Tag Archives: 3050 Project One

3050 Session Seven: Project One Wrap-up and Teamwork 9-18-14

On Tap Today:


Hey you! Yeah, you! The team member that got “yanked”! You may be interested in this…

Vader not impressed

As we discussed, every one of these submissions could be improved.  Wikipedia submission or citation issues, formatting (links, graphics), and content issues can all be fixed. So, for a chance to redeem yourselves in my eyes, and to score a few bonus points (enough to significantly alter your final grade on the project, and perhaps the class) perform some sort of correction by 11:59 pm Thursday, 9/25. If you suspect that you may be the team member that was “yanked” (lost a point due to the evaluations of your peers) you may want to seriously consider this offer.

Teamwork Talk

As you may have discovered, there are multiple ways of working well (or not) together.

Three primary models are:

  • The Round Table

https://stablerenglish.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/f6371-37109chb-37110chb-37111chb-38247-instl.jpgPros: Quick sharing of ideas among team members; Real time debate of pros and cons of project.

Cons: Difficult to schedule time to meet; Difficult to control input if there is only one keyboard operator; Can produce conflict that impedes production.

Most effective for brainstorming, task scheduling and progress reporting.

  • Divide-and-Conquer

https://i1.wp.com/www.hermanmiller.com/content/dam/hermanmiller/page_assets/why_digital/articles/modes_of_work/WHY_ModesOfWork_08.jpg

Pros: Assigned task can be completed in the least amount of time.

Cons: Minimal collaboration; Difficult to recover if a task is not completed by a team member; Inconsistencies in tone and style; Replications or gaps in final product

Most effective for small, specific tasks that are part of a larger project.

  • Layered Approach

https://i1.wp.com/www.policyexchange.org.uk/cache/com_zoo/images/competition%20meets%20collaboration%20static%20showcase_eb2a84690e40d7f80b7ee5b6a3c895f8.jpg

Pros: Each member has multiple opportunities to provide input, critique, and revise; More motivation due to ownership of the project; Similar to professional workplace collaboration

Cons: Different roles may create inequalities; Requires thoughtful and careful planning.

Most effective for drafting and revising tasks.

Team Charters:

Before work can truly begin on Project Two (and Six), even before you decide on a research problem, it would be helpful to know how your team will plan to work.  With your group mates, develop a team charter.  Address the following points:

  1. Overall, broad team goals for the project
  2. Measurable, specific team goals
  3. Personal goals
  4. Individual level of commitment to the project
  5. Other factors that might affect the project
  6. Statement of how the team will resolve impasses
  7. Statement of how the team will handle missed deadlines
  8. Statement of what constitutes unacceptable work and how the team will handle this
  9. Decision on “rank-and-yank” (will you only “rank”, only “yank”, or do both?)

Homework:

Read Handout on Team Writing

Project Two Page and Examples

Write: “Apply Your Expertise” #3 on p.  409 by tonight, 9/18 Write a memo (300 words) to your teammates in response to “Apply Your Expertise” #3.  Consider your execution of Project One and suggest three ways your team can improve productivity heading into Projects Two and Six.  Persuasively explain each suggestion.

Team Charter. Memo format from the team to me. Post it on a team blog page and email the link to me. Print and have all team members sign/initial a copy to be retained by me. by Tuesday 9/23

3050 Session Six: Starting Project Two 9/16/14

On Tap Today:

https://i0.wp.com/fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2013/325/e/c/death_stars_by_unusualsuspex-d6v3nga.jpg

REMINDERS:

Project One  is due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14:

Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.

Send me an email by 11:59 pm Thursday, 9/18/14

Every team member will be responsible for an email that includes the name of your team and a numbered ranking of your teammates. Numbers are based on the number of people in your team excluding yourself (you will not rank your own contributions). The highest number should be assigned to the person who you felt turned in the best performance while working on this project (e.g., if your team has five members, in this ranking the highest number will be four).

The teammate with the “highest” score will receive a bonus point. Likewise, the teammate with the lowest score will lose a point from their grade for this project.


