By Tim McRae and Anja Christy – Cougar News Contributors
“Beds for Cougars”. “Little Black Dress Exchange”. “Splash Camp”. No, it’s not cheesy erotica. These are some names of projects current students enrolled in English 204 are working on.
The class, Technical Report Writing, takes a slightly different approach to the standard academic load. At the beginning of the semester, each student in the class chooses a cause or program to initiate. The students spend the rest of the semester creating a portfolio of the plans and research necessary to bring the ideas to fruition.
Students take this class very seriously. Many of them actually plan on putting their events and programs into action. In the past, several students have had real success with their events. One student’s project was Pancreas Awareness Day. She fulfilled the project at a local park after the semester. Another student did a project that brought school-aged students to College of the Canyons to attend an opera.
Students this semester are eager to bring their projects to life as well. After conducting an informal poll, over 75% of students believed they could fulfill their projects within the next two years. “Beds for Cougars” is a program to match students needing housing with people who have rooms for rent. “Little Black Dress Exchange” is an idea for a service that rents elegant dresses. “Splash Camp” is a proposal for a summer camp on the water.
One student will begin his project sooner. Business owner Ivan Hernandez said, “My project is ‘H2O: Conserve & Generate.’ I am going to use this in my contracting business to bring community awareness about water conservation and offer company’s services.” The students appreciate the ability to get college credit preparing for something they would like to accomplish in their own life.
English 204 was created in 2006 by Dr. Leslie St. Martin, a screenwriter and freelance technical writer who teaches at COC. Dr. St. Martin was hired in 2000 to spearhead the technical writing department. She holds a B. A. in English and a master’s degree in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Hawaii. She said, “I wanted the course to offer something unique, an experience that every student would remember and an original project that would impact their lives and communities.”
This class is now a requirement at COC in for nursing students and is becoming a required class at colleges statewide.