Course Goals | Required Texts and Technologies | Projects | How to succeed | Grading Policy | Attendance | Dropping the Course | Due Dates and Submissions | Technology Requirements | Plagiarism | ADA and Religious Holiday Statement | Back to Index

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Schedule for ENGL 2010

T/R 11:00 - 12:15, HC 3332

Schedule and readings subject to change

Class Week/Date

Topic/ Readings

Class Plan

Assignment Due/ Homework

Aug. 16

Introduction to technical and professional writing

Course introduction and policies



Lockhead Martin


Ikea: Besta

CDC: Zika 




Aug. 18

Chapter 1: Plain Language

Presentation: Monkeywrenching Plain Language

Also discuss: Willerton, R. (2013). Plain language as an ethical tool: Reconsidering ethics and audiences. Intercom, June: 29 - 30. (Handed out in class on day 1) 

Center for Plain Language 

Write Mark

If time, start PLain Language in-class excercises (2, 3, & 4)


Aug. 23

Chapter 2: Good Professional Communication

Continue Plain Language discussion and excercises

Tufte on Powerpoints involved in the Columbia disaster 

Plain Langauge Excercises

Excercises from Book 


Aug. 25

Chapter 3: Grammar

A brief aside: Jobs in Technical and Professional Communication 

Parts of speech, sentences

Stephen Pinker on language, and what varying linguistic structures enable

Plain language/ 7 C's worksheet due (4)

Aug. 30

Chapter 3: Grammar

Conjunctions, Clauses, Punctuation, subject-verb agreement


Subject/Verb discussion



Sep. 1

Chapter 3: Grammar

Guest speakers on style, usage, race, gender, and how all of this plays into writing in a variety of forms:

Dr. Julia Charles

Julia Thompson

Parts of Speech/ Punctuation worksheet due (4)

Sep. 6

Chapter 4: Copy-Editing



Editing practice 


Sep. 8

Chapter 4: Copy-Editing

Review page 100 in MacRae before class.

In-class editing worksheet


Clarity/editing worksheet due

Sep. 13

Issue 1: Why Rhetoric?

Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and Kairos


For Analysis (along with handout):

Hillary Clinton: "Role Models"

Donald Trump: "Deplorables"


Rhetoric and Public Writing: the Crunk Feminist Collective

Guest Speaker: Dr. Susana Morris


Sep. 15

Audience Analysis I: Formal Audience Analysis



General Audience Analysis worksheet (designed for job search, but useful in other contexts)

Editing assignment due

Sep. 20

Issue 2: Strategic Reading

Picturing audiences


Sep. 22

No Class

No Class--States of the Book Conference


Sep. 27

Audience Analysis II: Online Tools

Meet in 3116. Workshop Audience Analysis assignment.

Memo Conventions 





Spy Dialer

Sep. 29

Issue 3: Rethinking Revision

Peer-review editing workshop: Bring a draft of your audience analysis to class for editing.

Audience analysis assignment due by Friday at midnight via Canvas

Oct. 4


Midterm Review

Oct. 6


Midterm Exam


Oct. 11

Chapter 5: Basic Document Design

Design Principles


Oct. 13

Chapter 5: Basic Document Design

Design Theories

Guest: Dr. Aaron Alford, Managing Editor, Southern Humanities Review


Oct. 18


Design Workshop/Continue discussion of theory


Oct. 20

Design Workshop


Oct. 25



Poster Session I: You may print your poster for free at the MDRL.


Oct. 27


Poster Session II: You may print your poster for free at the MDRL.

PDF of poster due in Canvas

Nov. 1

Introduction to Usability Testing: Usability Overview


Discuss project, overview usability testing, form groups.


Nov. 3

Introduction to Usability Testing: MORAE Workshop



Introduction to Morae, begin developing test questions.


Nov. 8

Election Day

Chapter 17 & 18: Informal and Formal Reports

Regular classroom

Bring in any election materials you may have picked up for discussion. Bring in an "I VOTED" sticker for 1 point extra credit, or provide to me, via email, an image of you proudly wearing an "I VOTED" sticker by close-of-polls, or proof of absentee voting. I do care whom you vote for, but I more care that you vote. 


Nov. 10

Chapter 17 &18: Informal and Formal Reports Continued

MEET IN LUCIA LAB, HC 1202. Continue discussion of reports as needed, then workshop Morae questions. You MAY NOT schedule testing during this session.


Nov. 15


Usability workshop: Meet in LUCIA. You MAY schedule usability testing during this time.


Nov. 17

Usability workshop: Meet in LUCIA. You MAY schedule usability testing during this time.

Progress report due via Canvas by midnight

Nov. 22

Thanksgiving Break



Nov. 24

Thanksgiving Break


Nov. 29

Peer-review editing workshop: Bring a draft of your usability report to class for editing.


