LNGE40064 - Technical Writing for University
Term 1 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for LNGE40064 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

This unit introduces students to the writing skills they will need to succeed in university science and technology units. Students will develop skills in writing clearly and concisely, organising and presenting information in a logical way, and applying relevant conventions of style and grammar. Through intensive reading and writing, they will learn to critically analyse, paraphrase and summarise a range of scientific and technical texts. Students will consolidate their learning by researching and writing a report.

Details

Career Level Non-award
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 3A
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 1 - 2017
  • Distance

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Non-award unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 20%
2. Written Assessment 30%
3. Written Assessment 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
Need to provide further information on Assessment 3 requirements Unit evaluation responses Complement Assessment 3 description on Moodle with explanations and references to relevant textbook sections. Make the links to relevant assessment resources (e.g. grading sheet and samples) more visible on the Moodle assessment page; for example, by integrating them within the text describing the task.
Issues with the materials for the preparation of Assessment 2: Experimental Report Teaching team Revise the teaching materials used for the preparation of Assessment 2: Experimental Report. Include new experiments and experimental report samples. Develop resources that teach students how to interpret the information displayed in graphical form and how to write a summary of the main findings as data commentary.
Positive feedback on the variety of topics covered Unit evaluation responses Maintain currency of weekly discussion topics and develop further topic options for the final assessment: Recommendation Report. Increase authenticity and relevance of the Recommendation Report assessment by including an 'open' topic option that requires students to identify a current issue in their local area and recommend a solution based on research. The issues addressed would be relevant to the broad topics covered in the unit. This would in turn increase the relevance of the weekly discussion topics to the final report.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Write in clear, correct, concise English appropriate for audience and purpose
  2. Identify and apply style conventions for assignment writing in scientific and technical units
  3. Critically analyse a range of texts on scientific and technical topics
  4. Identify and summarise key ideas in a variety of scientific and technical texts
  5. Write a report using contemporary conventions of academic writing

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Written Assessment        
2 - Written Assessment  
3 - Written Assessment

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1. Self Management        
2. Communication
3. Information Literacy      
4. Information Technology Competence          
5. Problem Solving      
6. Critical Thinking    
7. Cross-Cultural Competence          
8. Ethical Practice        

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Written Assessment        
2 - Written Assessment          
3 - Written Assessment  

Prescribed Textbooks

LNGE40064 Technical Writing for University
Author/s: CQUniversity STEPS staff Year: 2017
Edition: 4th edn Publisher: CQUniversity
City: Rockhampton State: Qld
Country: Australia
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop
Note: All study material for this unit is freely available on Moodle in electronic form; however, purchase of hard copy study material is highly recommended. Hard copies can be purchased at minimal cost from the CQUniversity Bookshop, either online or at some of the CQUni campuses.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • Internet
  • CQUniversity Student Email
All submissions for this unit must use the Harvard (author-date) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorGabriela Toth (g.toth@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

MODULE 1: HEALTH

Chapter 1: You Are What You Eat

Discussion: The food revolution

What is 'technical writing'?

Written versus spoken communication

Parts of speech - Nouns and Verbs

Start preparing for Assessment 1: Instructions

Week 2 13-03-2017

Chapter 2: Brain Power

Discussion: Neuroscience

How to write clear instructions

Introduction to sentence types

Parts of speech - Adjectives and Adverbs

Writing and piloting your Instructions

Week 3 20-03-2017

Chapter 3: Alternative Healing

Discussion: Complementary alternative medicine

Streamlining your writing

Parallel structure

Easily confused words

Writing numbers

Integrating visuals, editing and proofreading

Assessment 1: Instructions Due Friday (24 Mar 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Week 4 27-03-2017

MODULE 2: TECHNOLOGY

Chapter 4: Motion Capture

Discussion: Motion capture

Experimental reports

The Scientific Method

Writing the Introduction

Formulating and testing a hypothesis

Integrating sources

Verb tenses in the Introduction

Brainstorming your experiment and writing the Introduction

Week 5 03-04-2017

Chapter 5: The Wonderful World of Graphene

Discussion: The next big thing

Conducting an experiment

Writing the Method and Results sections

Visual representation of data

Data commentary

Conducting your experiment

Vacation Week 10-04-2017
Week 6 17-04-2017

Chapter 6: Man in Machine

Discussion: Exo-suits

Writing the Discussion

Writing the Abstract

Cautious language

Punctuation

Completing your Experimental Report

Assessment 2: Experimental Report Due Friday (21 Apr 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Week 7 24-04-2017