Project Two and Project Six

Project Two: Audiences and Contexts

Choosing an Organization

Project Two requires you to devote a significant amount of time and work toward researching the processes of a particular organization. It also requires you to be in contact with the “decision-maker” for your particular objective (i.e., the individual or individuals who have the power to consider and/or implement the recommendation you will make in Project Six). As such, the organization you choose for the project should be one that you belong to or at least one with which you have some familiarity/contact. Likely candidates include:

  • An organization that you belong to (such as the one that employs you or the one that you volunteer for)
  • An organization containing one or more members that you have contacts with (such as a business run by a family member or that employs a family member) (e.g., the former student projects involving a cabinet-building company and a dental file manufacturer)
  • Some segment of the University, including student groups (e.g., the previous project on creating a wireless campus at Wayne State or refashioning student government at WSU)
 Choosing a Problem

https://i2.wp.com/www.bellajack.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Whats-the-problem-cube1.jpg

You may already be aware of a problem facing the organization you choose, or you may query a representative of the organization in regards to what problem they would like assistance with. In any case, the problem should be one that requires technical or professional communication as a tool of analysis or even possible solution (i.e., the problem you identify might be a breakdown in communication, but whatever the problem is, you will use technical and professional communication both to obtain information and present recommendations to your decision-maker).

Analyzing Problems

Types of Problems

The easiest problems to identify are the ones that are significantly hindering an organization or stopping it from achieving its goals. However, the problem you identify might be also be one revolving around possible opportunities or the need to decide on future actions. The following are the three primary problem categories that you might use to brainstorm:

  • Problems in functioning, wherein there is “conflict, discrepancy, or inconsistency between an actual or existing situation and the ideal situation” or goal.
  • A problem of “potential missed opportunity” in which an organization need to figure out how to maximize productivity. For instance, a “company doing well in its present operations may see the possibility for expansion.”
  • Similarly, an organization may simply be faced with a decision that that they are having difficulty making (for instance, which operating system the should choose when updating their IT); in this scenario, you might offer to do the research and evaluation needed to make this decision.
The Problems of Problems (Criteria and Research Methods)

Organizational problems that require decision-making reports are often social in nature and ill-defined – this is what makes them “worthy” of formal attention.

As such, there will likely be many possible solutions to the problem and you need to figure out how to evaluate multiple solutions using three types of criteria:

  • Technical criteria (those that relate to basic questions of feasiblity)
  • Managerial criteria (those that relate to the quotidian operations of the organization)
  • Social criteria (those that relate to values and the impact of possible solutions on stakeholders)

Below are examples of criteria used when considering remodeling a school library.

These criteria, as well as the general dimensions of the project you are taking up will drive your selection of research methods (e.g., as in the chart below reproduced from our reading):

As show above, criteria based on concerns over size, structure, access, displacement effects, and cost led to such research methods as interviews, site inspections, stakeholder surveys, and professional consultations


Our Itinerary

Steps in the Project

The work leading up the Recommendation Report will take place in three sequences, starting with Project Two, continuing with progress reports, and ending with Project Six. The actions for each of these sequences are listed below:

 Initial Objectives (for Proposal Memo)
  • Defining the Problem
  • Identifying Research Questions
  • Establishing Research Methods
  • Establishing Selection Criteria
  • Establishing a Schedule for Conducting Research and Composing the Final Report
Intermediate Objectives (for Progress Reports)
  • Forecasting Possible Solutions
  • Researching and Interpreting Information
  • Adjusting Existing Schedules
Final Objectives (for Final Report)
  • Presenting Research
  • Identifying Feasible Solutions
  • Applying Criteria
  • Making a Recommendation

Homework:

Project One is due by 11:59 pm. Post to Wikipedia and your blog. Provide screenshots on your blog of the changes made in Wikipedia.

Email rankings (excluding yourself) are due by 11:59 pm Thursday, 9/18.

Read TC, ch. 19.

Write a memo (300 words) to your teammates in response to “Apply Your Expertise” #3.  Consider your execution of Project One and suggest three ways your team can improve productivity heading into Projects Two and Six.  Persuasively explain each suggestion.

