ENGL393 Assignment – Instructions

Overview:

The purpose of this assignment was to practice communicating a single task effectively to two audiences of differing skill levels. The task itself had to remain the same, but the content and language were to change to reflect the level of interest and knowledge. As a mechanical engineer, I chose to document the process of performing a tensile test on a dog bone material sample. The first document is aimed at a high school student who has been recently introduced to the concept of structural loading. It focuses more on qualitative results and intuitive understanding of the process. The second document targets a PhD student who probably already knows quite a bit about the theory behind loading and wants to know how to test a material and derive general properties from the result.
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Reflections:

I found it interesting that I had more trouble designing content and phrasing for the beginner audience. I guess that’s the goal of the class though – I’ve been writing in the technical language of my major for years. Now here I had to figure out what a random person would know and be interested in.

The visual layout and text formatting was surprisingly labor intensive. I used principles from visual rhetoric including Alignment, Proximity, and Arrangement to relate instructions and graphics, and to control the speed at which a person might be expected to read through a given section.

The two major differences between the sections lay in the diction and the general content. Of those, I think the variations in word choice to describe the exact same process were the hardest to wrap my head around.

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Files:

A direct link to the document as a pdf is available here.

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