MODULE 3: ENVIRONMENT

Chapter 7: Waste and Consumption

Discussion: The price of waste

Breaking down the assignment task

Brainstorming your response

Reading and note-making from sources

The SQ3R reading strategy

The NOTES TM method

Use of source texts: summarising, paraphrasing and quoting sources

Academic integrity

Reference lists

Reading and note-making for Assessment 3: Recommendation Report

Week 8 01-05-2017

Chapter 8: Energy

Discussion: Alternative energy sources

Structuring a report

Creating an outline

Searching for additional sources

Evaluating sources using the RAOC framework

Writing the Introduction

Writing an outline for your report

Week 9 08-05-2017

Chapter 9: The Web of Life

Discussion: Mankind's role in the ecosystem

Composing discussion paragraphs

Integrating evidence

Forming conclusions and recommendations

Cohesion and coherence within your report

Writing your Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

Recommendation Report Outline (formative non-graded assessment).

Due Friday (12 May 17) 11:45 PM AEST

Week 10 15-05-2017

MODULE 4: ENGINEERING

Chapter 10: Gadgets and Gizmos

Discussion: Grown-up toys

Writing the Executive Summary

Cohesion, progression and logical order

Using linking words purposefully

Completing your draft

Week 11 22-05-2017

Chapter 11: Buildings and Bridges

Discussion: Engineering feats

Writing a letter of transmittal

Peer-reviewing with constructive feedback

Week 12 29-05-2017

Chapter 12: Get a Move On

Discussion: Stellar transport

Formatting and polishing

Reflecting on your writing and learning

Making the final touches on your Recommendation Report

Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017
Assessment 3: Recommendation Report Due Monday (05 Jun 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Exam Week 12-06-2017

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment 1: Instructions
Task Description

Introduction

Instructions are a common part of technical writing. Students and employees follow instructions to complete tasks, supervisors write instructions and procedures for other staff to follow, and customers read instructions to learn how to use products.

Task

Your task is to write a set of instructions (600 words) for a specific task that involves several steps to complete. You should choose a task that is very familiar to you, is low risk, has an appropriate level of difficulty (i.e. not too easy, but not too hard for someone who is unfamiliar with the task to perform), and is able to be completed in approximately 10 minutes using readily available materials. You should avoid choosing a task that already has instructions, such as a recipe. You must take and use your own photographs and/or create your own illustrations as figures for your steps.

Suggestions include (but are not limited to):

  • how to wash the dishes
  • how to do a karate kick
  • how to do a necktie knot
  • how to cast a bait net
  • how to iron a shirt
  • how to raise seedlings.

Note: You are required to seek approval from your lecturer for your task by the end of Week 2 by submitting an outline of the task to the Assessment 1: Instruction Approval forum on Moodle. This is to ensure that your task is safe and appropriate in size and scope.

Purpose

The purpose of this task is to:

  • draw your attention to the importance of considering audience and purpose when writing technical texts
  • develop your ability to write concisely and consistently using a formal and objective tone
  • develop your ability to incorporate figures (diagrams, flow charts, photographs, etc.) into a document according to conventions required by CQUniversity.

Format

Your instructions must contain the following sections:

  1. Title
  2. Introduction (including a description of the task and why people do it, how long it takes, where it should be performed and any precautions or warnings - approx. 150 words)
  3. Materials
  4. Method (a list of the steps required to complete the task in chronological order)
  5. Hints, tips or troubleshooting advice, if applicable.

The instructions must also contain at least one figure, although more than one will be required in many cases to make the instructions clear. You must use your own photos or illustrations.

Full details of the requirements and grading criteria can be found in the Assessment block on Moodle.

Assessment Due Date Week 3 Friday (24-Mar-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 5 Friday (07-Apr-2017)
Assessments submitted on time will be graded and uploaded back to Moodle within two weeks of the due date for the assessment.
Weighting 20%
Assessment Criteria

This assessment will be graded on the following criteria:

1. Content

  • Are the instructions complete?
  • Is there sufficient supporting information (background, figures, warnings, etc.)?

2. Style

  • Is the language appropriate for the audience, consistent and correct?
  • Are the instructions clear and concise without being too simple or too complex?

3. Organisation

  • Is the information sequenced in a logical order?
  • Is the document formatted appropriately?
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

This assessment must be uploaded to Moodle as a single Word document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Write in clear, correct, concise English appropriate for audience and purpose

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Self Management

2. Communication

4. Information Technology Competence

6. Critical Thinking



2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment 2: Experimental Report
Task Description

Introduction

In scientific and technical fields, experimental reports (also known as laboratory or 'lab' reports) are a common way of describing an experiment you have conducted and discussing the results. They tend to follow a prescribed format and answer the following questions:

  1. What did you do and why?
  2. How did you do it?
  3. What did you find out?
  4. What do the findings mean?

Task

Your task is to choose one of the experiments from the two options in the Assessment block on Moodle, conduct the experiment, and then write an 800-word experimental report describing the experiment and discussing the results.

