with the goal of persuading our reader to see the problem and understand that there was a feasible solution to fix it.  As confusing as this process was in the beginning, when we were finished I saw how much information we had and understood how to apply the information in a manner that would appeal to our reader and also persuade them with our primary research and how to back that data up with secondary sources.

 

Meetings were another interesting aspect about the process.  It was a very organic process as people naturally assumed roles based on their strengths and how certain individuals took the reins and helped bring together the rest of the team toward our goals.  I personally felt as a big team leader and was able to help others in our group raise their own expectations or on how to apply our writing concepts to their research and revision strategies.  Creating the primary research was fun for this project.  I knw exactly how I wanted to apply the information so developing the usability tests was easy, fun, and very affective for our credibility and persuasiveness.  Everyone in our group was very positive and I felt when one person was confused, another person knew what to explain to them so they were on track.  Much of the development of this project was walking blindly as we kept answering questions about research and following the steps of creating an effective report until at the end where all of sudden the plan was written and we saw the works compiled together.

 

The Report

Once the plan was set, we began dividing up work.  In some ways our team began to sort of unravel in ways as some members didnt contribute as much as they should.  This was partly my fault as I volunteered to do a lot of the work out of fear of quality issues or my own psyche wanting control over the project.  I learned that I need to be very direct and open about how I feel about the quality of the work being created, while applying the subtle rules of office politics.  Keeping team mates in the loop and on track with each weeks goals helped keep me focused and motivated for each part of the project.

 

As it came time to design the layout of the document and create a final look to the report, I had realized how much work had been done.  The entire time I felt behind and ...

 

Instruction Set

The instruction sets collaborative parts were in making and performing usability tests.  This was an informative process as we each saw our works actually being performed providing clear data to where our faults were.  The revisions of our work, based on this data, are what led me to create a very informative and fun piece of technical writing. 

 

Conclusion

When I originally registered for this class, I read the description of the course and was not looking forward to its application and process.  As the class began I started to realize the significance of technical writing, my previous experiences with it, and how effective technical writing is not only important to my future career and projects, but just how fun it is and its processes may be applied to everything I do.  This class was a welcomed one, as it taught me writing concepts that I have always used, but more in depth and apply a scientific process in writing a paper using them.  The one thing I really loved about this class was just how relevant it was to my life.  Usually a class is a test of how well you may recite information and then discard that information as you go on in life.  The awesome part of these projects was they all contributed to furthering my career and image to future employers or prospects.  We were always asked to work on real-life applications.  We were asked to think locally about projects we could really have an impact on for either our future employment or for the community we live in.  This was crucial for me to develop a true passion for technical writing.  I love learning when there is an actual application of what I learned to better myself or the community at large.  Part of the problems with reading and writing is its relevance to the students learning it.  They write a report about some historic figure or topic of argument they have no interest in helping them associate reading and writing with boring and impractical activities.

   

One thing I learned is how important audience and criteria are in every aspect of life.  We asses everything we do based on these two writing concepts.  In writing, these two concepts are enough to help you outline almost any document and each one affects the other.  You need to create criteria for your writing based on the audience you are writing for, but your audience acceptance of your work is based on your criteria (sentence sucks).  This class helped me see how fun this entire process can be and how effective it is when drafting, planning, and revising works.  

 

As much as usually do not like group work, based on previous experiences of students looking just to pass, I enjoyed this group writing assignment.  It's scope and difficulties made me rise to become a team leader and take charge of deadlines and team members to create an effective report.  Creating the results section was my favorite part as I feel I am good at taking data that passes our criteria and backing that data up with interesting facts from credible sources and making the document credible and persuasive.  I have developed a better understanding of what makes teams effective and enjoyable and how good it feels to hit new deadlines every week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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