Master Course Description

No: EE 393

Title: Advanced Technical Writing in Electrical Engineering

Credits: 4

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Alex Mamishev, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Goals: 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.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation to construct fluid sentences
  2. Effectively communicate complex ideas using clear, precise, and concise language
  3. Prepare and publish both formal and informal technical documents
  4. Offer quality feedback on presentations, word choice, grammatical syntax, and content
  5. Present conference papers to formal and informal audiences
  6. Use common writing software effectively

Textbook: Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Writing
Alexander Mamishev and Sean Williams, Technical Writing for Teams: The STREAM Tools Handbook

Reference Texts: IEEE Editorial Style Manual, IEEE Article Template and Instructions, Dave Patterson's Writing Advice, How to Avoid the Reviewer's Axe by Stephen Senturia, EndNote Instructional Videos

Prerequisites by Topic: Fundamentals of technical writing

Topics: 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.

Course Structure: three one-hour lectures and a two hour TA session per week.

Computer Resources: All work can be completed on any personal computer.

Laboratory Resources: None

Grading: 25% homework, 20% quizzes, 30% course exams and 25% final paper.

Outcome Coverage:

(g) An ability to communicate effectively. This course is the culmination of an EE major's coursework in written and oral communications, preparing them to complete material required in their capstone coursework and as a professional engineer. (H)

Prepared By: Alex Mamishev

Last revised: 5/03/2013