Proposal
ESL Certificate in Technical Communication via Asynchronous Learning

Ted Knoy
Associate Researcher
Planning and Marketing Division
Union Chemical Laboratories

Instructor of Technical Writing
National Tsing Hua University
National Chiao Tung University

1. Description:
The ESL Certificate in Technical Communication consists of eight courses delivered by asynchronous learning that provide Chinese technology professionals with the opportunity to build a writing portfolio that demonstrates their strengths and abilities. The Certificate program introduces students to the high-growth technical communication field by helping them clearly explain complex technical information in written form. In particular, the ESL Certificate in Technical Communication Certificate focuses on the following areas: (a) Writing style. Archaic ways of writing (often resulting from literally copying phrases from other texts) must be transformed into a more active and direct writing style that makes the author's main ideas easier to identify; (b) Structure and content. Organizing research papers and other technical reports is another important area in technical communication; and (c) Quality. Manuscripts must be prepared to meet the expectations of an international audience such as journal editors and reviewers.

2. Rationale
An increasing number of Chinese technology professionals are writing technical articles in English, as evidenced by the growing number of engineering and science colleges in Chinese speaking universities that require doctoral and even master candidates to publish in international journals. However, limited resources are available for helping Chinese technical writers proofread, edit and prepare their manuscripts for publication. Moreover, in addition to grammatical and writing style errors, Chinese-English colloquial habits often prevent Chinese authors from concisely expressing their intended meaning. Moreover, despite the increasing number of technical writing programs that cater to the needs of non-native English speaking writers, their materials and services rarely pinpoint the language-related stumbling blocks that Chinese technology professionals face when writing. To effectively respond to such needs, the ESL Certificate in Technical Communication helps students learn to link technology and science to the information consumer.

3. Process
The ESL Certificate in Technical Communication will be delivered via asynchronous learning. This allows each student to participate during his or her own schedule of days and hours. Course objectives, details of class assignments and a video feedback are placed on-line. A mailing list will be distributed by email to all students so that they can query each other and share findings and ideas with each other. The instructor will correct the completed assignments and provide personal feedback to each student.

The program consists of eight courses, all to be completed on-line. However, the instructor will be available for face-to-face consultation upon appointment. The following courses are required to earn the certificate.

CTC 2101 Editing for Science and Technology

Course Description:
This course focuses on developing copy editing skills in a technical manuscript in terms of (a) translation errors made from Chinese to English and (b) general writing style errors.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Use proofreading marks when editing with a pen
(b) Edit technical documents using a computer
(c) Identify wordy phrases
(d) Incorporate conciseness and clarity into one's writing style
(e) Understand Chinese-English colloquial habits in technical writing

Intended Audience:
This course is designed for anyone who is developing or revising documentation and needs to know how to write more concisely.

CTC 2102 Writing Technical Correspondence
Course Description:
This course introduces common types of technical correspondence and orients students on using a software template to create a correspondence file that meets their specific situations.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Identify common types of technical correspondence in the workplace
(b) Create a tailor-made correspondence file based on the student's writing needs
(c) Identify the reader's interests before writing to make the letter more effective

Intended Audience:
This course is designed for technology professionals who frequently correspond with overseas information consumers.

CTC 2103 Organizing Technical Research Papers and Reports

Course Description:
This course concentrates mainly on teaching Chinese technology professionals how to
combine the writing and research processes so that the paper is written efficiently and with a clear structure.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Organize and write research papers or technical reports in a time-efficient manner.
(b) Identify the reader's interests so that the paper is more user friendly

Intended Audience:
The course is designed for technology professionals who need to publish their research findings or write technical reports.


CTC 2104 Organizing Technical Oral Presentations

Course Description:
This course focuses on improving the presentation skills of Chinese technology professionals by creating several writing and oral tasks frequently encountered in the workplace.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Identify common types of technical oral presentations
(b) Create a personal language file of oral presentations that meets the specific situations of the technology professional
(c) Create a personal language file of circumstances in which the technology professional commonly encounters an overseas information consumer.

Intended Audience:
The course is designed for technology professionals who must frequently make technical oral presentations and want to take a more organizational approach to giving a talk rather than an impromptu one.

CTC 2105 Developing Negotiating Skills

Course Description:
This course orients students on how to methodologically approach negotiations of a technologically oriented agreement.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Identify the following steps in a negotiation: preparing the ground, setting the agenda, establishing positions, clarifying positions, managing conflict, making and responding to proposals, bargaining, and conclusion and agreement
(b) Address different cross-cultural issues in negotiating.

Intended Audience:
The course is designed for technology professionals who must negotiate with overseas information consumers.

CTC 2106 Writing in the Workplace
Course Description:
This course concentrates on teaching basic principles of technical writing and helping students create a portfolio of related work assignments.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Complete descriptive, classification and definition assignments
(b) Write descriptions of objects, mechanisms and processes
(c) Identify and write for the reader's interests

Intended Audience:
The course is designed for anyone who wishes to enter the field of technical writing.

CTC 2107 Technical Promotional Writing

Course Description:
This course focuses on structure and style presentation of technical promotional writing in a high-tech environment.

Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Organize promotional materials for laboratory and research developments such as technical brochures, articles, slide presentations, and video scripts.
(b) Learn how to adapt technical information to nonspecialist audiences to inform, instruct, or persuade them
(c) Properly plan a technical writing document by analyzing the purpose of a document and its audience.

Intended Audience:
This course is designed for students who wish to begin a career in technical writing as well as for students who simply wish to improve their writing skills in their present positions.

CTC 2108 Writing Successful Proposals
Course Description:
This course focuses on
Benefits:
After taking this course, students will be able to
(a) Produce a proposal based on the organization, style, and format taught in this course.
(b) Produce a recommendation report based on the organization, style, and format
taught in this course.
(d) Produce a business plan according the content, organization, style, and format requirements of this course.

Intended Audience:
This course is designed for students who wish to begin a career in technical writing as well as for students who simply wish to improve their writing skills in their present positions.

4. Staffing:
Language development coordinator.
The language development coordinator is responsible for
(a) Developing curricula for the eight courses in the ESL Certificate in Technical Writing.
(b) Orienting students on how to adapt to asynchronous learning as well as monitoring their progress, correcting their assignments and providing personal feedback.
(c) Promoting asynchronous learning as a viable alternative to traditional classroom teaching.

Technical specialist
The technical specialist is responsible for
(a) Coordinating the transference of curricula materials into HTML format and taping the video sessions


5. Evaluation:
The effectiveness of the ESL Certificate in Technical Communication will be measured by several means. Attitudinal surveys will be issued to determine the ability of students to adapt to asynchronous learning. Independent observers will also assess the content and structure of the program. Homework samples will be gathered and stored.


6. Equipment:
The ESL Certificate in Technical Communication requires technical equipment to tape video sessions for , which includes a specially designed monitor, microphone and related equipment.

7. Costs:
Costs for initially setting up the the ESL Certificate in Technical Communication will be the salaries of the language development coordinator and the technical specialist and the videotaping equipment for the classes.