Writing is changing with the shift from print to online. Most of the text Professional Writing students and alumni will produce will need to be tailored towards both a print and online audience. Along with the broadening of mediums, using visuals to assist you in effectively communicating your message is of utmost significance. Also, it is important to know how to analyze texts and instruct employees and coworkers on how to write effectively. UAB’s English department offers classes that give students the proper instruction on how to produce texts in a way that will be most effective for today’s changing society.
Technical Writing (EH 404)
This class offers students a basic overview of technical writing. It shows students how to test the usability of a product or service and how to appropriately produce a technical document (i.e.: owner’s manual). In technical writing, it is crucial to keep in mind the user experience. This means that the text produced by the technical writer must be easy to understand. Also, this class stresses the importance of the use of images to assist in communication. Students learn how to choose images that correspond well with the text being created.
Business Writing (EH 403)
Through this class, students are allowed a glimpse into corporate communication and how companies communicate internally and externally. Students in Business Writing will learn how to adopt the proper tone to effectively communicate the message that a corporation wants to send. Robert Wynne of Forbes Magazine believes persuasion is the key to effective business writing, stating that business writers
are trying to convince the media, the public, your employees, your vendors, shareholders […] to do something. A business writer must have the ability to persuade and audience using the “voice” of the company for whom he or she is writing. In this class, students will learn to write press releases, corporate strategy statements, and company packaging material.
Tutoring Writing (EH 401)
Tutoring Writing gives students the experience of tutoring fellow UAB peers in writing. This may seem unrelated to many professional writing careers; however, in the business world, writing is a skill that many employees do not possess. According to Mel Eatherington,
a third of all workers fall short of employers’ expectations in written communication skills, which can cost their employers
big bucks each year. At times, corporations will require that their professional writer have the ability to teach other employers how to effectively communicate through writing workshops or on a case-by-case basis.
The literature classes that Professional Writing student are required to take are there for a reason. It is unlikely that Professional Writing students chose the concentration in an attempt to become novelists, but literature classes provide students with experience in dissecting texts in an attempt to discover the themes, messages, and ideas of the text. Literature classes allow professional writers to hone their critical thinking skills and learn how to analyze texts. These literature classes will serve as practice taking texts apart and examining their purposes in the professional world.