Dec. 1

Final exam review

Usability report due via Canvas by midnight

Friday, December 9

12:00 - 2:30

Final Exam




Course Goals

ENGL 2010 serves as the gateway course for the professional and public writing track in Auburn University’s Department of English. The track seeks to provide students with key skills for writing in various fields that place a high priority on skilled communication, whether in business or in the non-profit sector, including editing and design, education, and the law. In this course we will consider what constitutes professional and public writing, and practice various types of audience-centered communication. You will gain practice in research, editing, design, and writing for a variety of different rhetoric situations.

After completing this course successfully, you should be able to:

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Required Texts and Technologies

Losh, E., Alexander, J., Cannon, K., & Cannon, Z. (2014). Understanding rhetoric. A graphic guide to writing. New York, NY: Bedford / St. Martin's.

Macrae, P. (2016). Business and professional writing: A basic guide for Americans. Canada: Broadview Press.

Access to a computer

MS Office Suite or Open Office

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Grammar, Usage, and Style Assignments (10)

This first set of assignments will consist of a series of both in-class and out-of-class assignments designed to familiarize you with plain language concepts, professional communication in general, grammar, and basic editing.


Editing Assignment (10)

You will be provided with a short article in need of copy-editing. You will use appropriate physical markup to edit the document.


Audience Analysis Assignment (15)

For this assignment, you will choose an online artifact (a web page, a political blog, etc.). In an 1000 - 2000 word memo, you will explain the likely target audience for your chosen artifact, including such elements as:

Midterm (10)

Our in-class midterm will test you on course concepts covered to-date.

Poster (15) and Presentation (5)

Using the principles and concepts of design covered in class, create a 30" x 40" poster to present a visual analysis of some artifact related to your chosen field of study. Your poster should, of course include relevant images, as well as informative call-outs establishing rhetorical appeals to logic (logos), credibility (ethos), emotion (pathos), and timeliness (kairos).

You will present your poster in class in one of two class-long poster sessions.


The physical deliverable for this project will be the poster itself. Your presentation of the poster, however, will be graded based on your ability to articulate your design choices to me during the poster session.

Group Usability Project (25)

Working as a group, conduct a usability test of a website of your group's choice in the LUCIA lab. you will use Morae software to conduct the test, as well as TAP (Think Aloud Protocol). Your group will then submit a single usability report to me. This project has many different components, so time-management will be critical. Please note important deadlines on schedule.

For your research:

1. Form a group of 4.

2. Choose a website to test.

3. Conduct a basic audience analysis of that website in order to determine who is likely to use the site and why, and what their general needs with regard to the site will be.

4. Develop a series of 5 questions/prompts to program in to Morae in order to test the usability of the site.

5. Conduct a basic usability test of the site with three participants (we would generally use more, but, for this assignment, three will do). MAKE SURE that you have built in the automated System Usability Scale (SUS) questionaire.

6. Provide to me your three data files for your test. I will then export a basic report in Morae Manager for you, along with the three videos you recorded.

7. Write your report based on the research you have done on the site, your own experiences with the site, your audience analysis, the videos you recorded, the basic Morae report, SUS results, and your own documented observations noted during testing.

Deliverable I (5) 

Progress report. This report will include the following:

Deliverable II (20)

A formal usability report including the following sections:

Final Exam (10)

Your final in this class will be an in-class test which will draw from all of the material we have covered this semester.



You will fail the class if you do not attempt and submit ALL major assignments. Late assignments will receive a grade of zero (0).

Grades on assignments will be determined according to the following criteria:

Projects submitted more than 7 days after the due date will not be accepted for a grade (they will receive a zero), though I will be happy to look over the project and offer constructive commentary.

Team Assignments

Team assignments receive grades based on group and individual work. It is possible that unsatisfactory participation in team assignments will result in a lower participation grade or a lower grade on the team assignment itself. You may be called upon to evaluate your own or your team members' performance on group assignments.

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The following policies intend to help you develop and display professional work habits, both in individual and team work. These habits include meeting deadlines, doing required work, and regular attendance. Please read these policies carefully.

How to Succeed in this Course

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Attendance and Tardiness Policy

*While all students should plan to attend every class, graduate students, in particular, should not miss class. Ever.

You are allowed 2 unexcused absences in this class. All unexcused absences beyond 2 will result in a loss of 1 point from your final semester's point total for each absence.

The 2 absences that do not deduct points from your grade are not considered "allowed," "free," or "permitted"-- they only result in no points being deducted from your grade. Any quizzes or participation grades given on a day when you are absent without documentation will result in a grade of zero (0) for that quiz/participation assignment and may not be made up.

