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ME304: Engineering Communication

Unit 4: Specific Genres and Design   This unit presents the details of formatting, organizing, and using several written communication genres.  You need not memorize all of these standard formats, but you should familiarize yourself with their existence and utility and make note of references for future use.  It may seem that formats and organizational styles are rather arbitrary at first, but with experience reading and writing them, you will come to recognize their logic.  By examining the differences in formats and styles, you may in fact develop an appreciation for their utility.

The unit will conclude with information on formatting and style applicable to oral presentations and audio/visual aids.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 32 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 23 hours
☐    Subunit 4.1.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.6: 9 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.7: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.1.8: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.9: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 6 hours
☐    Subunit 4.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.3.3: 4 hours

☐    End of Unit Self-Assessment: 2 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Prepare documents in compliance with accepted formats, styles, and contents for genres, such as memoranda, résumés, letters, instruction manuals, and reports. - Adapt to new formats or genres. - Employ effective visual or graphical aids. - Organize and present information orally.

4.1 Written Documents   4.1.1 Memoranda   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Memos”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s
“[Memos](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2009/podcasts/write-right/episode-24-quick-tip-on-writing-memos/)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the entire webpage in order to appreciate the
content, style, and language of a typical memo.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Pennsylvania State University: Leonhard Center’s “Sample Memo Format”

    Link: Pennsylvania State University: Leonhard Center’s “Sample Memo Format” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the text in its entirety.  For practice, then draft a memo to an engineering service firm describing a fouling problem with a heat exchanger that needs action.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Michael Alley, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

4.1.2 Letters   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Cover Letters”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Cover
Letters](http://www.saylor.org/content/me304/cover_letters.mp3)”
(mp3)  
    
 Instructions: Listen to the audio (3 minutes).  Write two examples
of effective opening and two examples of effective closing sentences
for a cover letter.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University. 
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2009/podcasts/write-right/episode-13-quick-tip-on-writing-cover-letters/).
  • Reading: Pennsylvania State University: Leonhard Center’s “Sample Letter Format”

    Link: Pennsylvania State University: Leonhard Center’s “Sample Letter Format” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the format and compose a letter conforming to that format.  The letter should serve as a cover letter for your résumé indicating your interest in an employment opportunity as a technical writing editor.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Michael Alley, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

4.1.3 Résumés   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Engineering Career Fair: What Makes a Good Résumé?”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Engineering Career Fair: What
Makes a Good Résumé?](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44NUEylUiHE)”
(YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: View the video (5 minutes).  
  

Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University.
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2010/podcasts/resume-writing-engineering-career-fair-2010-episode-43/).
  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Résumé Workshop”

    Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Résumé Workshop” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the webpage and the subordinate links.  Follow these guidelines to create a résumé for yourself.  Follow the example résumé given on the webpage.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.4 Executive Summaries   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Executive Summary”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Executive
Summary](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-4.1.4.pdf)”
(PDF)  

 Instructions: Read the entire webpage.  How does a summary differ
from an abstract?  How does a summary differ from an introduction or
conclusion?  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2008/types-communication/business-professional-writing/executive-summary/).

4.1.5 Proposals   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Proposals”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s
“[Proposals](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-4.1.5.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage in its entirety.  What is the
primary purpose of a proposal?  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2008/types-communication/academic-writing/proposals/).

4.1.6 Reports   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Progress Reports”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Progress
Reports](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-4.1.6.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage in its entirety, and consider the
following question.  What is the primary purpose of a progress
report?  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2008/types-communication/business-professional-writing/progress-report/).
  • Reading: Pennsylvania State University and Virginia Tech University’s “Laboratory Reports”

    Link: Pennsylvania State University and Virginia Tech University’s “Laboratory Reports” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the webpage and the embedded links to sample laboratory reports.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Michael Alley, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

  • Reading: NISO’s “ANSI/NISO Z39.18 Scientific and Technical Reports – Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation”

