The purpose of this course is to introduce electrical engineering undergraduate students to proper writing strategies, grammatical syntax, and appropriate word choice for formal technical writing. Most students are already familiar with the basics of writing technical papers and reports, and this course takes them to the next level. The course teaches students how to structure a formal technical paper at the level of a technical conference, satisfying all requirements of language, syntax, style, composition, and appearance. Although content undoubtedly matters, the adherence to proper grammar and standard writing styles is very important for a seasoned engineer. Poorly presented results, no matter how brilliant, usually lead to rejection from journals and conferences, failure to receive funding, low priority scoring of a project, reader confusion, and other mishaps.
In this course, students will learn to: (1) use clear, concise, and appropriate language in technical writing, (2) prepare technical documents according to stringent style requirements of engineering societies, (in the case of electrical engineers, the IEEE), (3) learn how to design effective illustrations, (4) avoid common grammatical pitfalls and use appropriate punctuation, (5) use modern software tools (currently Microsoft Office 2013 and EndNote) for technical writing, and (6) confidently present conference-level papers to an audience. In the final weeks of the course, students will explore hot topics in technical writing.
The skills and concepts covered in this course are applicable to all forms of writing, although emphasis will be placed on writing and publishing electrical engineering conference papers. Understanding how to write a quality conference paper builds an excellent foundation for journal papers, dissertations, internal corporate reports, proposals, business plans, and other documentation.