3050 Session Five: Finishing Project One; Intro to Project Two; 9/11/14

On Tap Today:

  • Submission protocols for Project One reviewed (again)
  • Ranking message for Project One (explained, with example)
  • Common problems with Project One (for you to avoid)
  • Super-Secret Sneak Peek at Project Two (for the ambitious students)

https://i2.wp.com/jerryrushing.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/deadline.jpg

Project One  is due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14:  Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.

Every team member will be responsible for sending me an email by 11:59 pm Thursday that includes the name of your team and a numbered ranking of your teammates. Numbers are based on the number of people in your team excluding yourself (you will not rank your own contributions). The highest number should be assigned to the person who you felt turned in the best performance while working on this project (e.g., if your team has five members, in this ranking the highest number will be four). Here’s an example:

ranking email

 

The teammate with the “highest” score will receive a bonus point. Likewise, the teammate with the lowest score will lose a point from their grade for this project.

http://rorytrotter.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/rank-and-yank-hr.gif

Common Wikipedia Problems with Project One Executions (and common strategies for avoiding them)

1. Entry does not serve knowledge base 
  • Expand a stub, make an entry for a section of an existing article, or choose a “wanted” or “most wanted” entry 
  • Enter your contribution into Wikipedia in advance of the due date (to allow time to gauge readers/editors responses)
  • Familiarize yourself with what kinds of entries are cut (and why)
2. Entry does not follow formatting/style guidelines of knowledge base
3. Entry contains inaccuracies, unverified claims, and/or grammar/punctuation mistakes
  • Research your topic thoroughly
  • Be sure to cite sources appropriately using Wikipedia’s guidelines
  • Perform common editing/spell check functions, including importing your text into a word processor

Common Student Problems with Project One (and common strategies to avoid them):

The Procrastination Situation:
  • You decide to wait until Tuesday to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia’s markup language and editing procedures, only to discover that they are a bit more complicate than you anticipated and are thus forced to watch, teary-eyed, as the midnight deadline rolls past you like a giant boulder crushing your dreams of academic success.
    • https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/af/TK_sandbox_icon.svg/1024px-TK_sandbox_icon.svg.pngPro-tip: Play with Wikipedia. Start today in the sandbox.  A link to your personal sandbox will appear in the upper right corner when you are logged in to your Wikipedia account.
The Citation Situation:
  • You compile your facts and evidence behind your entry from websites that you forgot to document and/or things your mother or some drunk guy told you, only to discover that Wikipedia, despite what its various critics (and possibly your mother or some drunk guy back when, as mentioned, they were acting as your primary research source) have suggested, actually has fairly formal standards for documenting evidence and listing citations.
The Illustration Situation:

Rough Draft Review

Hand a copy of your rough draft to a different team.  As a team, review your peers’ work. Complete the following tasks:

  1. Can you identify a sentence definition? Is it conveniently placed? If one is missing, would it help the readability?
  2. Is there a clear organization of information? How could it be improved?
  3. What questions remain unanswered?
  4. Identify the primary readership of this article.  Be as specific as possible.

Project Two will begin in earnest on Tuesday.  be sure to read chapter 24 in Anderson if you have not already done so.

3050 Project One Sample

Piezoelectric accelerometer

A piezoelectric accelerometer is an accelerometer that utilizes the piezoelectric effect of certain materials to measure dynamic changes in mechanical variables. (e.g. acceleration, vibration, and mechanical shock)

As with all transducers, piezoelectric accelerometers convert one form of energy into another and provide an electrical signal in response to a quantity, property, or condition that is being measured. Using the general sensing method upon which all accelerometers are based, acceleration acts upon a seismic mass that is restrained by a spring or suspended on a cantilever beam, and converts a physical force into an electrical signal. Before the acceleration can be converted into an electrical quantity it must first be converted into either a force or displacement. This conversion is done via the mass spring system shown in the figure to the right.

 

Introduction

The word piezoelectric finds its roots in the Greek word piezein, which means to squeeze or press. When a physical force is exerted on the accelerometer, the seismic mass loads the piezoelectric element according to Newton’s second law of motion (F=ma). The force exerted on the piezoelectric material can be observed in the change in the electrostatic force or voltage generated by the piezoelectric material. This differs from a piezoresistive effect in that piezoresistive materials experience a change in the resistance of the material rather than a change in charge or voltage. Physical force exerted on the piezoelectric can be classified as one of two types; bending or compression. Stress of the compression type can be understood as a force exerted to one side of the piezoelectric while the opposing side rests against a fixed surface, while bending involves a force being exerted on the piezoelectric from both sides.