    Link: NISO’s “ANSI/NISO Z39.18 Scientific and Technical Reports – Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Click on the hyperlink listed after “Final Document (PDF)” to download the file (96 pages).  Read the table of contents.  Much of this document may appear arcane to the beginning report writer.  You need only carefully read sections 4 and 5 (pages 20-41).  Compose a complete progress report, 1000-1500 words in length and consisting of an introduction, body, and conclusion, describing your progress to date in completing mechanical engineering education. You may consider any aspects of your experiences with Saylor Foundation courses.  Consider the audience for the report to be a concerned third party with no particular expertise in mechanical engineering.  Compose a 200-300 word executive summary of the report.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.7 White Papers   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “White Paper: Purpose and Audience” and “White Paper: Organization and Other Tips”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “[White Paper:
Purpose and
Audience](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/546/01/)” (HTML)
and “[White Paper: Organization and Other
Tips](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/546/2/)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read both webpages in their entirety.  Perform the
exercise at the end of the “White Paper: Organization and Other
Tips” webpage.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.8 Instruction Manuals   - Reading: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “Online Technical Writing: User Guides” and “Online Technical Writing: Instructions”

Link: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “[Online Technical Writing: User
Guides](http://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/user_guides.html)”
(HTML) and “[Online Technical Writing:
Instructions](http://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/instrux.html)”
(HTML)  
              
 Instructions: Read the entire webpage and take notes to help retain
this information for later reference.  Create an instruction manual
of 500-1000 words in length intended for a peer to create a résumé
using the computer equipment available to you.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.9 Popular Style and Format Guides   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Research and Citation Resources”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “[Research and
Citation Resources](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Click on the embedded hyperlinks to read more on the
APA, MLA, and Chicago Style.  Not only do these style guides have
specifications for citation formats, but they also contain
specifications for spacing, font size, title format,  and pagination
amongst many other items.  Unless otherwise specified, it is good
practice to follow an established style guide for your documents.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 Oral Presentations   - Reading: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “Online Technical Writing: User Guides”

Link: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “[Online Technical Writing: Oral
Presentations](http://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/oral.html)”
(HTML)  
             

Instructions: Read the entire webpage and make a personal checklist
of 5 items to do before giving and oral presentation.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: East Tennessee State University: Bill Hemphill’s “Language Skills Handbook: Oral Presentations”

    Link: East Tennessee State University: Bill Hemphill’s “Language Skills Handbook: Oral Presentations” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the webpage and make a personal checklist of 10 items to do before giving an oral presentation.  Define extemporaneous and impromptu speaking.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3 Audio/Visual Aids   4.3.1 Graphs, Charts, and Tables   - Reading: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “Online Technical Writing: Graphics and Tables”

Link: IO.com: David A McMurrey’s “[Online Technical Writing:
Graphics and
Tables](http://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/graphics.html)” (HTML)  
             

Instructions: Read the entire article, and take notes to help retain
this information for later reference.  Much of the information here
is obsolete, but many of the general guidelines are still valid. 
Read the advice keeping in mind that the technology for creating
graphics may change rapidly but that the general design principles
may respond to technological change and evolve much more slowly.  
    
 Terms of Use: Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms
of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.2 Posters   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Research Posters”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Research
Posters](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-4.3.2.pdf)” (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the (1) page. Poster sessions are probably an
evolving medium of sharing technical information, but the elements
of graphic design discussed here are useful in many other
situations. How should the graphics designed for a report and a
poster differ?  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2009/how-to/science-technical/research-posters/).

4.3.3 Slides   - Reading: Pennsylvania State University Leonhard Center’s “Teaching the Assertion-Evidence Design of Presentation Slides”

Link: Pennsylvania State University Leonhard Center’s “[Teaching the
Assertion-Evidence Design of Presentation
Slides](http://www.saylor.org/content/me304/teaching_slides.ppt)”
and [Exercise on Slide
Design](http://www.saylor.org/content/me304/exercises_on_slide_design.pdf)
 (Powerpoint)  
    
 Instructions: Read this page and download and study the PPT file
“Teaching Slides” (17 slides) and the PDF “Exercises on Slide
Design” (10 pages) from this link. The exercises provide examples of
“assertion-evidence” design and prompt you to mimic the examples for
your own subject matter. You may wish to download the
“assertion-evidence” slide template from the link.  
    
 Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the
kind permission of Michael Alley, and can be viewed in its original
form
[here](http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/teaching_slide_design.html).  Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder.

Unit 4 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ME304: Unit 4 Quiz”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “[ME304: Unit 4
Quiz](http://school.saylor.org/mod/quiz/view.php?id=914)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Please complete the linked assessment.  
    
 You must be logged into your Saylor Foundation School account in
order to access this exam.  If you do not yet have an account, you
will be able to create one, free of charge, after clicking the
link.