Although we aren’t having face-to-face meetings or synchronous meetings, I’ve structured this class to follow the original Tuesday night meetings, so please do the following things before 11:00 pm tonight:
- Syllabus and course requirements
- Do the Canvas Introduction
- Fabulous First-Day-of-Class Exam!–on Canvas
- This closes at 11:00 pm, so you ought to get to it and return to the rest of this page afterwards if it’s close to 11:00 pm on Tuesday, 9/8.
“Technical Writing” vs “Technical Communication”
Before we get too far into the specific reading, let’s consider the difference between “technical writing” and “technical communication.” Is there really a difference? Let’s focus on “writing” and “communication.”
This course is not necessarily an introduction to document design because, presumably, you’ve already had that in English 2116 and other Technical Communication courses/situations, or you’re a quick learner. Instead, this course is an intermediate (or advanced) step in your becoming effective technical communicators. Whether or not you actually become an employee with the title “Technical Writer,” is irrelevant: ALL OF YOU WILL HAVE TO COMMUNICATE TECHNICAL INFORMATION TO AUDIENCES.
Make sure you’re reading the assigned material. Your Midterm and Final (which is slightly cumulative) will be based nearly entirely on the reading. I’m going to try my best to make sure we use the vocabulary from the book because I think the concepts are very useful. In different contexts the terms might have different meanings, but the ideas and strategies the terms describe are practically universal.
Ethos, Pathos, Logos
Although this isn’t a rhetorical theory class, we will need to understand rhetoric to help guide our writing and editing choices. Below is a quick overview of ethos, pathos, and logos.
- Ethos: appeal or presentation of one’s character or credibility.
- Pathos: appeal to emotions; evoking emotional responses.
- appeal to fear
- appeal to patriotism
- appeal to desires
- Logos: appeals to logic or facts in a message.
- Deductive arguments
- Implicit or explicit message that “if you’re smart, successful, important, etc., you wil do something” (i.e., quit paying more for…)
- Graphs, statistics, legal codes
Please consider the above elements when doing your assignments. Also, consider how you can craft your prose (or edit the prose of others) for a rhetorical effect. What can we say about the following advertisement?
I don’t mind living with “addition,” but I certainly don’t want to live with “multiplying”! What might the above ad do to the ethos of Palm Partners?
David Frike’s “The E Street Band Keep Rolling in ’09”
At some point, I decided that this class needed a writing reviews component. Even though this is a “technical writing” class, I’m trying to provide assignments that might broaden your professional writing profile. Basically, if you can focus on how your prose communicates, you’ll be better able to adapt to a variety of communication settings.
The article I wanted you to read for this week is supposed to demonstrate an intangible in writing. Of course, this isn’t a class on music history, so I’m not asking you to read this for information. Instead, consider how the author describes the album Working on a Dream. By the way, what’s going on with subject verb agreement in “The E Street Band Keep…”?
Fricke’s article is a series of prepackaged ideas that carry his discussion of the Springsteen album. Phrases such as “pop stomps loaded with Beatlesque guitar jangle,” “1966-Beach Boys vocal harmonies,” and “pedal steel guitar a la Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline” (para. 3) are loaded with information–hypercompressed–and are references requiring readers to know them. Consider audience, purpose, and situation (context).
This article was originally in print, but it has since gone online. What are some differences you notice between the print (PDF) and online versions. The print version is on Canvas, so check that out if you haven’t already.
The books have been listed on the bookstore’s website since March, so you should have them by today, but I hope you have them by next week. Review the syllabus to keep up with the reading. Here’s what you should have read before next Tuesday:
- Rhetorical Grammar “Introduction” (pp. 1-3) and Ch. 1 (pp. 5-16)
- Perfect English Grammar “Introduction” (pp. 11-15) and Ch. 1, 2, & 3 (pp. 16-38)
In two weeks, you’ll have homework based on the exercises in Kolln & Gray, so get these books soon if you haven’t already.