English | Advanced Technical Writing
W321 | 26276 | Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson

PREREQUISITE:  Completion of W231 or permission of instructor.

TOPIC:  “Professional Writing and Document Design”

How does the design of a document—the material and visual shaping of
text on a page—contribute to its effectiveness in achieving its
purposes?  Likewise, how do poor design choices prevent documents
from accomplishing their aims?  How are design elements such as page
layout, font, spacing, size, proximity, color, and contrast central
to our visual literacy—our ability to interpret, understand, and
make use of information based on how it is physically structured for
our reading?

These are the questions we’ll be exploring as we look at a range of
different documents, especially (but certainly not limiting
ourselves to) those that we would call “professional writing”—
reports, proposals, process and procedure descriptions, brochures,
announcements, online documents such as web pages, and the like.
In addition to essential concepts and theories of document design,
we will learn how design choices have very real, specific
consequences for how persuasive texts are in the purposes they seek
to accomplish.  This working knowledge of document design you’ll
develop is increasingly expected of people who write in their
various workplaces. To that end, your work will provide you with a
portfolio of various texts that you’ve created to help you
demonstrate your abilities as both a writer and a designer of
professional documents.

We’ll be completing various short writing and design assignments, as
well as a semester project, which will be the writing and design of
a longer document needed by one of our many community service

This course is designated as fulfilling credit toward the Public and
Professional Writing concentration within the English major and is
highly recommended for those pursuing this concentration.  (Please
note, however, that interested students from any major are welcome.)