engl402: Professional & Technical writing

Contact Info

Professor Kristin Arola
Email: arola@wsu.edu
Office Hours: by appointment (I'm flexible, just ask!)
Office: Avery 309

Course Description

The purpose of English 402 is to prepare you for the kinds of professional and technical communication that you will do inside and outside of your professional career. English 402 teaches the rhetorical principles and writing practices necessary for producing effective letters, memos, presentations, reports, job application materials, and collaborative projects. This course asks you to question what is meant by "effective communication" and assists you in developing strategies to shape communication ethically, for multiple audiences, and in a variety of professional situations.


Course Objectives

  • Identify and analyze rhetorical situations and apply rhetorical strategies to technical and professional writing
  • Compose and revise a variety of technical and professional documents that respond to the identified rhetorical situation
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of research techniques and inclusion of research results in technical and professional documents
  • Engage with the role visual communication plays in the reception of texts
  • Engage ethically the obligations of communicating in a diverse world
  • Evaluate the writing of others in a constructive manner
  • Learn to present ideas and products in a proficient and persuasive manner


Required Texts

  • Gurak, Laura J. and Mary E. Hocks. The Technical Communication Handbook. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009.



  • Attendance: Because we will be working collaboratively on many assignments, and because learning is a communal effort, your regular attendance is vital. Each absence beyond four will result in a loss of 50 points. Extensive tardiness will be considered in assessing absences. This policy is firm.You will also lose participation points for the following: texting in class, using your phone for any reason, using a laptop for reasons other than note taking, doing homework for another class, doing anything that distracts from the culture of respect and professionalism that a class such as this requires.
  • Late work: Acceptance of late work is unusual and must be discussed in conference with the teacher. Late work will receive a lowered grade if turned in within one week of the original due date. Work turned in later than one week past the original due date will be given an automatic grade of F.
  • Students with Disabilities:  I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability.  Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations.  All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Rooms 205). Call 509 335 3417 to make an appointment with a disability counselor.
  • Academic Honesty: All students are expected to act in accordance with the WSU policies on Academic Honesty found in the Student Handbook. These policies include falsification of information, fabrication of information, plagiarism, multiple submissions, and various others. Information about these policies can be found in the Handbook. These policies include falsification of information, fabrication of information, plagiarism, multiple submission, and various others. For additional information on the plagiarism, WSU has a great new site at http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/plagiarism/main.html Information about these policies can be found online at the WSU Academic Dishonesty site at http://conduct.wsu.edu/default.asp?PageID=343
  • Grading Scale:   A: 93-100, A-: 90-92, B+: 88-89, B: 83-87, B-: 80-82, C+: 78-79, C: 73-77, C-: 70-72, D+: 68-69, D: 63-67, D-60-62, F: 59 and below.
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