The topic that has been most useful to me this semester, and will likely be the most useful to me for the rest of my life were the topics requiring us to write memos about different circumstances or proposals. Before this class I only had a vague idea about what memos even were, and never had to read much less write one. I’ve also never done any sort of real technical research before this class, so all of the assignments having us look up and present information in a clear and meaningful way has given me a foundation of how to do this well in the real world.
Outside of my civil classes, no class has been as useful as this class in preparing me for working in a professional environment. I learned how to work with contractors and my superiors while on my co-ops, but they never showed me how to communicate outside of talking. Without this class I feel I’d be struggling a bit when I get my first real job, so I’m glad I had to take it.
Throughout this course I have learned a great deal on how to portray information to other people. More specifically a target audience. They way that technical writers organize, layout, and display their information is critical and learning their techniques has helped me out greatly during this fall semester. My organization skills when writing documents is on point and I am able to convey my ideas properly.
However, from all of these lessons my favorite skill that I picked up was the ability to create a good infographic. I feel that in the Civil Engineering field, creating a good infographic might come in handy. whether it be to display information at a job site or give workers a general idea of the construction layout and plans. Creating an infographic for this class was easily the best assignment we had to do. Getting creative but still portraying vital information is a great skill to have.
While this class may have been the most entertaining course I have taken all year, I have also learned from it. From organization to paper airplanes, this class has taught me a great deal about the communication industry and how it can pertain to the Civil Engineering Technology field.
Coming into this class, I didn’t necessarily have the best organizational skills when writing official documents nor did I know where to begin with organizing them. Because of our assignments, I feel that I have taken away a good understanding of how to properly and efficiently organize a document.
Another one of my favorite things to have taken away from this class is learning how to properly write a memorandum. I have always wanted to write a memo just to feel official, almost as much as I have always wanted to write passive-aggressive post it notes. And now I can! Really though, since my focus is most likely going to be in construction project management it will be a good thing to know. Communication is key, and the better I can effectively relay information to everybody working on a design/build the easier my life will be.
There’s a bunch of stuff I’ve learned from this course, and while at first I was skeptical about it I definitely don’t regret taking it.
Over the course of the semester we have covered many topics that are beneficial to understanding the process behind creating technical documents. I think the topic that has been most useful for my work at this present time as well as for future would be from Chapter 7 of the textbook. The Chapter is titled “Designing Documents and Web Sites” and provides us with information on what we should think about while creating useful documents. This information would be used alongside with the information that has been repeatedly stated throughout the textbook; analyze your audience, consider multicultural readers, consider your purpose, and determine your resources.
Any career path I could choose as a Civil Engineer will require the writing of documents whether they are technical specifications, drawings, reports (geotechnical, transportation, …), or just a typical in-house document. I think the most important of the points listed above is the “analysis of your audience” because usually during the production of these documents it can be view by more than just one type of person. In my experience these documents are reviewed by colleagues, clients, contractors, the public, and more. Through my analysis of who the target audience should be it will also help me determine how I believe they will use this document. This allowing me to construct effective documents.
From the chapter I mentioned above it references creating documents and one thing I plan on doing is taking time before hand to plan out the document. I plan on thinking about how it will look (to make a good impress), if I am able to find the information that I am presenting easily (usefulness/effectiveness), is the information easily understood or written in a confusing way (allowing them to understand the information), and can I include any images, memorable graphics or tools (help the reader retain the information). Another big thing that I will consider more in the future is the specific layout of the documents I create. I now know that there are techniques that I can follow to help provoke the reader to see things in specific ways and how effective are in certain situations.
This is just one of the main topics we have covered that I have found useful and will continue to practice in the future.
by Erhard Marcus Uhmann
One of the most influential parts of effective techcomm for me is how to create an effective info graphic. For most businesses, and industries, presentations and visual representations are used to convey ideas, facts, and opinions. Learning what the eye is drawn to, and how that relates to how the information is taken in by the reader really helped be to understand what is necessary and what is not necessary when it comes to info graphics. Learning about correct techniques to implement on info graphics helped me to decipher what is ethical when creating info graphics. This meaning showing the true and honest factual information in a way that is just as effective as it would be if the truth was smudged a little. Since learning about info graphics and what it takes to create an effective one, I really have been more diligent on how I present my information. This I can take with me for years into my field of mechanical engineering.