Purpose

The purpose of this task is to strengthen your ability to write a technical document that is clear, concise, correct and appropriate for the audience and purpose. This includes writing objectively using grammatically correct technical language, using figures and/or tables to support your text, and following a prescribed format for presenting scientific research.

Format

Your Experimental Report must contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction (approx. 150 words)
  2. Methods
  3. Results
  4. Discussion
  5. Reference List (this is not included in the word count).

The report must contain at least one table or figure, although at least one of each is likely to be required to make the report clear.

Optional: you may also include a title page, abstract and appendices (none of these will be included in the word count).

Full details of the experiment options, requirements and grading criteria can be found in the Assessment block on Moodle.

Assessment Due Date Week 6 Friday (21-Apr-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 8 Friday (05-May-2017)
Assessments submitted on time will be graded and uploaded back to Moodle within two weeks of the due date for the assessment.
Weighting 30%
Assessment Criteria

This assessment will be graded on the following criteria:

1. Content

  • To what degree is the task completed?

2. Style

  • Is the writing clear, concise and grammatically correct?
  • Has appropriate academic and technical jargon been used?

3. Organisation

  • Is the organisation, cohesion between paragraphs and sentences, and presentation clear and suitable?
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

This assessment must be uploaded to Moodle as a single Word document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Write in clear, correct, concise English appropriate for audience and purpose

2. Identify and apply style conventions for assignment writing in scientific and technical units

3. Critically analyse a range of texts on scientific and technical topics

4. Identify and summarise key ideas in a variety of scientific and technical texts

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Self Management

2. Communication

4. Information Technology Competence



3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment 3: Recommendation Report
Task Description

Introduction

Recommendation reports are a common way of presenting information in scientific and technical fields both at university and in the workplace. They typically investigate a problem, present factual information about the problem and then make recommendations for decision-makers to solve the problem.

Task

Choose one of the three options provided in the Assessment block on Moodle and write a 1500-word (+/-10%) recommendation report.

Note on word count: The word count is taken from the first word of the Introduction to the last word in the Conclusion and Recommendations. The word count does NOT include the title page, Letter of Transmittal (optional), Executive Summary, Table of Contents, References or Appendices (optional).

Use a minimum of six sources, four of which must be academic. Use the sources provided on Moodle as a starting point for your research and refer to at least two of them in your report*. All referencing must be in CQU Harvard style.

*Note that Option 3 is an open topic and that no sources are provided on Moodle. If you choose Option 3, all the sources used will need to be sourced by yourself.

Purpose

The purpose of this task is to consolidate your information literacy and analytical and technical writing skills by getting you to apply all of the aspects of technical writing covered in this unit, i.e. clear, concise, correct, consistent and collegial writing that is appropriate for the audience and purpose.

Format

Your Recommendation Report must contain the following sections:

  1. Title page
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Discussion (with appropriate headings and subheadings)
  6. Conclusions and Recommendations
  7. References

Optional: you may also include a Letter of Transmittal and appendices.

Full details of the requirements and grading criteria can be found in the Assessment block on Moodle.

Assessment Due Date Review/Exam Week Monday (05-Jun-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Results will be available prior to the certification of grades.
Weighting 50%
Assessment Criteria

This assessment will be graded on the following criteria:

1. Content

  • To what degree does the report address the task?
  • Does the content focus on the most significant issues?
  • Is the content supported by authoritative, current, relevant and reliable sources?

2. Structure

  • Is the report appropriately structured according to the conventions covered in this unit?

3. Language

  • Is the language clear, concise and correct?
  • Is the style and vocabulary appropriate for the audience and purpose?
  • Are technical terms used consistently and explained appropriately where necessary?

4. In-text referencing

  • Do the in-text citations support the ideas presented, and are they skillfully and accurately integrated into the writing?

3. Referencing list

  • Is the reference list complete and accurate, and does it include an appropriate number and type of sources?

For a full description of the grading criteria, please refer to the information in the Assessment block on Moodle.

Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 23/50
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

This assessment must be submitted to Moodle as a single Word document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Write in clear, correct, concise English appropriate for audience and purpose

2. Identify and apply style conventions for assignment writing in scientific and technical units

3. Critically analyse a range of texts on scientific and technical topics

4. Identify and summarise key ideas in a variety of scientific and technical texts

5. Write a report using contemporary conventions of academic writing

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Self Management

2. Communication

3. Information Literacy

4. Information Technology Competence

5. Problem Solving

6. Critical Thinking

8. Ethical Practice




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