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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 18-Apr-24

Summer 2024 | ENG-2135-VO01 - Technical Writing & Research

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 05-21-2024 to 08-12-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 06-10-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-08-2024 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Penny Nolte
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Cindy Swanson

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
CCV Writing and Research
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course examines the principles and methods of technical writing. Students explore a variety of methods and approaches for creating technical texts, including documents that demonstrate proficiency in the writing of reports, correspondence, manuals, proposals, articles, and specifications. Students must complete a final research paper achieving a grade of C- or better in order to pass this course. This course fulfills the research and writing intensive requirement. Prerequisite: English Composition.

Essential Objectives

1. Explore a broad range of texts and published articles from a variety of sources modeling technical writing through reading, writing, and critical discussion.
2. Generate, draft, and revise a variety of technical reports, proposals, graphic aids, manuals, and correspondence, including memos, emails, resumes, and manuals.
3. Critically examine, analyze, and evaluate underlying strategies related to technical writing and communication across different professions and applications, such as instruction and manual writing in manufacturing, or procedural documentation in nursing.
4. Develop strategies and implement skills for addressing the needs of both specific and multiple audiences across different technical rhetorical situations.
5. Apply the principles of technical writing to the student’s chosen field of study, including preparations for workplace interviews, presentations, and reports.
6. Incorporate layout integration and document design into technical documents, including page-design elements suitable for both electronic and print materials.
7. Work collaboratively to produce a group conceived, drafted, and edited technical document.
8. Evaluate completed documents in real-world settings and reflect on their practical application.
9. Demonstrate information literacy skills: distinguish between and utilize both primary and secondary sources; perform library and web-based literature searches; and evaluate data and resources for credibility, reliability, and validity.
10. Demonstrate the ability to apply either APA or MLA citation styles in academic writing by parenthetically citing sources in the text and correctly compiling them in the relevant end sources page.
11. Design, create, and revise a final technical document project, such as—but not limited to—a technical manual, report, or analysis that integrates five or more scholarly and professional sources, including primary and secondary evidence as needed, to address an academic research question or professional issue and demonstrate writing proficiency by achieving a grade of C- or better.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations.

Summer 2024 textbook details will be available on 2023-11-06. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

ENG-2135-VO01 Link to Textbooks for this course in eCampus.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Classes are held for 12 weeks, Tuesday - Monday in Canvas, online. Discussion forums are where we engage in group work by reviewing class readings & exercises. Students share your own work and also provide feedback (peer review) for classmates. While student journals are reviewed only with the teacher.

The "Questions about Homework" forum is also held every week and questions about the course in general or a specific assignment are always welcome. Others may be wondering about the same thing and will see responses to your question so everybody learns.

Students will draft & complete 5 technical documents throughout the semester. Due dates for drafts are found in the class modules. All finished documents are due during the last week of the semester:

1. Memo & Proposal for the research paper

2. Resume

3. Cover Letter

4. A document of your choice (.PPT, Infographic, etc.) that can be related to the research paper topic, or a professional concern.

5. An original*, approximately 10-page, research paper (see the essential objectives). This document must successfully earn a C- or better to pass the class.

*An original paper is researched and written for this class during this semester.

Office Hours (optional):

While zoom meetings are not required for this class, I am available to meet with you by appointment throughout the semester.

  • Office Hours take place online over Zoom
  • Students who wish to schedule an Office Hour meeting would first email me their availability and we will decide on a day & time: penelope.nolte@ccv.edu

Evaluation Criteria

As you probably already know, an instructor does not 'give' you a grade; you 'earn' your grade. Keep track of how you are doing throughout the semester by viewing the grade book frequently and asking questions whenever something is puzzling you.

  • Readings -- required and ungraded
  • Discussion forum posts & Journals: 25%
  • Participation and Engagement: 15%
  • Technical documents: 25%
  • Final Research Project (see Essential Objective #11, above): 35%

*It is recommended to order the textbooks for receipt before the semester starts. If you are not comfortable with online textbooks choosing a physical book is encouraged.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments




Readings: Chapter 1, pages 0-16, and Selected Bibliography & References, pages 710-717 of our textbook. Also please skim the Index & Selected Features, pages 718-back cover.

Please also read the instructions aboutwhat anelevator pitchis, andideas fordeveloping your own.

Exploration: Canvas course resources (top of Modules page), the VSCS Library resources, Tutor.com's online tutoring link in the left hand column.

This semester each student will design and complete 5 distinct documents:

*memo & research proposal

*cover letter


*student choice document (This could be a PowerPoint or other design, and possibly related to the written research project.)

*7-10 page research paper written in MLA or APA format (Essential Objectives require a grade of C- or better be earned on this research paper in order to pass the class)


Discussion: Every week, there will be a prompt for you to respond to related to the readings. Additional important information about class discussions can be found in Canvas.

Journal: The journal is a graded activity that occurs every 2nd or 3rd week the rest of the semester. It is a space for you to write about, track progress in, and reflect on your learning.