Piezoelectric materials used for the purpose of accelerometers can also fall into two categories. The first, and more widely used, is single-crystal materials (usually quartz). Though these materials do offer a long life span in terms of sensitivity, their disadvantage is that they are generally less sensitive than some piezoelectric ceramics. In addition to having a higher piezoelectric constant (sensitivity) than single-crystal materials, ceramics are more inexpensive to produce. The other category is ceramic material. That uses barium titanate, lead-zirconate-lead-titanate, lead metaniobate, and other materials whose composition is considered proprietary by the company responsible for their development. The disadvantage to piezoelectric ceramics, however, is that their sensitivity degrades with time making the longevity of the device less than that of single-crystal materials.

In applications when low sensitivity piezoelectrics are used, two or more crystals can be connected together for output multiplication. The proper material can be chosen for particular applications based on the sensitivity, frequency response, bulk-resistivity, and thermal response. Due to the low output signal and high output impedance that piezoelectric accelerometers possess, there is a need for amplification and impedance conversion of the signal produced. In the past this problem has been solved using a separate (external) amplifier/impedance converter. This method, however, is generally impractical due to the noise that is introduced as well as the physical and environmental constraints posed on the system as a result. Today IC amplifiers/impedance converters are commercially available and are generally packaged within the case of the accelerometer itself.

History

Behind the mystery of the operation of the piezoelectric accelerometer lie some very fundamental concepts governing the behavior of crystallographic structures. In 1880, Pierre and Jacques Curie published an experimental demonstration connecting mechanical stress and surface charge on a crystal. This phenomenon became known as the piezoelectric effect. Closely related to this phenomenon is the Curie point, named for the physicist Pierre Curie, which is the temperature above which it loses spontaneous polarization of its atoms.

The development of the commercial piezoelectric accelerometer came about through a number of attempts to find the most effective method to measure the vibration on large structures such as bridges and on vehicles in motion such as aircraft. One attempt involved using the resistance strain gage as a device to build an accelerometer. Incidentally, it was Hans J. Meier who, through his work at MIT, is given credit as the first to construct a commercial strain gage accelerometer (circa 1938)(Patrick). However, the strain gage accelerometers were fragile and could only produce low resonant frequencies and they also exhibited a low frequency response. These limitations in dynamic range made it unsuitable for testing naval aircraft structures. On the other hand, the piezoelectric sensor was proven to be a much better choice over the strain gage in designing an accelerometer. The high modulus of elasticity of piezoelectric materials made the piezoelectric sensor a more viable solution to the problems identified with the strain gage accelerometer.

Simply stated, the inherent properties of the piezoelectric accelerometers made it a much better alternative to the strain gage types because of its high frequency response and its ability to generate high resonant frequencies. The piezoelectric accelerometer allowed for a reduction in its physical size at the manufacturing level and it also provided for a higher g (standard gravity) capability relative to the strain gage type. By comparison, the strain gage type exhibited a flat frequency response above 200 Hz while the piezoelectric type provided a flat response up to 10,000 Hz (Patrick). These improvements made it possible for measuring the high frequency vibrations associated with the quick movements and short duration shocks of aircrafts which before was not possible with the strain gage types. Before long, the technological benefits of the piezoelectric accelerometer became apparent and in the late 1940’s and in 1950 large scale production of piezoelectric accelerometers began. Today, piezoelectric accelerometers are used for instrumentation in the fields of engineering, health and medicine, aeronautics and many other different industries.

Manufacturing

There are two common methods used to manufacture accelerometers. One is based upon the principals of piezoresistance and the other is based on the principals of piezoelectricity. Both methods ensure that unwanted orthogonal acceleration vectors are excluded from detection.

