COURSE SYLLABUS: ENGLISH 270
Professional Report Writing
Fall 2006 Instructor: Clay Cooper
12:30-2:40 T-TH Office: R230L
R201 Tel (425) 564-4185
Office Hours: 12:00-12:30
Mailbox: Arts & Humanities, R 230
Class website: bcc.ctc.edu/ArtsHum/studentinfo.asp
Textbook: Technical Communication (10h Edition, 2003), by John Lannon
English 270 is an “exit” course, intended for students who are within thirty (30) credits of graduating; according to the BCC Course Catalog, degree programs that require the course for graduation define it as a second year option. It is an introductory course in technical writing for students in BCC’s professional/technical programs and those who will enter technical careers after completing their four-year degrees. As a 200-level course, it is demanding in the amount of work and time required to complete it.
Students enrolling in English 270 should have completed at least three quarters of work at BCC (or equivalent) and have strong college-level reading and writing skills:
· Those who choose to take English 270 during their first year of study rather than their second, risk failing the course or receiving grades far below those of second-year students.
· Students who only marginally passed College English (English 101 or equivalent) or who have an assessed reading proficiency below college level (English 106 at BCC) should take English 270 only when they have the necessary reading skill to understand the textbook and other course materials.
The aim of this course is to show you how to report technical information clearly, completely, and persuasively.
Technical writing shares many of the same concerns of other kinds of writing, such as attention to Purpose, Audience, and Readability. It is characterized by:
1. a practical, no-nonsense approach to the writing process
2. the forms through which it is conveyed (e.g., memoranda,
instructions, proposals, informal and formal reports)
3. its arrangement and division for selective reading
4. its use of typographical page design elements
5. its use of graphics to convey information visually
This course will cover the four components of good technical writing: problem-solving/analysis, report design, informational content, and technical communication skills [written, visual, and spoken].
We will base our work in class on the eight measures of good technical writing:
· Professional Appearance
Anticipated Course Outcomes
At completion of the course, each student should be able to:
1. Understand the purpose and process of communication in business and industry.
2. Recognize and be able to analyze effective and ineffective technical communication.
3. Understand and execute the written, visual, and verbal processes of technical communication.
4. Communicate technical information in a complete, accurate, and honest form.
5. Prepare various types of technical documents [memo, instructions, proposal, progress report, data report, feasibility report] that are appropriate and effective for various audiences.
6. Balance written and visual elements of communication in technical documents.
7. Use clear, focused, specific, and grammatically correct language in technical documents.
8. Use effective strategies for collaborative work in group projects and preparation of documents.
9. Communicate technical information clearly and effectively in all class discussions, group work, and course assignments.
Your course work will include:
· Six (6) written reports in several technical formats
· A research project requiring technical data collection and analysis
· Assigned textbook reading (often covering 2 or more chapters a week)
· Class discussion
· Group work on in-class exercises, and a collaborative project
§ Interviews with industry professionals
Reading and Discussion:
You should have all assigned reading completed by class time. Class discussions and in-class exercises ask you to apply the technical communication (TC) principles you are learning, so be prepared to participate by understanding the information covered in the assigned reading.
Through discussion, we will discover the reasons for various technical writing strategies and their practical applications. Learning the principles explained in the assigned reading will be essential to all of your work in this class.
Reports 3-6 are generated from a feasibility study that each of you will design, research, develop, and report on during the course.
You will be given complete instructions and topic choices for your project in the second week of the quarter. You will be asked to define a specific topic, purpose, and reader for your project during the fourth week of class.
Success in this course depends on your regular attendance and participation in the work of the class. All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. Attendance and small group participation are fundamental in acquiring the skills you will need to draft your technical reports correctly.
