TWC5/421: Principles of Writing with Technology
Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus
Fall 2008

MWTC Course & Program Objectives

The MWTC Program integrates the outcomes from its core curriculum and encourages you to make similar connections as you move through the four required core courses:

TWC401 Principles of Technical Communication
TWC411 Visual Communication
TWC421 Principles of Writing with Technology
TWC431 Principles of Technical Editing

The benefits of paying attention to the integration of outcomes for the courses are at least two-fold: first, what you’re learning will be more meaningful, because it’s in some context, and will probably make more sense. For example, in Principles of Writing with Technology, we focus on the historical and social effects of technology on writing, with emphasis on multimedia design, computer-mediated communication, and hypertext.

But we can’t do any of that without acknowledging — and in some cases, actively exploring — relationships between communication-and-design technologies and technical communication (content management and audience analysis, for example), visual communication (new-media composing and cognition), and editing (logistical coherence and page/screen layout).

Another productive reason for paying attention to the integration between courses is that it’ll pay off for you when you design, deliver, and present your MWTC Capstone Portfolio. Since one of the criteria for a “superior” portfolio is that it “demonstrates substantial depth and complexity of thought; analyzes and integrates a variety of information to accomplish a specific purpose,” it seems to me that you can begin to document that superior analysis and integration by connecting the dots now, as you move through the courses.

I’ve bolded sections of the MWTC outcomes, below, that we will emphasize in TWC5/421:

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Identify, articulate, and focus on a defined purpose
  • Respond to the need of the appropriate audience
  • Respond appropriately to different rhetorical situations
  • Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation
  • Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
  • Understand how each genre helps to shape the writing and how readers respond to it
  • Write in multiple genres
  • Understand the role of a variety of technologies/media in accessing, retrieving, and communicating information
  • Select and use appropriate technologies to organize, present, and communicate information to address a range of audiences, purposes, and genres

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

  • Use information, writing, and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
  • Understand that research, like writing, is a series of tasks, including accessing, retrieving, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate information from sources that vary in content, format, structure, and scope
  • Understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power including social, cultural, historical, and economic issues related to information, writing, and technology
  • Recognize, understand, and analyze the context within which language, information, and knowledge are produced, managed, organized, and disseminated
  • Integrate previously held beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge with new information and the ideas of others to accomplish a specific purpose within a context


  • Be aware that it usually takes multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text
  • Develop research strategies appropriate to the context and situation
  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proof-reading
  • Understand research and writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work
  • Understand the collaborative and social aspects of research and writing processes
  • Learn to critique their own and others’ works
  • Learn to balance the advantages of relying on others with the responsibility of doing their part
  • Use appropriate technologies to manage information collected or generated for future use

Knowledge of Conventions

  • Learn common formats for different genres
  • Learn standard tools for accessing and retrieving information
  • Learn and apply appropriate standards, laws, policies, and accepted practices for the use of a information and communication technologies
  • Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics
  • Apply appropriate means of documenting their work
  • Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Understand and apply legal and ethical uses of information and technology including copyright and intellectual property