Technical Manual Using Criteria Involving Environment, Veterinary, Or Equine.

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Assignment Prompt:

Create a technical or instruction manual that has a minimum of 15 steps and which guides a user towards performing a “technical” task. (See below for detailed instructions.)

Assignment Outcomes: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the function of a Manual and be able to construct a functional Manual. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess the document from a reader’s/user’s perspective and anticipate how the reader/user will interact with the document. 
  • Utilize the principles of technical writing in the composition of a concise and effective document. 

Guidelines: 

  • Your Manual must have a total of fifteen (15) distinct steps.
  • Your Manual must guide users toward performing a “technical” task.
  • The complete Manual is due by the end of the day on Sunday, Mar 5.

Detailed Instructions:

When one thinks of “technical writing,” one of the first things that come to mind is a manual. This is probably because one of the most “technical” readings that most individuals do is with a manual. It is with this in mind that we approach our next project.

For this assignment, you will be composing a manual that has a minimum of 15 steps. It can be a manual that has at least 15 distinct steps or two or more related processes that has 15 or more cumulative steps. In choosing your subject, consider those that are closely related to your major or potential career first. If you feel that you are having a difficult time coming up with something in these areas, the manual can be on a process related to a hobby or an activity that is of personal interest.

Your manual does not necessarily have to be technology-related, but it should be “technical” in a sense that the activity needs a manual to complete. However, avoid the following:

  • building your own computer,
  • coding or programming,
  • changing engine oil or a flat tire,
  • recipes.

Everything else is fair game.

It is not an easy task instructing someone to perform a process that they are not familiar with. As the author of this manual, you must put yourself in the position of your reader and make sure that your directions are clear, concise, and accurate. You must anticipate what your readers will know or not know, what areas of the process they may have difficulty with, and which format/layout will work best to convey your instructions. This includes deciding whether you want to compose a User Manual, a Tutorial, a Training Manual, an Operator’s Manual, or a Service Manual. (Or some unholy amalgamation of two or more of these.)

Make sure that your manual is clear; your mood, voice, and tense are important in this regard. The purpose of the manual must be explicit as well. Likewise, your layout must be clean and properly organized. If your manual consists of multiple interrelated processes, you must have appropriate headings to indicate and separate each process from the other(s). Be careful to anticipate later steps, not to mention warning your readers if/when a warning is warranted. Finally, if you are including illustrations/photographs, make sure that these are original works, in the public domain, or Creative Commons so that you avoid any copyright infringements; just like your instructions, your visual aid must be original as well.

It goes without saying that you must read the “Manuals” entry in The Handbook. Make sure to pay attention to the bold & underlined concepts in this entry as well and read the corresponding entries, especially “Instructions” and “Process Explanation”. The more you understand the subtleties of this project, the easier it will be when you sit down to put it together. Be sure to also read the entry for “Usability Testing” closely once you have a complete working draft so that you can test out the feasibility and clarity of your instructions.

Grading Criteria:

Your Manual will be graded on the following criteria:

Assignments receiving 75-68 Points will do the following:

  • You have a complete, original manual with a minimum of 15 individual and distinct steps.
  • The instructions are easy to read/follow and make sense progressively.
  • The manual can be followed without prior knowledge of the topic.
  • Each step is appropriate and necessary.
  • The mood, voice, and tense are proper for the document.
  • There are only a couple of spelling or grammatical errors, if at all.

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