The service course is an ” introductory courses for nonmajors delivered primarily as a service to other departments and programs on campus. These service courses are designed to better prepare students for the writing they will do on the job, and they are consistently a nonmajor’s only classroom interaction with TPC prior to graduation” (Meloncon & England, 2011, p. 398).
While some have tried to call the service course the “multi-major course,” (see Read & Michaud and Boetger) historically, TPC has used the service course, which is what and how I will refer to it throughout this term. Because we are providing a service to other departments and the institution as a whole. (There’s a whole big discussion that can take place around “service” and what that means and how that situates the courses, the program, and the department. We’ll likely have that conversation this term.)
Our current textbook(*pdf file that opens in a new window)
At USF we have three service courses:
- Technical Writing for the Health Sciences (ENC 2210) – for majors in the health sciences
- Communications for Engineers (ENC 3246) — for engineers
- Professional Writing (ENC 3250) — a general business and professional writing course for all other majors (a large portion of which are business majors)
These courses function completely differently from academic writing. The major learning outcomes for the service courses are to
- prepare students for the types and kinds of writing they will do on the job
To do this preparation the courses function quite differently from other writing courses (such as composition). The assignments are
- contextually focused
- project driven with multiple deliverables
- problem based
The projects are designed to simulate professional writing situations and concerns (as opposed to academic or literary concerns) and encourages students to research and apply classroom knowledge to their own writing and approaches to writing.
As an instructor, your job is a facilitator that assists students to the learning outcomes, which can be accomplished in any number of ways. Effective writing in the workplace is on a continuum and our goal is to get students to understand this continuum and produce documents that achieve their purpose. Thus, it’s all about inquiry, process, and finally productive with little prescription or specific do’s and don’t’s.
Some current assignments