Ethical & Legal Considerations


Reading: Chapters 2 & 3, pages 17-61 of our textbook

Exploration: Understanding Plagiarism, including self-plagiarism





Writing Collaboratively; Analyzing Your Audience and Purpose; Researching Your Subject


Reading: Chapters 4, 5, & 6, pages 62-149 of our textbook

Exploration: VT Department of Labor's Business Finder





Organizing Your Information; Communicating Persuasively


Reading: Chapters 7, 8, & 15. Found on pages 150-196 and 399-435 of our textbook

Exploration: CCV Career Services Resume & Cover Letter Resources

and please log in to VSCS Library, then search for Resumes and Cover Letters






Developing and Testing Verbal & Visual Information


Reading: Chapters 9 & 10 on pages 197-252 and Chapter 16, pages 436-461, of our textbook

Exploration: Prompts, Thesis Statements, and Topic Sentences

and Research Basics



Research Proposal: 1st Draft



Developing and Testing Verbal & Visual Information, continued


Readings: Chapters 11, 12, & 13, pages 253-369, and Editing & Proofreading pages 676-709

Explorations: Keywords and Search Strategies


Discussion: Student Choice Document 1st draft

Journal: Mid-semester reflection



Mid-semester Review


Reading: Chapter 14, pages 372-398 and review Chapter 15 pages 399-435

Explorations: CCV Career Choice Resources


Discussion: Resume 1st draft



Learning important applications


Reading: Chapter 17, pages 462-483

Exploration: Documenting your sources, pages 632-633

Skim the APA Reference Handbook, found in the back of our textbook pages 634-650

Also, skim the MLA Reference Handbook, found on pages 659-675

Research Writing -- Quick Study Guide flyer


Discussion +

Memo: 1st draft

& Research Proposal: 2nd draft



Learning Important Applications, continued


Reading: Chapter 18, pages 484-530

Exploration: Networking video


Please review and reflect on past feedback for your documents-in-progress:

*memo & research proposal

*cover letter


*student choice document (ppt or other design, and possibly related to the written research project.)

*7-10 pageresearch paper written in MLA or APA format (Essential Objectives require a grade of C- or better be earned on this research paper in order to pass the class)


Discussion +

Cover Letter: 1st Draft

& Resume: 2nd draft



Learning Important Applications, continued


Reading: Chapters 19, pages 532-548. Also please skim chapters 20 & 21, pages 549-623

Exploration: Skim our Textbook's Appendix: Reference Handbook, beginning on page 624, parts A, B (APA & MLA Style), C, & D

Please note: Depending on your previous education and work experiences, some of this reading material may be very familiar to you. If so, remember to skim headings for new content to best focus your reading time.



Research Paper: outline/1st draft due




Developing an original document


Reading: Review the "Research Paper Resources," above our weekly modules listed in Canvas

Read Editing & Proofreading your documents, pages 676-709

Review of APA Reference Handbook, pages 624-650, and MLA Reference Handbook, pages 659-675


Review the laminated Quick Study Academic Research Writing Guide

This material may be very familiar to you by now -- if so, remember to skim headings for new content most applicable to your own writing needs, thank you.


Discussion +

Research paper: 2nd draft of research paper is due



All finished documents are due during this week


Reading: revisit the elevator pitch from week one, and share ideas for further developing your own elevator pitch



All finished documents are due this week:

  • Memo & Research Paper Proposal -- Wed.
  • Student Choice Document -- Thurs.
  • 7-10 page Research Paper -- Fri.
  • Resume & Cover Letter -- Sat.

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Discussion Forums

Discussion forums are a place where the communication of the class takes place around the various elements concerning technical communication and writing. Participation in the forums is crucial for two reasons. First, it's how you are counted present for the class. You must post in at least one forum each week to be counted as present. Second, by sharing your thoughts about the subjects for discussion, and by reading and responding to your classmates' thoughts, you are creating a record of learning that can be consulted throughout the semester. Most of the real learning of the class occurs through your discussion of the readings and prompts with classmates, within the forums. It is important for you to participate fully, and respectfully, in all of our discussion forums. Three unexcused absences will mean an "F" for the course.

Participation & Engagement:

While sharing your original work is very important, it is also important to engage your classmates in ongoing relevant, helpful conversation and discussion of their own work each week. So read every assignment carefully and keep track of any deadlines they may contain.

Every week, grades and formative feedback about your overall participation, engagement with fellow students, and engagement with the course material, is shared with you in Canvas for the week before. It is my goal to respond to you within 48 hours of an assignment being due. However, if it feels like you cannot move forward in your work until you have received my feedback please do send an email to let me know: penelope.nolte@ccv.edu

Technical Documents & Writing Assignments

There are a variety of reading & writing assignments in this class, designed to give you exposure and practice with different genres of technical writing. These will include 1st-draft workshops where you will be peer-reviewing the assignment, followed by a final submission for a grade. There will also be exercises throughout to help you in the research process.

**Save all documents as a PDF before uploading them to avoid formatting issues.**

Weekly Check-in Journals

For this assignment, you are asked to keep a course journal in which you will record various ideas, observations, questions, and reflections that are related to your experiences in this course as you read your textbook assignments, view materials, and participate in the discussions in class. Each entry is only visible to the individual student, and to me -- your classmates will not be able to see them. Journals are collected several times during the semester and are due by the end of the assigned weeks.

Final Research Project

You will each be writing an original*, concise (7 to 10 page) technical report or research paper on a topic of great interest to you that includes a thesis statement, integrates relevant supporting material from five or more credible sources, and demonstrates writing proficiency by achieving a grade of C- or better. As a writing and research intensive course, you are required to complete the final paper with a grade of C- or better in order to pass this course.

*Original work means that it was researched and written for this class, this semester.

The following is important to know -- if you do well all semester but turn in a poorly written final project - you will not pass. Please take this paper assignment very seriously. We will be workshopping all semester using proven writing strategies, and my goal is for everyone to be comfortable writing their paper.

Remember, I am here to help in the "Questions about Homework" discussion forum, and offer Zoom office hours, too.

Late Work

Unless different due dates are set within an individual assignment, all written work is to be completed and turned in on Monday each week. Assignments turned in late (meaning that the work is not uploaded by Monday at midnight) are docked 15% of the grade per day, unless of course prior arrangements are made. Assignments handed in later than one week may not earn credit, but you will receive my feedback and your understanding of the course materials will still grow as a result of completing the work.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.