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English 211: Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing

ENGL 211, Introduction to Technical and Professional Writing* is a practical introduction to principal types and forms of technical writing, including description of a mechanism, process, analysis, definition, and the proposal.

This course includes 4–6 writing tasks that focus on ways to research, organize, and present information. Individual assignments vary with each instructor, but all ENGL 211 sections can be expected to:

  1. emphasize the drafting, revision and editing of documents that convey specialized information for technical as well as non-technical audiences
  2. build on the library research and documentation skills introduced in ENGL 101 by including a collaborative project that requires the collection, assimilation and presentation of information derived from outside sources
  3. provide students with the vocabulary and rhetorical forms necessary to move between informal writing and writing for specialized audiences
  4. continue ENGL 101’s emphasis on writing as a process that includes many steps and ongoing engagement among writer, text, and audience


ENGL 211 is an introduction to technical and professional writing, writing that is typically done in the workplace and takes into account readers’ expectations of content, tone, and overall form. The intent of technical writing is to provide information that readers will use in a practical manner. Because technical and professional writing often addresses a particular audience (such as physicists, members of a professional team, or employees at a given workplace), technical writers often draw on specialized vocabulary and become subject matter experts as they focus on the Cs: correctness, clarity, conciseness, consistency, and conventions.

The types of assignments you can expect in this course might include the following: long reports (e.g. research papers, proposals, and recommendations), short reports of all types (e.g. progress reports, trip reports, and lab reports), sets of instructions, mechanism and process descriptions, annotated bibliographies, and literature reviews. In this course, your research paper will be in APA format, not MLA. While this research will be similar to that conducted for the other First-Year Composition classes, as it will involve entering an ongoing text-based conversation, the format of documentation will be different. Using APA in ENGL 211  gives you not only exposure to a new style, but also you practice changing your format and delivery according to audience expectations.

REMEMBER:  You must pass ENGL 101 and 102 (or 101 and 211) with a C or better in order to satisfy this Core requirement.


* ENGL 211 is in the process of being moved out of the First-Year Composition sequence.