De Anza College
Technical Writing



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Last updated
May 2005




The Technical Writing (TWRT) program at De Anza offers challenging courses taught by industry professionals. Core courses are offered during evenings to accommodate working students; some courses may even be taken as online classes. Students may earn credits toward a certificate or associates degree, or take individual courses for professional enrichment.

A.A. Degree - Technical Writing
       Prerequisite: English 1A or equivalent        

     Degree Requirements

Note: EWRT 1A with Technical Writing Emphasis

    Students entering De Anza college can explore technical writing by fulfilling their General Education requirement in English with a special section of English Writing 1A that is taught with an emphasis on technical writing. This class is also a good choice to fulfill the English prerequisite for the Technical Writing certificate or degree programs. Check De Anza's online, searchable class schedule for availability of this EWRT 1A section.

Course Descriptions

Course Number Course Title Units Required
61 Introduction to Technical Writing 4 Y
62 Survey of Technical Writing 4 Y
63 Technical Publications 4 Y
64 Technical Writing Seminar 4 Y
66 x,y,z Special Topics in Technical Writing 1-4* N
67 Writing for Publications 4 N
70 x, y, z Special Projects in Technical Writing 1-4* N
71 Writing and Designing Online Documentation 2 N
TBD Grant Writing (class is being developed) 4 N

TWRT 61 Introduction to Technical Writing (4 units)
       Prerequisites: English 1A or ESL 5
       Four hours lecture
       (Also listed as BUS 61 and EWRT 61. Students may
       enroll in only one department for credit.)

TWRT 61 introduces technical writing techniques, conventions, and standards. Students produce a portfolio of short documents including their resume and a cover letter, a functional description, and instructions for a procedure. They develop skills in functional, descriptive, and process writing, as well as designing documents, using tables and lists, and editing accurately.

Students engage in these activities:

  • Exploring the World Wide Web to discover technical writing resources
  • Marketing their strengths with a resume and cover letter
  • Identifying topics, audiences, and purposes for writing
  • Outlining, designing, and writing short documents
  • Using Styles in MS Word to create documents and templates
  • Compiling a portfolio of professional quality writing samples suitable for presenting at job interviews

    This course is offered on campus and online.

    TWRT 62 Survey of Technical Writing (4 units)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 61 (may be taken concurrently)
           Four hours lecture
           (Also listed as BUS 62 and EWRT 62. Students may
           enroll in only one department for credit.)

    TWRT 62 focuses on many types of writing assignments faced in the technical and business world. Program planning and project management skills are emphasized as students work individually and in groups on a variety of increasingly complex assignments in short formats. Projects are drawn from case studies simulating real world assignments in a variety of industries. Students practice their skills by writing the following types of documents:

  • Technical correspondence
  • Analytical reports
  • Proposals
  • Project plans and schedules
  • Progress reports
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Empirical research reports

    These projects allow students to add more writing samples to the professional technical writing portfolios they created in TWRT 61.

    This course is offered on campus and online.

    TWRT 63 Technical Publications(4 units)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 61
           Four hours lecture
           (Also listed as BUS 63 and EWRT 63. Students may
           enroll in only one department for credit.)

    TWRT 63 hones students' planning, designing, writing, and editing skills. Students learn the document development cycle "on the job" as each student plans and produces a camera-ready technical manual of portfolio quality. They also improve their writing skills through in-depth study of writing mechanics and style, and they develop their graphics skills through study and application of graphic design principles.

    Each student acts as a subject matter expert on one project and the writer on another project. Participating in both roles, students experience both sides of interviewing subject matter experts and editing for content and copy. Each student produces all the documents of a complete document development cycle including:

  • Project proposal
  • Functional specification
  • Document blueprint
  • Review drafts
  • Final, camera-ready artwork and prototype

    Students are responsible for producing professional quality, printed and bound prototypes of their finished manuals. (Many students choose to perform the printing and binding themselves, learning skills which may come in handy later in their careers when deadlines loom.) These manuals make particularly impressive additions to the professional technical writing portfolios students began compiling in TWRT 61 and TWRT 62.

    TWRT 64 Technical Writing Seminar (4 units)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 62 or TWRT 63
           Four hours lecture
           (Also listed as BUS 64 and EWRT 64. Students may
           enroll in only one department for credit.)

    TWRT 64 focuses on applying skills learned throughout the program to plan and execute a complete, real-world technical writing project in a team environment. Projects may be drawn from the needs of other departments on campus, special projects requested by nonprofit groups, or tasks related to the students' chosen fields. Deliverables may include equipment manuals, user guides, Web sites, newsletters, online documentation, and other forms of technical writing. Students also apply their organizational and analytical skills to read and critique technical articles and write a non-fiction article for publication.

    TWRT 64 students add writing samples from their class projects to the professional technical writing portfolios they compiled throughout the program.

    TWRT 66 Special Topics in Technical Writing (1 unit)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 61
           One hour lecture for each unit of credit

    TWRT 66 offers the opportunity to focus upon a specific area of technical writing. Subjects may include:

  • Technical editing
  • Designing and writing company-specific style manuals
  • Document planning and scheduling
  • Writing computer hardware and software documentation
  • Technical indexing
  • Writing for an international audience

    Current offerings may be found in De Anza's online, searchable class schedule.

    TWRT 67 Writing for Publication (4 units)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 61
           Distance learning course

    TWRT 67 focuses on the skills needed to produce publishable articles. Topics include:

  • Interviewing subject specialists
  • Developing, marketing, and writing articles for magazines

    Students expand research skills using both online and traditional resources. Activities include:

  • Setting goals for writing
  • Exploring non-fiction genres
  • Identifying key terms
  • Finding ideas for writing
  • Slanting articles
  • Targeting markets
  • Gathering information
  • Organizing, writing and revising articles
  • Cultivating a style for writing
  • Preparing query letters
  • Creating a writing notebook

    TWRT 70 Special Projects in Technical Writing (1-4 units)
           Prerequisites: TWRT 61

    TWRT 70 focuses on special research, writing, or study projects in Technical Writing as determined in consultation with the Department Chair.

    Examples of special projects include:

  • Analyzing industry skills required for technical writing in Silicon Valley

  • Creating a manual describing careers in medical and pharmaceutical writing

  • Developing and marketing a manual presenting placement agency information for technical writers

  • Planning and creating style manuals for department publications including newsletters and monographs

  • TWRT 71 Writing and Designing Online Documentation (2 units)
           Advisory: TWRT 61
           Two hours lecture

    TWRT 71 explores the differences between online and traditional paper-based documentation. Students plan, develop, and implement an online documentation project using skills they learn in the areas of:

  • Writing for online delivery
  • Designing pages for online delivery
  • Using various state-of-the-art tools and technologies to develop and deliver documents online

  • TWRT __ Grant Writing
           Advisory: TWRT 61
           Two hours lecture
           Note: This class is currently being developed

    This class is an introduction to writing grant applications, focusing on format, appropriate vocabulary, convincing language, and editing. Each class meeting concentrates on a different component of the application and guides students through the process of writing their own grants, as well as teaching the necessary skills for students who want to pursue careers as grant writers.

    Students engage in the following activities:

  • Identifying common elements of grants
  • Understanding basic principles of grant writing
  • Researching appropriate information for grant proposals, including:
           • Funding sources
           • Areas of interest
           • Supporting literature
  • Developing preliminary project profiles in their areas of interest
  • Tailoring goals, language, and documentation to the target audience
  • Improving writing skills for syntax, word usage, organization, etc.
  • Writing a complete grant application aimed at a specific organization

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    De Anza College
     21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
     Cupertino, CA 95014
     (408) 864-5678