Collaborative, Vintage Computing Writing Project for ENG 1133 Specialized Communication for Technology Students at City Tech

R to L: Commodore 64, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, and Atari 800.
R to L: Commodore 64, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, and Atari 800.

In ENG 1133 Specialized Communication for Technology Students at City Tech this semester, I am rolling out a new major project focusing on creating documents based on a specific vintage computer. This project is an offshoot of my archival retrocomputing research (latest update here).

As in my other technical communication-based classes, I prefer students have an opportunity to learn how to write certain kinds of technical and business documents in a collaborative setting. They obtain the double benefit of learning the document genre and conventions while also negotiating collaborative writing practices that they will encounter in the workplace.

For this project, in teams of 4-5 students, they will create agendas, minutes, a research report, a bid/proposal, single-sourced documents (tri-fold brochure and owner’s manual), a document testing report, and a presentation. The documents that each team creates will be based on what they learn about a specific vintage computer. I assigned teams to one of four vintage computers that I obtained from Stan Kaplan at City Tech: Commodore 64, Radio Shack TRS-80, Atari 800, and Texas Instruments TI-99/4A (using a double integer sequence from in front of the class). A copy of the assignment can be downloaded here: ellis-jason-eng1133-project2-2015-fall, and the class syllabus can be downloaded here: ellis-jason-eng1133-syllabus-2015-fall.

In addition to using library resources, students are encouraged to use’s vast retrocomputing resources, holdings, and interactive features.

I am looking forward to learning from my students’ research and seeing their documents emerge from their collaborations.

Published by

Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.