Lesson 1

Writing for Engineers
English 210.07 Section L
Instructor: Andrew Lucchesi

a. Priming the Pump: Freewriting

Prompt: How are you feeling today? Is there anything about the start of this semester that has you excited? Anxious?


  • Keep writing the whole time
  • Don’t worry about correctness, mechanics or sounding smart—it’s still early …
  • You will not be asked to share what you write if you don't want to

b. Freewriting Game: Simile and Surprise


  • Rules 1 and 2 the same
  • You will be asked to share some of what you write with your peers
  • Experiment, have fun, be silly

Freewriting Prompt:

Write two similes (comparisons between two elements using “like” or “as”):

X thing is like Y thing
“my heart is like a soggy rose”
“I am as cool as a cucumber”

  1. Describe your best piece of writing in terms of a building or structure
  2. Describe your voice as a writer in terms of a person, real, fictional or historical.

EXT: When you finish with both similes, choose one to explain further in freewriting

Time to completion: 8 - 10 minutes

c. (Temporary) Cohort Sharing and Work Session: Introductions

1. Share and Compare:

  • What similarities and differences did you notice among your freewrites?
  • What surprised you about this activity or what you produced?

2. Collaborative Composing:

  • Go to this google doc and find the page devoted to your group number: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zHeXtygy1kV7gZL88RX8oxRhZELqkE1hyCHgqGWjylw/edit
  • As a team, compose a paragraph of 3 or 4 sentences that explains what charactarizes your group:
    • See if you can draw out some of the unique skills, experiences, and interests that make your group unique.
    • Perhaps you want a sentence or two about what similarities unite you, as well as a sentence or two about what makes you different from one another.
    • Please also pick a team color

Time to completion: 15 - 20 minutes

d. Thumbnail Sketch of the Course

1. What to expect from class time

2. What to expect from the writing assignments

  • Preliminary descriptions on Course Overview and Policies page

3. What to expect from me

  • Process writing and writing studies
  • One-on-one conferences required and by request

4. What I expect from you

  • Buy the book: Technical Writing for CCNY Pearson Custom Library (ONLY available in the bookstore)
  • Check you e-mail daily

e. Letter to Andrew

By way of an introduction, please write me a brief letter telling me about yourself as a writer and your thoughts about what you read in the syllabus for this class. Some considerations you might address:

  • What are your habits as a reader? Do you like to read, and if so, what do you like reading? Where do you do your reading? When? Has this changed, that you're aware of?
  • What are your strengths as a writer or a scholar? What assets do you bring to the class that might help you or your classmates?
  • What are your hopes or goals for this class? From looking at the syllabus, what has you hopeful or excited?
  • What challenges do you think you'll face in this class? From looking at the syllabus, what has you worried?
  • What, if anything, surprised you in the syllabus or our first class session?

Don't feel that you have to answer every single one of these questions, and especially don't feel you have to answer them in order. Similarly, don't feel your letter must be limited to only those questions covered in the bullet points. To help me better understand your experience with writing, you might also consider telling a story or two about particular experience with reading or writing. Stories make great introductions.

Please e-mail your letter to me at moc.liamg|isehccul.j.a#moc.liamg|isehccul.j.a

e. For Next Time


  • Please bring in a piece of writing you composed at some point in the past that you feel exemplifies something important about yourself as a writer: it should be evidence of your strengths, weaknesses, obsessions, pleasures, quirks, etc.
    • One printed copy, please
  • compose letter to Andrew and e-mail to him
  • Read, sign, and initial your grading contract and bring it in next time
  • Buy the textbook from the bookstore
  • Explore the wiki, watch the video tutorials, and start on your profile


Preview of next time

Next class I will be demonstrating some of the work spaces you'll be using on the course wiki and walking you through the finer points of the grading contract and assignment progressions. We will also be doing some in-class writing about the overall theme of writing in engineering. The piece of writing you bring in to discuss will be the starting point for your composing, so please bring a printed copy to class.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License