Manufacturing an accelerometer that uses piezoresistance first starts with a semiconductor layer that is attached to a handle wafer by a thick oxide layer. The semiconductor layer is then patterned to the accelerometer’s geometry. This semiconductor layer has one or more apertures so that the underlying mass will have the corresponding apertures. Next the semiconductor layer is than used as a mask to etch out a cavity in the underlying thick oxide. A mass in the cavity is supported in cantilever fashion by the piezoresistant arms of the semiconductor layer. Directly below the accelerometer’s geometry is a flex cavity that allows the mass in the cavity to flex or move in direction that is orthogonal to the surface of the accelerometer.

Accelerometers that based upon piezoelectricity are constructed with two piezoelectric transducers. The unit consists of a hollow tube that is sealed by a piezoelectric transducer on each end. The transducers are oppositely polarized and are selected to have a specific series capacitance. The tube is than partially filled with a heavy liquid and the accelerometer is excited. While exited the total output voltage is continuously measured and the volume of the heavy liquid is microadjusted until the desired output voltage is obtained. Finally the outputs of the individual transducers are measured, the residual voltage difference is tabulated, and the dominate transducer is identified.

Applications of piezoelectric accelerometers

Piezoelectric accelerometers are used in many different industries, environments and applications. Piezoelectric measuring devices are widely used today in the laboratory, on the production floor, and as original equipment for measuring and recording dynamic changes in mechanical variables including shock and vibration.

AMETEK is one of many companies that manufacture piezoelectric accelerometers. Their piezoelectric accelerometers are used in aircraft engines, helicopters, land gas turbines, compressors, gas generators, launch vehicles, missiles and marine vehicles.

Another company, Endevco, also manufactures piezoelectric accelerometers. Their products include pressure transducers, microphones, electronic instruments and calibrations systems. Companies in the aerospace, automotive, defense, medical, industrial and marine industries tend to be buyers of Endevco’s products. With respect to the defense industry, accelerometers are used in a wide range of applications because of the availability of smaller and cheaper accelerometers with a greater operating range, higher resonance frequency, lower amplitude range, and integrated electronics.

References

  • Norton, Harry N.(1989). Handbook of Transducers. Prentice Hall PTR]. ISBN 013382599X
  • Patrick, Walter L. The History of the Accelerometer 1920’s-1996 Prologue and Epilogue. 2006.

External links

*‘Piezoelectric Tranducers’

*‘Piezoelectric Sensors’

*‘The Principles of Piezoelectric Accelerometers’

3050 Session Four: Planning for Usefulness and to Persuade

Today’s Agenda:

Project One memos.

One Card OverAchievers: Evan L. Joshua, Ali, Mohammad

We’ve Gone Plaid: Martin, Nate , Kelly , Evan C.

The U. N. Group: Ritwik, Abe, Kento, Branden

Brad’s Undergrads: Lauren, Peter Dolba, Gi Tae, Vandit

The Creative Ones: Brittany, Tayler, Nick, Jason

The Leftovers: Peter Dolnicek, Billal, Ronald, Philip


Writing for Usefulness and to Persuade

  • Identify the goals of your reader(s).
  • Determine and clearly show how your ideas or suggestions can help the reader(s) achieve their goals.
  • Use an appropriate superstructure for the writing task.
  • In your writing, focus on the ways your ideas or actions will help the reader(s).
    • Organization-related: specific, factual, based on organization’s motives
    • Values-related: human rights, ethics, societal norms
    • Achievement/Growth goals: recognition, advancement, satisfaction
  • Justify your claims by marshaling appropriate evidence and a solid line of reasoning.
  • Anticipate and address potential counterarguments that may arise.
  • Be credible.  Establish your ethos 
    • Mention your credentials and demonstrate your knowledge
    • Cite experts
    • Avoid oversimplifying
    • Stress goals and values of the reader(s) rather than your own
    • If writing for a specific organization/discourse community use the terms and structures routinely used by that group.
    • State your message confidently and with enthusiasm
    • Refer to an authority or expert with whom you have consulted or who trusted you with the task at hand. (Anderson, ch 4 & 5).

Practice Session:

With one or two partners, use the supplied Writing Guides to prepare a response to one of the three Case Studies at the end of chapters 3, 4, and 5 of Technical Communication. Outline or draft a single page memo in response to the case you chose.


