The main purpose of this assignment is to give you practice in writing instructions, one of the most common kinds of technical communication you will do in the workplace and in your day-to-day life. Some common reasons for writing instructions include
Specifying details of technical activities,
Describing office procedures,
Preparing training manuals,
Explaining how to operate computer programs, etc.
An important aspect of writing instructions is using graphics and design: good instructions contain graphics and are designed to be easy to read and understand. Therefore, another important purpose of this assignment is to improve your skills in the visual dimension of technical communication.
You work in a field related to your major or a field of your interest and your supervisor asks you to create instructions for something you do daily at work. The audience of the instructions is entry-level interns majoring in that field but who have no experience with the job or any specialized tools it requires. Your instructions should describe a simple, easily-conducted process related to your major. Avoid illegal, unethical, and potentially dangerous topics, but try to find something interesting.
Your audience is a non-specialist audience. Assume that your user is completely ignorant of the task at hand. I want to see you think through everything involved, even with a simple topic, and be very clear.
Here are some examples of a title:
constructing a 3-D model of a residential complex in Atlanta for architectural planning using CAD
creating a graphic in MS Excel to visually display population data of Cobb county
using advanced features of Adobe Acrobat to edit, sign, and submit PDF files
writing a simple bunny and carrot game program using C++
creating a basic homepage for a website in DreamWeaver
3-D printing a model for a Faceshield for healthcare professionals at Grady Hospital publishing a website for a small business in Marietta using WordPress
Include a comprehensive title and a short description of your topic in the submission.
2. A complete set of instructions. Instructions must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document.
A complete instruction set will include the following parts:
Author’s (your) full name.
Table of contents, auto-generated in Word. Here is a tutorial for it: MS Word Table of Contents
(“Indicate the specific tasks or procedures to be explained as well as the scope of coverage (what won’t be covered).
Indicate what the audience needs in terms of knowledge and background to understand the instructions.
Specify the age range of the audience here.
Give a general idea of the procedure and what it accomplishes. Indicate how much time may be necessary to complete the task or procedure.
Indicate the conditions when these instructions should (or should not) be used.”)
Technical definition and description
To write this, follow the advice given in the textbook found here.
Cautions and safety information (include ANSI- or ISO-compliant safety information, as appropriate).
For digital/electronic tasks/procedures, including precautions regarding the loss of data, viruses, cybersecurity, etc. if applicable.
“These typically are listed either in a simple vertical list or in a two-column list.
Use the two-column list if you need to add some specifications to some or all of the items—for example, brand names, sizes, amounts, types, model numbers, and so on
Writing the steps of the instructions.
Start each step with an action verb.
Use imperative voice and simple language.
Don’t give too much or too little information.
Be consistent, define each action with the same verb. It is okay to use the same verb multiple times.
Number each step; you can use a two-level numbering system (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.). Do not use letters (a, b, c etc.) or Roman numbers (I, II, III, etc.).
You must include visual elements, and they must be created by you (whether it’s a photo or a graphic). I will not accept any submissions with images from the Internet.
Each step requires an image. Images should be bright, clear, and captioned.
Each image should correspond to its step.
Images should not overwhelm the document; written instructions should be the focus of the document.
Show the readers what the end product looks like either at the end or at the start of the document.
Conclusion with a feedback statement
“A conclusion ties the process up neatly; offers troubleshooting information (i.e. what to do if something went wrong); includes your contact information.”
Any relevant back matter
List of references, a glossary or appendix, an index, or technical specifications if applicable. For more information on Technical Communication check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_communication
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