Dear future me,
This site is a reminder of my journey in ENGL 120 class and what projects have I done.
I moved to the US three years ago, and English is not my primary language. English class has always been a challenge for me. When I took this class I was scared that we will read boring literature and write essays based on it. But I was shocked how interesting and helpful this class turned to be. I knew that engineering writing will be very important in my future career as a computer scientist or a software developer, but I had no clue that it is based on rhetorical elements and proper audience analysis. There were four major projects in this class (memo, technical description, lab report, technical proposal) and there is a high chance that every project is a work that I will do in the future. I am glad that I have learned how to compose those papers in this class, because where else I would do that.
Due to the global pandemic (covid-19) Engl 120 class was fully online. It had cons and pros. I like working and studying from home, because I do not need to spend two hours per day on my way to college and I have a comfortable set-up at home. On the other hand, this class required a lot of group works, and it is very hard to work together on one document when we are miles away from each other. But thanks to such programs as Discord and Google Docs we managed to go through. Also, a very big thank you to my group who attended all of our meetings and were helping each other.
As I mentioned above, there were four different projects, the first one was memo. Our group have chosen a topic of a bad internet on campus, because it is very relevant to our studying. After that we have found the correct audience, and then I composed the memo. Memo is the most popular formal way of communication in the IT world, so I am happy that I learned how to write it.
Technical description was the second assignment. I have decided to write about Scanditech Precision Screwdriver Set, because I have been using it for a while and it was working great for me. First of all I made a research about this toolkit and the history of the Scanditech company. After that I described this toolkit in details. My favorite part of this assignment was the “How to use” section. If I remember correctly, this tool kit comes without any instructions, it could be hard to understand how to use it properly and in the most efficient way, so it was good to write about it. The most important thing I have learned from this assignment is how to properly cite pictures and quotes in the APA format.
The third project was lab report. This assignment was significantly larger. Our group decided to do the lab about buses in the New York City. We made a huge research to find out that some of the buses are not that efficient as they could be. After that we have found our audience, Craig Cipriano, who is the Interim President of New York City Transit. Then I wrote the lab report, where described the problem, presented results and explained them. The important thing I learned from this project is how to make a proper research and find the audience. Research is very important, because it increases credibility and shows that author have studied the subject and has valuable thoughts.
The last and the biggest project was technical proposal and its presentation. This was a group project and it included every genre we studied before, except lab report. Our group decided to make a fire detection system and to place it in the Topanga state park, because of its wildfires history. Most of the time we have spent on our research about wildfires and its detection. Then, because we are the group of electrical engineers and computer scientists we decided to use cameras, drones and AI software which will detect the wildfires from the photos and videos. After that, we made an introduction where we discussed why our system is needed and worth it. Then we wrote a technical approach where in details stated our realization plan and how our system will work. Finally we discussed how are we going to measure the success of our system. After all this work was done we made a presentation where we briefly summarize our proposal and presented it to the class. Besides that there were lots of small tasks such as job postings, budget for this project, memo to our audience and so on. This was a hard assignment for me, it took a lot of time and effort, but I am happy with the result. The most important knowledge I received from this assignment is how to work in group.
All of My projects are based on the rhetorical elements, which we discussed in class, such as: audience, genre, purpose, exigence, stance, and design. All of those elements dictate the paper. Those elements are also depend on each other. For example if the design of your project is an oral presentation, then your audience will only be people who came to this presentation. But if you post your project online, the audience will be bigger, because now people can resend the link for the project and more people will have an opportunity to see it.
For me the most important element is the audience. Audience analysis was the start of every project I made in this course. It is very important to understand who are you writing to. And it is important not just in the engineering field, but in the normal life as well. For example, the same message sent to your best friend and to your professor will be written differently. The content and purpose of the text strongly depend on the audience. The better author understands his audience, the better audience will understand his project.
This class and projects have significantly improved my writing skills overall, and especially in engineering. I have learned a lot of things which I will definitely use in my future career and they will help me to become a successful man.