Homework:

Read:

  • Technical Communication ch. 24 (“Writing Reader-Centered Proposals”)
  • Project Two

Write:

  • Have a rough draft of Project One ready for class on Thursday
  • Project One Due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14:  Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.

 

 

3050 Session Three Definitions 9/4/14

Planning Definitions/Descriptions

https://i1.wp.com/thumb7.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/366961/127950671/stock-photo-definition-word-from-a-free-dictionary-close-up-127950671.jpg

 Macro Level

  • Who needs this definition and what is their familiarity with terms in this field?
  • What amount of detail is needed?
  • Where and how will this definition be used?

Micro Level

  • How might a sentence definition be used in the document and elsewhere (consider different contexts; in this case, the fact that this is an entry for Wikipedia)?

Reader-Centered Concerns

From Markel:

  • “Definitions clarify a description of a new development or a new technology in a technical field” (565).
  • “Definitions help specialists communicate with less knowledgeable readers” (585).
Types of Readers
  • Primary-wants to learn, action takers, decision makers
  • Secondary-proofread, fact check, advisors
  • Tertiary-“accidental readers” evaluators

Researching Required

  • Basic knowledge/background info/history
  • Most recent info
  • What level of familiarity will reader have
  • Valid references
  • Visuals
  • examples

Sentence Definitions: Terms, Categories, and Distinguishing Characteristics

  • Specify the category and characteristics
  • Differentiate between a specific item and a class of items
  • Avoid circular definitions
  • Use a noun or noun phrase rather than a who, what, where, when phrase.

Extending the sentence definition

  • Indicate the scope and nature of the description
  • Provide a clear description
  • Use sufficient amount and appropriate detail
  • Conclude (Markel, 574)

Example: pencil

Markel identifies 8 strategies/tools for extending your sentence definitions:

  • Graphics/Visual Aid
  • Examples/Usages
  • Partition/categories
  • Principle of Operation
  • Comparisons
  • Analogy
  • Negation
  • Etymology of term/history

Example: personal computer

Style (Keeping it Simple and Usable)

https://stablerenglish.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/d2b76-keep-it-simple-stupid-kiss.png

  • Use familiar words and terms
  • Keep sentences short
  • Use definitions within definitions (use links to existing Wiki pages)
  • Leverage visuals appropriately

Common Problems with Project One Executions (and common strategies for avoiding them)

1. Entry does not serve knowledge base 
  • Expand a stub, make an entry for a section of an existing article, or choose a “wanted” or “most wanted” entry 
  • Enter your contribution into Wikipedia in advance of the due date (to allow time to gauge readers/editors responses)
  • Familiarize yourself with what kinds of entries are cut (and why)
2. Entry does not follow formatting/style guidelines of knowledge base
  • Study the wikipedia style guidelines and content criteria and makes sure you are aware of common writing practices for this site
  • Use an article on a similar topic as your style sheet/example
  • Be aware of, in particular, when images/diagrams would be of use for a given topic
3. Entry contains inaccuracies, unverified claims, and/or grammar/punctuation mistakes
  • Research your topic thoroughly
  • Be sure to cite sources appropriately (using Wikipedia’s guidelines)
  • Perform common editing/spell check functions, including importing your text into a word processor

Let’s take a look at our memos.

One Card OverAchievers: Evan L. Joshua, Ali, Mohammad, Peter Dolcinek.

We’ve Gone Plaid: Martin, Nate , Kelly , Evan C.

The U. N. Group: Ritwik, Abe, Kento, Branden, Billal

Brad’s Undergrads: Lauren, Peter Dolba, Gi Tae, Vandit

The Creative Ones: Brittany, Tayler, Nick, Jason, Ronald

Strategies for Writing Good Memos (from Chapter 23 of Technical Communication)

  • Adopt a “You-Centered” Attitude
  • State your Main Points Quickly
  • Keep it Short
  • Provide Necessary Background
  • Use Headings, Lists, and Graphics when Appropriate
  • Follow Format Conventions

In Regards to this Memo specifically:

