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UT Dallas Syllabus for ecs3390.004.08s taught by Elizabeth Bell (lxb032000)

UT Dallas Syllabus for ecs3390.004.08s taught by Elizabeth Bell (lxb032000)

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UT Dallas syllabus for taught by
UT Dallas syllabus for taught by

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Published by: UT Dallas Provost's Technology Group on Jan 05, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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ECS 3390: Professional and Technical Communication
Spring 2008

ECS 3390.004 \u00b7 TR 1:00\u20132:15 \u00b7 JO 4.502 ECS 3390.005 \u00b7 TR 2:30\u20133:45 \u00b7 JO 4.502 ECS 3390.502 \u00b7 TR 5:30\u20136:45 \u00b7 JO 4.502

Instructor: Lisa Bell
Office hours: TR 4:00-5:00, W 2:00-4:00,
and by appointment
Virtual office hours: LBellVOH (AIM, GMail, and Yahoo)
972.883.2052\u00b7 JO 5.608E
Ping me. I\u2019ll chat if I\u2019m available.

There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks a door, no inflexible rules by which the young writer may shape his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.

-- William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style
General Course Information

& other

ECS 3390 requires you to have credit for RHET 1302. As an upper-level class, you
should have at least college-level writing skills and both written and oral proficiency in
English. The course moves at a fast pace and assumes that you begin the course
understanding basic skills, such as language mechanics or Microsoft Office functions.
The course instead emphasizes developing a sense of professionalism and responsibility
to produce high-quality documents and presentations both individually and in teams.
However, you also need sufficient technical knowledge to contribute to project design
and to write and speak knowingly about technical content. While RHET 1302 is the
only pre-requisite for ECS 3390, you will find this class more difficult and time
consuming if you have only taken Computer Science I or Introduction to Digital


Technical and professional communication skills are critical tools for success in the \u201creal world\u201d of engineering and computer science professions. Therefore, Professional and Technical Communication will help you develop skills and competency in both oral and written communication as they occur in engineering and technology work environments. You will have opportunities to determine audiences\u2019 information needs, assess what information is correct, reliable and responsive to those needs, and present that information in a form that helps the audience process and use it. You will work with industry-specific projects, determine technical communication needs, develop professional-quality documents, and make formal presentations on technical topics to technical and non-technical audiences.

Engineering and programming are collaborative activities; therefore, this course uses a
collaborative-learning environment where you will work in teams to practice the
fundamentals of collaborative decision making and communication in professional
contexts. Course activities also raise related professional issues, such as meeting

ECS 3390.004 Syllabus, Rev. 1.5.2008

deadlines, carrying out instructions as specified, organizing your time so that you can work productively on more than one activity at a time, and developing an increased commitment to doing accurate work.

Using team and individual technical writing and presentation assignments, this course
meets the following SACS and ABET Objectives:
\u2022 Students will be able to write
effectively using appropriate
organization, mechanics, and style.
\u2022 Students will be able to construct
effective written arguments.
\u2022 Students will be able to gather,
incorporate, and interpret source
material in their writing.
\u2022 Students will be able to write in
different ways for different audiences.
d: An ability to function on
multidisciplinary teams
f: An understanding of professional and

ethical responsibility
g: An ability to communicate effectively
j: A knowledge of contemporary issues

Students who successfully master these objectives will develop the ability to:
Research, draft, and edit major research papers in a professional context
Analyze, edit, revise, and proofread technical documents created by the author,
peers, or other technical writers individually or as a team
Write professional correspondence such as concise memos, letters and emails for
diverse purposes to different audiences and levels of management
Research, plan, outline and present an individual presentation with visual aids
adapted appropriately to the audience and rhetorical situation

Develop collaborative strategies to research, plan, and present a team
presentation with visual aids adapted appropriately to the audience and
rhetorical situation

Texts &

The textbook is available at the campus bookstore and at both off-campus bookstores.
D. Beer and D. McMurrey, A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, Second Edition,
Wiley, 2005. ISBN 0-471-43074-9.
Additional readings will be posted in WebCT as necessary.
I have arranged readings so they support the work required for particular projects and
activities. The readings introduce communication issues and help you think about
approaching and constructing your assignments. You must complete the assigned reading
before coming to class to benefit from class activities. We will not use class time to
specifically reiterate what you can learn from the text \u2013 to do so would waste your time and
money. Class time will be devoted to your learning related material through a variety of
ECS 3390.004 Syllabus, Rev. 1.5.2008

learning exercises that depend on your comprehending and remembering what you have read. Although I may occasionally have you respond to the readings in class exercises, I will assign regular, graded written responses if I sense you are not reading.


The Sun style guide, Read Me First!: A style guide for the computer industry, also
serves as an excellent resource for style concerns. The UTD library provides access
to an electronic version of the book through the library\u2019s Safari Tech Books.

Assignments & Academic Calendar
The following table lists course assignments and their due dates. You can find a more detailed course
schedule, including reading assignments and daily class topics, on the course website.
Individual Portfolio
May 7
Individual Presentation
April 15/17/22/24
Team Report
April 7
Team Presentation
April 1/3
Low Impact Assignments
See course calendar
Communication Competency
Team Collaboration
April 28
Personal Performance Appraisal
May 7

Low Impact Assignments allow me to give you brief feedback as you master concepts, organize your
thoughts, and practice communication skills. I do not grade Low Impact Assignments (hence the low
impact). Instead, I check for completion and effort, typically assigning full/half/no credit. If you miss a
Low Impact Assignment or do not submit it punctually or properly, you will not receive credit for it.

Course Policies
Grading Criteria

All work should demonstrate the same professional and ethical standards expected of
you in the workplace, including proofreading and editing carefully all work you
submit in this class. Professionalism also means that you use appropriate source
citation wherever and whenever necessary so that you avoid violations of copyright \u2013
even if those violations are inadvertent. Remember: your work reflects upon you
and/or your group as a member or members of technical professions.

I use a criteria-based rather than norm-based (curved) grading system and do not
award extra points at the end of the semester to raise final grades. Each assignment
includes specific criteria, but I generally assess your work according to the
resourcefulness with which it:

fulfills the criteria set out in theassi gn me ntspecifications,
accomplishes its multiplepurposes,
responds to itsaudience's needs and orientations,
ECS 3390.004 Syllabus, Rev. 1.5.2008

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