Syllabus for ENG-201



Technical Writing is a one-semester course specifically designed to recognize and address the relationship between effective communication and professional success. In particular, the course is designed to teach you how to communicate necessary information in clear and concise writing. As a result, it differs sharply from typical composition courses. Technical Writing focuses on the workplace and the needs of a professional, rather than on an academic setting and the needs of a student.


Technical Writing is designed to enable you to develop your communication skills through lessons that cover:

  1. Technical communications and audience.
  2. Communication and readers in the workplace.
  3. Strategies for writing clear English.
  4. Effective page layout and design.
  5. Visual aids to understanding.
  6. Communication technologies.
  7. Effective planning.
  8. Strategies for revision.
  9. Models for instruction, description, definition, and summary.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0321003522

ISBN-13: 978-0-312-67945-3


Technical Writing is a three-credit online course consisting of eleven (11) modules. Each module focuses on one or more specific topics relating to clear and concise communication. At the end of each module you will have a written activity that you must submit to your mentor. In addition, at the end of Module 11, you will submit your Final Assessment.

As you proceed through the course, you will move from general concepts and techniques to specific technical writing situations and activities. The first module addresses technical communication and the importance of a thorough knowledge of audience. Modules 2 through 4 explore the tools of today's technical writers: clear language, appropriate information design, relevant visuals to illustrate what is being discussed, and helpful technologies, particularly the computer. The fourth module also addresses the actual process of technical writing: planning, drafting, reviewing, and revising. Modules 5 through 11 address the specific technical writing strategies needed to successfully respond to seven specific situations requiring explanations, descriptions, definitions, summaries, reports, proposals, and correspondence.

Both ENC-101 and 102 (English Composition I and II), or their equivalents are prerequisites, so this course will not address grammar, rhetoric, research, or documentation styles such as MLA or APA. These topics are, however, covered in the Handbook of Technical Writing, and you are encouraged to make frequent use of the Handbook.

This course requires you to take a proctored midterm examination and complete and submit a final assessment.

Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities.  Module titles are listed below.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored online midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Technical Writing requires you to participate in online class discussions. In addition to an ungraded introduction forum in Week 1, you are required to participate in five graded online discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

For posting guidelines and help with discussion forums, please see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete eleven (11) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Each written assignment is designed to give you practical experience in specific areas of technical writing.

For grading standards for all written work submitted for this course, see the Course Documents area of the course Web site.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

For help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Midterm Examination

This course requires you to take a proctored online midterm examination.

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. You will not be allowed to have any material with you. It is two hours long and covers material in Modules 1-6. The examination typically consists of definitions, short essay questions, formal definitions, and an essay question. If you have concerns about the format and/or content of the examination, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

The Final Project requires you to write a report and a cover letter. Together they will reflect your understanding of much of the material presented in the course, including writing in clear language; using appropriate document design and page layout; creating visuals; understanding of the technical writing process; the ability to use the Internet to obtain appropriate data; clearly writing explanations, descriptions, and definitions; and use of appropriate correspondence. For details about this requirement, see the Final Project area of the course Web site.

For grading standards for all written work submitted for this course, including the final assessment, see the Course Documents area of the course Web site.

For help regarding preparing and submitting activities, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.


Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at




Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin


Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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