Do not show up late to class. If a participation grade or quiz is given during the first 15 minutes and a student arrives late, a grade of zero (0) will be received for that assignment.

A student will be excused from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for documented University-approved functions (such as competing in an athletic event), or the observance of a religious holy day and the time necessary to travel for this observance. The student will not be penalized for the absence and will be permitted to take an exam or complete an assignment missed during the excused absence. The policy applies only to the documented University-approved events and official holy days of tax-exempt religious institutions. No prior notification of the instructor is required, though is requested.

Other than exceptions related to university-related events and religious circumstances, only a note from a doctor or death notice for an immediate family member will result in an absence being excused. Personal circumstances are not considered acceptable for excusing an absence.

Please see Auburn University's policies for additional materials relating to what constitutes an "excused" absence.

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Dropping the Course

If you drop the course, you must do so in person at the Office of the Registrar. I cannot drop you from the course. It is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the drop dates.

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Due Dates and Submission Technology

You will fail the class if you do not attempt and submit ALL major assignments. Late assignments will receive a grade of zero (0). It is your responsibility to turn in your work on time. Computer-related excuses will not be accepted. In the event of difficulties with our course management system (i.e., Canvas), you may email me your work to get it in on time, though you will still be responsible for submitting it through the appropriate channels when the difficulties are resolved. If you believe you have a legitimate excuse for submitting late work you may submit to me a formal appeal. I reserve the right to reject your appeal.

If you are absent the day a physical assignment is due, I will not accept the work via email. You must make arrangements with me to submit work before the deadline or put your work in my department mailbox. If extenuating circumstances apply (see below), your work will be due the day after your return from your athletic event or the day after you attend the emergency appointment or funeral.

Electronic documents must be saved in the following format: lastname_firstinitial_assignmentname.

Documents saved in the .docx format are generally compatible across systems. However, formatting is a major aspect of this class. To that end, you may wish to save your file as a .pdf to insure that all formatting appears to me exactly as you intended. There are several free options available to you, beyond those offered by most office software suites, including bullzip,pdfill, and cutepdf, among others. The excuse "it didn't look like that on my computer" will not be accepted.

I may give quizzes at any time during the class. These quizzes cover the specified readings, but they may also cover material introduced in previous classes/chapters. I do not offer make-up quizzes for any reason other than absences for university business (and only with proper university documentation), documented illness (a clinic must document the episode of illness if you have a chronic illness), or the death of an immediate family member. Additionally, late homework exercises will not be accepted under any circumstances.

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Basic Technology Requirements


You are expected to be familiar with the day-to-day operation of computers including email (and sending attachments) and standard software. If you are not familiar with basic computing skills, speak to me as soon as possible, so that we can familiarize you with basic procedures.

You are also expected to have regular access to computing technology whether it be your computer at home or the computers provided by the university. The statement, "I don't have access to a computer" is not acceptable.

Hardware and Disk Media Requirements

It is your responsibility to ensure that the computer(s) and disk(s) you use are functional and that you have, in the case of technological failure, backed up your data. Bring a USB drive to class, keep your work on it, and keep your work updated.

Email Requirement

You are required to have a viable email account.

When sending email to me, your instructor, or to your classmates, please ensure the subject line is formatted as:

RE: ENGL 7030- [Your Last Name]

Identifying emails from students is difficult, especially when sent from accounts outside of the university. If you do not include a valid subject line it may go straight to junk mail, or I may delete your email myself.

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Plagiarism includes any use of words or ideas of another writer that would allow readers unfamiliar with the source to assume that the words or ideas originated with you. THIS INCLUDES USE OF IMAGES. Policy does not allow me to judge whether an instance of plagiarism is accidental or deliberate. If I find in your work 1) another writer's work inserted without quotation marks or acknowledgment, 2) a close, unacknowledged paraphrase of someone else's writing, or 3) another writer's research or analysis presented without acknowledgment, then I will treat it like a plagiarized assignment and deal with it appropriately. Sanctions range from failing the assignment to expulsion from the university. I take the issue of plagiarism very seriously, and will enforce the university's plagiarism policies to their full extent.

Please see Auburn University's policies relating to plagiarism and penalties.

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Special Needs

Auburn University makes reasonable accommodations for people with documented disabilities. I will adapt methods, materials, or testing for equitable participation. During the first week of class, set up a meeting with me. Bring the Accommodation Memo and Instructor Verification Form to the meeting and discuss what you need for equitable participation in this class. If you do not have an Accommodation Memo but need special accommodations, make an appointment with the Program for Students with Disabilities (Haley Center 1244; 334-844-2096; or All communication between a student, the Program for Students with Disabilities, and his or her professor is confidential.

Religious Holidays

Students requiring to miss class due to the observance of an officially recognized religious holy day are asked to consult with me in advance so we can schedule missed work accordingly.