Albert Einstein is suggested to have once said, or written, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
This saying could replace the name of this course.
In Technical Writing for Engineers, you will learn how to communicate technical content in a professional way. And professional technical communication is Clear, Concise, and Concrete.
Other Professionals in Technical Jobs
There are three goals for this course.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:
List the problems engineers have with technical writing.
Develop a comprehensive collection of the Parts of Speech that underpin English Grammar.
Demonstrate correct use of word choice to make meaning clear, as short as possible, and specific.
Apply principles to deliver sentences and paragraphs that are as simple as possible while maintaining flow.
Articulate commonly misunderstood approaches to appropriate writing style.
Analyze graphical communication methods critically so that media communicate through tables, graphs, and images.
|MODULE||WHAT YOU'LL LEARN|
|(A) What is Technical Writing?||Identify why the current state of technical writing is so poor.||Outline the origins of the problem of poor technical writing||Discriminate between the nature of the problems engineers routinely make|
|(B) Grammar 101||Classify the Parts of Speech||Review the key attributes of Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs||Review the key attributes of Adjectives, Adverbs, Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions|
|(C) Word Problems||Separate bad words (like "irregardless") from acceptable words||Modify text to reduce redundancy||Diagnose common errors in word selection and organization|
|(D) Sentences, Paragraphs, & Punctuation||Analyze sentences for simplicity||Characterise the essential qualities of coherent paragraphs||How to make sentences flow to become coherent paragraphs|
|(E) Style||Examine writing style choices||Critique bad style habits (excessive formality and officialeze)||Persuasive style to help you get what you want|
|(F) Graphics||Assess graphical communication principles for clear and concrete graphics||Organize graphics to communicate technical detail without ambiguity||Address presentation graphics|
Professional engineers and technicians must communicate, but they find getting their ideas across can sometimes be difficult. This video-based series establishes the fundamentals of effective technical and business communication and will show you how to present your ideas. This technical writing course will show you how to produce text quickly and error-free, and the text will be concise, clear, and concrete.
If you feel you will not be able to improve your technical writing ability after reviewing the course offerings, please contact us within 24 hours for a full refund. We’ll only ask for honest feedback.
As engineers, we are all trained in how to identify, analyze, and then fix problems. A bachelor's degree in engineering typically entails at least 1500 problems! So, we are problem-oriented.
This module looks at the state of technical writing, as a set of problems. It will show you how the entire course will work. We will address most of the writing problems common to engineers. Further, we'll look at the reason engineers struggle. We do this so that the rest of the course will have more meaning. If we better understand how and why we struggle, then we'll be receptive to ideas and methods to change. We'll be able to identify the problems, analyze the problems, and then how to fix the problems. So, this module effectively "sells" the course by laying down why engineers write poorly, and how we can fix these problems.
Some activities are available early which means you can (and should) go to them before we meet online for the first webinar. This module is about how to deliver professional technical communication that is Clear, Concise, and Concrete.
Words are a combination of letters. Here we’ll establish the fundamental rules for different types of words, known as “Parts of Speech”. When you have the rules for word types, you'll be better able to identify and fix errors, and our text will be clearer.
This module addresses words that are the elements of a text. We will identify problems associated with word choice. In this way, you'll be able to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases to make your communication concise. When you know about vague words and phrases, you can correct them to make your writing concrete.
Sentences are a combination of words. Paragraphs are a combination of sentences. The sentence is the largest independent unit. It’s a group of words that expresses a complete idea and has both a subject and a verb. Technical content is complex, so it should be written as simply as possible. And yet so many technical writers construct their sentences in ways that make them complicated! When we build sentences properly, we can make it easy to follow. So, we evaluate sentences for clarity and brevity). We’ll then look at how sentences should be combined to form paragraphs.
Style in technical communication should not be restricted to one type: formal. Informality has its place. Engineers love to write in an unnecessarily official way, which inhibits persuasion and adds clutter to text.
We examine graphical communication media critically so that you can build valuable images that communicate through tables, graphs, and diagrams.
Well of course, there are no "prereqs", but we do assume:
There are 6 modules. Each has mini-lectures (videos), short reading materials, and quizzes to test your learning. For more detail, see the Course Map.
It's up to you. The more you put in, the more you'll learn. There are 6 modules. You should go through the first two which are fundamental to the other 4 optional modules. If you wanted to go through the entire course taking evey quiz and completing each module, you'd have to put in about 6 hours per week for about 10 weeks.
Simply go to the first module What is Technical Writing? where you'll see how to start the course. You can watch videos, read about new ideas, and take quizzes.
Peter T. Martin, Ph.D. PE
Peter was born and educated in the UK. His BS degree is in Civil Engineering (University of Wales), MS in Transportation (University of Wales) and his Ph.D. is in Transportation Modeling (the University of Nottingham). He practiced as a Civil Engineer for a decade and moved into academia. He has taught and researched at Universities in Wales, England, California, Utah, and New Mexico. He's published more than 60 peer reviewed Journal Papers and many more in professional publications. He's a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Utah.
Although British by birth, Peter's approach to Technical Writing is both pragmatic and American: Technical Writing must be Clear, Concise, and Concrete. Creative writing is different!
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