3110 Technical Writing
Professor First Year Teacher
Office Hours MW 10-11 am, or by appointment
Phone 404 651-2900
Class MW 1-2:15 pm, 303CS
This syllabus is provisional; deviations may be necessary.
Course Goals English 3110 aims to introduce you to the world of technical writing and will help you develop the skills you will need to write scientific and technical documents successfully. The course will introduce you to the rhetorical principles and compositional practices necessary for writing effective and professional communications, such as reports, instructions, and documentation,including the ability to:
write to multiple readers for various purposes
use computer technology to develop technical documents
develop ethical and responsible writing strategies
advocate user needs for documents
plan and manage short- and long-term writing projects
design and implement appropriate research strategies
follow and adjust technical writing conventions
develop effective scientific and technical style and tone
Course Format Given the nature of a technical writer's work, the course will involve both individual and collaborative assignments. You will be expected to apply the principles learned in class to your knowledge of your own field of study and/or work. The course will
involve a variety of class periods when you will have the freedom and responsibility to complete tasks at your own discretion.
Required Texts Professional Writing Online <www.ablongman.com/pwo> This is
an online text that you must purchase in the bookstore. I apologize for the cost. DO NOT PRINT THE ETEXT IN THE CLASSROOM!
Writing a Professional Life Savage and Sullivan, Allyn & Bacon
Class Materials You will need the following materials for this class:
1. Two 3.5" high-density disks, formatted for IBM-compatible
2. An e-mail account (can be from GSU or a commercial/work
provider; we will use this for e-mail correspondence
and Web pages, so the account must be set up to do both)
Assignments E-mail Responses to Writing a Life 10% (Individual. This is an easy A!)
Analysis of Writing Practices 25% (Individual)
Software Learning Initiative 35 % (Individual )
Deus, Inc. 30 % (Group)
Grading Assignments will be graded on the standard letter scale of A, B, C,D, F. During the course of the semester, I will also use pluses and minuses to give you a clearer picture of where your grade stands in the range possible for that letter. I will use the "A" and "B" grades to distinguish professional quality work. These documents are those which meet the audience's needs and are of a quality that could be handed out in a workplace setting.
Grades will be based on the general criteria below and on the specific criteria discussed in class for each assignment. These criteria and our discussions in class are your best guides to whatI expect from an assignment.
How effectively does the document accomplish its intended task?
(This may include meeting reader's needs, meeting organizational goals, providing a sound rationale and thorough treatment of the topic, and providing useful and accurate information.)
How well constructed is the document?
(This refers to orderly and coherent presentation of material, effective design and formatting, appropriate use of visuals, and professional style and tone.)
How effectively was the document produced?
(This relates to the quality of planning, collaboration, research, drafting, editing, and proofreading.)
For each project, you will turn in a portfolio of work, including all drafts, copies of e-mail correspondence, a final version, and an assessment memo explaining the document purpose/ task, the construction of the document, and its production. For group projects, you will also complete a group evaluation, assessing your own contribution to the project and that of your group members. Group projects will typically be given one grade, but individual group participation will be factored into the grade of each member. Therefore, I reserve the right to give different grades to individuals based on poor and/or disruptive performance.
Late assignments will be downgraded one letter per business day late, unless prior arrangements have been for a late turn-in. You cannot come to class and expect to have a later due date at the last minute without some penalty. Last minute emergencies, such as printing or disc problems, are not acceptable reasons for late work. You should always plan in enough time to proofread work, as well as have it printed (if it is a print document).
If you miss more than three classes during the term, your
final grade will be dropped a letter grade for lack of participation and professionalism.
Being late for class or leaving early is also unprofessional conduct and counts
as an absence.
Attendance Class attendance is required. You are expected to be in class on time and to be ready to work when you arrive. This is not only what is expected of you by the university but also the standard in the workplace. We will often work on projects and in groups
during the term and there is no substitute for your presence in class.
Absences covered by university policy are, of course, allowed. And emergencies happen. If you know you will not be able to make it to class, call or e-mail me as soon as possible. We can then arrange for you to make up missed work. You are responsible for contacting your group in the event of an absence to make arrangements to do your share of the group's work.
Documents You are expected to produce high-quality professional
A part of that quality is the appearance of your work. Your assignments should be printed at least in a minimum standard of 300 dpi. Laser printing is recommended. Your documents should have appropriate margins, spacing, and formatting for the type of document you are turning in. There should be no obvious last- minute changes to the work (i.e. use of white out or hand written information).
This schedule is highly tentative and very flexible. Due dates will be determined as projects progress. Be prepared for unexpected deadlines!!!
Week 1 In PWO Resources read "How to Use PWO"
In PWO Principles/ Overview "Terminology" read
"What is Professional Writing"
Week 2 Read Part I in Writing a Life
E-mail questions and responses
Week 3-4 Analysis of Writing Practices
Week 5 Read Part II in Writing a Life
E-mail questions and responses
Week 6-9 Software Learning Initiative (Will do usability testing)
Week 10-14 In PWO- Principles Read "Collaboration &
Writing in Teams"
Week 15 Read Part III in Writing a Life
E-mail questions and responses