  • Keep the receiver’s (my) desires in mind
  • Address major objectives at the start of subsections
  • Keep the memo to a single page
  • Provide necessary context when discussion challenges and strategies
  • Use a To/From/Date/Subject top heading
  • Use Headings
  • Bullet lists are appropriate for a work plan
  • Graphics are appropriate only in special circumstances

Assignments for this Week/Next Week and Beyond

 

  • Before 11:59 pm tonight: Tweak your Memo Assignment for Project One and email a MSWord doc. file to me. Make sure it includes a sentence definition of your topic.
  • Write an evaluation (@ 300-500 words) describing the blog you found by 11:59 pm, Mon. 9/8/14
  • Before class on Tuesday, 9/9: Read Chapters 4 (“Planning for Usefulness”), 5 (“Planning Your Persuasive Strategies,” p. 117-146),
  • Quiz on Thursday 9/11
  • Project One Due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14:  Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.

3050 Session Two: Purpose and Audience 9/2/14

https://i2.wp.com/img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131105191248/starwars/images/7/7d/Death_Star_Owner%27s_Technical_Manual_blueprints.jpg

Today’s Agenda:

  • Problems with wordpress or wikipedia?
  • Syllabus questions
  • Review of Chapters 1 & 3 of Technical Communication
  • Introduction to Project One
  • Team Formations

What is Technical Communication?

Essential Aspects:

  • Produced for a practical purpose (to inform, explain, instruct)
  • Directed toward (a) particular audience(s)
  • Focused on “usability” of final product and/or or persuasive power in influence the decisions of stakeholders (rather than aesthetic concerns, enjoyment, etc.)

 Common Aspects:

  • Uses several popular genres of writing/communication (memo, report, instruction set, white paper, proposal, progress report, etc)
  • Employs visuals, graphics, formatting techniques
  • Often requires collaboration
  • Increasingly produced in a digital environment
  • Deadline driven

 

Reader-Centered Strategies for Effective Technical Communication (part one)

We’ll discuss this in greater detail in later classes

  • Help readers find key information quickly
  • Use an accessible writing style

 

Defining the Objective of a Technical Communication:

 

  • What task will your communication help a reader perform?
  • What information does your reader desire/require?
    • What is your reader already likely to know?
    • What will need to be explained to them?
  • How will your reader “read” the communication (skim for key points? read from beginning to end? read in a hurry?)?
  • How will your reader use the information you are providing (as a reference? to perform a certain action? to make a decision?)?
  • What constraints/affordances are provided you as a writer, given your task and the genre of your writing and/or its delivery mechanism?

(See Figure 3.1 in Text or download the Writer’s Guide here.)

Beginning Project One

Memo for Project One:

Between now and midnight of Wednesday 9/3/14 you will compose a memo (300-500 words, single spaced) with information about the following:

  1. group membership and your group’s decision on the “rank-and-yank” question as well as any other essential information about how you plan to collaborate productively (e.g., settle problems, delegate work);
  2. the topic you have chosen for Project One and why you think this is an appropriate topic given the expertise of your group and the constrains of Wikipedia as an open-author knowledge base (see, in particular, the questions listed above under “Defining the Objective of a Technical Communication” for guidance on this question);
  3. the challenges of the assignment, as you see them, given the constraints of Wikipedia entries in general and your chosen topic in particular; and
  4. your strategies for overcoming the challenges you have identified.

You have already read a chapter on writing effective memos in Technical Communication. See also here and here for other useful information on memo writing.

Before leaving class today, please provide me with the following information by filling out the form below or on a slip of paper.

Homework:

  • READ for Thursday:
    • Markel on Writing Definitions pages 564 – 571 & 574-579
    • Using this list, or Google, find a blog related to your major, career path, or personal interest.  Read a post or two to get a feel for the blog and blogger(s). Post the URL of your chosen blog on your wordpress site.
  • WRITE:
    • Upload Project One Memo to your blog by 11:59 pm, Wed. 9/3/14
    • Write an evaluation (@ 300-500 words) describing the blog you found above.  Identify and describe the following:
      • Readers and their characteristics
      • What the blogger(s) want their readers to do
      • The ways the blogger(s) influence readers’ attitudes and actions
      • How well these objectives were met (or not).
      • Post this to your wordpress or other blog by 11:59 pm, Mon. 9/8/14