Your course grade is calculated in the following way:
Report 1: Memo 5%
Report 2: Instructions 10%
Report 3: Project Proposal 10%
Report 4: Progress Report 10%
Report 5: Project Data Report 10%
Report 6: Final Project Report 30%
Discussion, Participation, 20%
& Attendance ______
Grades on reports and discussion board are calculated using a 100-point scale:
All reports should be typed and presented in the format assigned for each document. Single spacing between lines and double spacing between paragraphs is the norm in technical writing.
Þ Please note: it may take me a week or more to grade a set of reports. Please do not inquire about them during class time.
If you are concerned about your course grade, or if you have questions about a particular assignment, speak with me after class or make an appointment to meet with me during my office hours.
Late reports will be graded down on full letter grade per calendar day. No reports will be accepted more than 5 days after the due date. No electronic submissions will be accepted without prior arrangement: I will allow these in instances of serious illness or similarly dire circumstances only.
Attendance is required in this class. I grade only those assignments from students who attend class regularly. English 270 is fairly demanding in the time it requires of you for reading, research, and writing; the bulk of your work will be done from midterm to the end of the quarter. Some students report that it is difficult to complete the course when taking other time-intensive classes, so plan your schedule accordingly.
Regular attendance in English 270 is important because:
1) The schedule may change to accommodate problems or questions raised in class.
2) I make announcements in class about adjustments to the schedule or to assignments
3) The work we do during class cannot be made up.
.If you come in after I have taken attendance, it is your responsibility to come up after class and make sure you have been marked late, rather than absent.
Your attendance will comprise 10% of your grade. Your participation grade will comprise an additional 5%. Participation includes oral participation in class discussions and homework assignments, contributions to group exercises and peer review, and the attitude, demeanor, and sensitivity you display towards me and other students.
Attendance grade grid:
6+ F (And you will fail the class)
Students who routinely arrive late for class or who leave early are considered absent from class. Students who come to class unprepared for class discussions, group work, or who disrupt the class in any way will be asked to leave.
Please note: you fail this course if you
1. Do not submit all assigned reports and exercises by the due dates, or
2. Miss 6 or more classes
Out of respect for everyone in the classroom, I ask that you follow these ground rules.
1. Turn off pagers and cell-phones. Anyone whose phone or other device makes any sound in class will lose two participation points toward their final grade upon each occurrence.
2. Do not talk or whisper while I am talking, or when another student is talking. It is discourteous and disrespectful, and will not be tolerated.
3. Be constructive in your comments and respect the opinions of your classmates.
All papers and outlines for this class should be typed or word-processed. Please make yourself familiar with the various computer labs on campus (A232, NWCET) if you are not already. Free tutoring is available at the Writing Lab.
Effective group time management:
On discussion and rough draft group days: Be prepared and come on time. Do not consider yourself responsible for people who are not prepared. For discussions, talk with those who have read the assignment. For outlines and writing groups, work with people who are fully prepared first. Each group is responsible for managing class time effectively, and meeting out of class if necessary to complete assignments.
13. Students With Special Needs:
Students with disabilities who have accommodation needs are required to meet with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office, room B233-G (telephone 425.564.2498 or TTY 425.564.4110), to establish their eligibility for accommodation. The DSS office will provide each eligible student with an accommodation letter. Students who require accommodation in class must review the DSS accommodation letter with each instructor during the first week of the quarter.
Students with mobility challenges who may need assistance in case of an emergency situation or evacuation should register with Disability Support Services, or review those needs with the instructor as well.
A Final Note: I am here to serve as your guide and help you achieve your goals for this class. While I am required to evaluate your work, you will have more influence on your grade than I. Your attitude and performance are the variables entirely within your control. If you demonstrate commitment, I am committed to helping you. My schedule permitting, I’ll assist you in any way I can. If you’re having difficulty, speak to me about it, and I’ll see what I can do to help. If life interferes with school, as it has a habit of doing, let me know: sooner, rather than later.
» Course materials for English 270 may be found on the Arts & Humanities division web site:
2. Click on #2 Course Materials
3. Click on Fall 2006
4. English Department
5. Scroll down until you find English 270 and click on my name