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Course purpose and objectives
The goals for Science and Technical Writing, English 104, are to develop students' critical reading, thinking, and writing skills within the context of writing and research conventions for science and technical fields. Emphasis is placed on learning to develop clear, logical, appropriately structured written documents, free from serious usage/mechanics errors. To help students accomplish these goals, teachers are asked to present writing as a process and to have some exposure to the collaborative nature of writing. Students will also receive instruction in science and technical research techniques and in writing research-based documents. Regardless of the particular assignment, instructors should present writing as a process, giving students opportunities for developing, drafting, reviewing with peers, and revising whenever possible. Given the collaborative nature of much scientific and technical writing, opportunities for team-based work should also be part of this course.

Essential skills and outcomes to be acquired through the course include:

1) development of the critical reading, and analytical skills acquired in ENGL 101, with particular emphasis on discourse in scientific and technical fields;

2) development of critical judgment for discourse in the sciences and in technology;

3) the ability to employ research methods for the sciences and technology;

4) the ability to synthesize information from multiple sources;

5) the ability to present research and cite sources in science and technology fields, particularly CSE;

6) the ability to structure science and technical documents based on the conventions in these fields;

7) the ability to employ standard usage for written English;

8) the ability to use basic computer technology, including word processing, presentation, and internet-browsing applications.

Required texts and materials
Dictionary; A Writer's Reference, Diana Hacker, St Martins Press; Writing in the Disciplines: Advice and Model, Tom Jehn and Jane Rosenzweig; computer account for the use of Shepherd University computer labs, email systems, and on-line services.

Written document and research project
A variety of types of writing should be assigned and should be appropriate for scientific and technical fields. Students will be assessed on a minimum of four written projects. These assignments may include science and lab reports, technical instructions, summaries/abstracts, and comparison/contrast papers. Instructors may also ask students to write critical analyses of texts, reviews of literature, and other scientific or technical reports as appropriate. A longer, formal research project will also be completed. Each essay will be graded and returned to students before the next writing assignment, and at least one document must be written in class.

Computer literacy
Because Shepherd University values the importance of computer literacy and because the Department of English values the process of revision and editing in writing, the majority of the documents written for Science and Technical Writing, ENGL 104, must be drafted and completed utilizing word processing software. All students must acquire a University computer account and become familiar with the three General Studies basic technology/communication requirements: 1) Internet use, 2) electronic library research, and 3) word processing.

The University Writing Center
To receive individual instruction and feedback on writing in progress, students should be encouraged to visit The Academic Support Services Center in the basement of Scarborough Library. Visits are by appointment (via the online schedule found at or through ShepOwl at

Grades awarded for essays should be consistent with the Department Grading Criteria at, and should follow the values: 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, 0-59=F.

Revision Approved 4-02-08


Department of English and Modern Languages | P.O. Box 5000 | Shepherdstown, West Virginia | 25443-5000 | 304-876-5220 | 800-344-5231