English 270 B Instructor: Sydney C. Dietrich
Spring Quarter 2005 Office: Room R 230, Office S
M-F Office Hours: M-Th
Room R 201 ……and by appointment
Phone: 564-2109 (office, voice mail) 564-2341 (A & H Office)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 564-2690
Mailbox: Arts & Humanities, R 230
Textbook: Technical Communication (7th Edition, 2003), by Mike Markel
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
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
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)
· Weekly online discussion board
· Class discussion
· Group work on in-class exercises, and Report 2 (a set of instructions).
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
You will be writing the following 6 technical reports:
1. Memo 4. Project Progress Report
2. Instructions [Procedures 5. Project Data Report
Manual] 6. Final Project Report
3. Project Proposal
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 15%
Report 4: Progress Report 10%
Report 5: Project Data Report 15%
Report 6: Final Project Report 30%
Discussion, Participation, 15%
& Attendance ______
Grades on reports and discussion board are calculated using a 100-point scale:
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
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 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.
All assignments are due on the dates listed in the course schedule:
Ø Reports submitted in paper, disk, or CD form must reach me by
on the due date. (Bring to my office, R 230, S).
Ø Reports sent electronically [Reports 1, 3, and 4 only] must reach me by on the due date.
(Please attach them as Word documents to email@example.com)
There are two exceptions:
· You may turn in 2 of your final four reports (reports 3-6 only) one day late by arranging it with me on or before the due dates.
Late reports must be turned in no more than one day after the original due date, and must arrive by (in paper, disk, or CD form) or (in electronic form).
Any report turned in more than one day late will be dropped one grade level each additional day it is late.
Assignments turned in late because of illness must be cleared with me before submission.
You may revise Report 3, the Project Proposal, for a better grade. The revised
grade will be the original grade averaged with the revision grade. Proposal revisions should be submitted one week after your report has been returned to you. Revisions must show substantial work and improvement to earn a higher grade. Please remember to resubmit your original graded draft with your revision.
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.
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
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 are absent for medical reasons or emergencies, please let me know via voice mail or email as soon as you can. If you know you will have to miss class(es) in the future, let me know so that I can make a note of it for the date(s) in question.
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.
A student who misses 20% of the class meetings (10 or more absences) will
fail the course.
Please note: you fail this course if you
1. Do not submit all assigned reports and exercises by the due dates, or
2. Miss 10 or more classes
Þ Þ In both situations, you may avoid receiving an “F” for the course by withdrawing on or before, May 20th (in person, by 5:00 p.m.), or by Sun., May 22nd (via the Web, by noon).
Unexcused absences affect your participation grade in the following way:
0-2 absences = A
3-4 absences = B
5-6 absences = C
7-9 absences = D
10 absences = F
Please read the section on “Attendance” in the Arts & Humanities Division Student Procedures and Expectations for the stated requirements that I use in my course design. You may access it on the BCC Arts & Humanities Division web site.
Saving Your Work
Be sure to duplicate your 270 work from your hard drive to some other medium (pen drive, CD, or floppy) as backup. Keep your rough drafts until your report is returned to you after grading. All graded reports should be saved until the end of the quarter as proof of work completed. This will save you from having to rewrite a report that is destroyed or lost.
As verification of your work, research notes and sources for your Final Project Report should also be saved in duplicate as your work progresses. In other words, there is no bona fide excuse for not having proof of the work you have completed for class, especially at the end of the quarter.
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
The ethical considerations of cheating in technical writing are much greater than in other kinds of writing. Since you will use technical writing in the workplace, it is mandatory that you communicate all technical information accurately, completely, and honestly. Most professional organizations, including the Society for Technical Communication, have clearly defined codes of ethical behavior (see p. 25, Technical Communication).
The BCC Student Code is also very clear about the seriousness of cheating and the actions that faculty members are required to take in cases of plagiarizing:
The BCC Student Code prohibits cheating, stealing, plagiarizing,
knowingly furnishing false information to the college, or submitting
to a faculty member any work product that the student fraudulently
represents as his or her own work for the purpose of fulfilling or
partially fulfilling any assignment or task required as part of a program
of instruction. All forms of cheating, stealing, and plagiarizing will be
reported to the Dean of Instruction.
Please read the entire section on “Academic Honesty” in the Arts & Humanities Division Student Procedures and Expectations for further explanation.
Inappropriate Classroom Behavior
All students are expected to behave in a mature and appropriate manner for a college class. Students who ignore the rights of others in class by talking, doing work for other classes, or disrupting the class in any way, will be asked to leave. Lack of respect for cultural, physical, or philosophical differences of students in class will not be tolerated.
The BCC Student Code prohibits any inappropriate or disruptive conduct in the classroom. Disruptive conduct is defined as “disorderly, abusive or bothersome behavior that interferes with the rights of others or which obstructs or disrupts teaching, research, or administrative functions.” Violations of this code are reported to BCC’s Discipline Officer.
Please read the entire section on “Classroom Environment” in the Arts & Humanities Student Procedures and Expectations for additional explanation.
» Course materials for English 270 may be found on the Arts & Humanities division web site:
2. Click on #2 Course Materials
3. Spring 2005
4. English Department
5. Scroll down until you find English
270 and click on
© Sydney Dietrich, 2005.
» Samples of Reports 3-6 may be downloaded from the Electronic Reserve portion of the Library Media Center (LMC) web page:
Click on English 270,
2. You will find sample reports written by former students:
v Project Proposal
v Project Progress Report
v Project Data Report
v Final Project Report