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Nicole Williams Office Hours: By appointment only Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nicoleannwilliams.com There is more to technical writing than letter writing. Every time you communicate (written or verbal) you are evaluated on your effectiveness in conveying your ideas. In the working world, your effectiveness in communicating factors in to how you are regarded, how often you are considered for advancement, and how well you are rewarded. Beginning today, and for the duration of this course, you will work on building your technical communication skills. You will prepare for writing-intensive careers or careers in the sciences/applied sciences. You will familiarize yourself with the field of technical communication and the forms and styles of writing common to this field, as well as usability and ethical concerns. You are to consider yourself an employee of a Technical Writing Team hired by me. I am your boss and, therefore, you report directly to me. As an employee and part of the team, you should communicate and present yourself to me and your colleagues (classmates) in the way you would to an actual boss in the working world. This includes emails which should use standard punctuation, spelling, and capitalization as well as an appropriate greeting/closing and word choice.
By the end of this job you should be able to: Demonstrate knowledge of the field of technical writing, including document format and design conventions Analyze the effectiveness of a technical writing document in relation to its rhetorical situation, context, content, and overall design Analyze the rhetorical situation (audience, needs, documents required etc.) for a technical writing task Adapt your writing for a variety of audiences from lay person to technical “insider” Design effective technical writing documents in a variety of genres Conduct usability testing of documents for a target audience Locate and cite outside research appropriately for writing tasks
Text: Essentials of Technical Communication second edition. Tabeaux and Dragga. Oxford University Press. Notebook, pen, laptop with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
Successful Completion: In order to succeed in this position (and pass the course) you must come to work, participate in discussions, complete in class writings, outside readings,
homework, and complete all formal writing assignments. Successful completion of the formal assignments includes turning in all required drafts and attending workshops and conferences. I reserve the right to lower your grade if all assignments are not turned in and you are not prepared each day. Electronic Note: To do our part to help the environment and provide you easy access to course materials, syllabi and course assignment sheets will be available on our course website at http://www.nicoleannwilliams.com I will not distribute paper copies in class. Attendance: Absence is not acceptable in the work place. Businesses only run smoothly if everyone participates as much as possible; therefore, attendance is mandatory. Since this is an abbreviated course session, meeting for only five weeks, keeping up with the material requires your attendance each day. You are allowed one sick day (absence) free and clear. I don’t need to know where you were or what you were doing. If you are absence twice I reserve the right to lower your grade a 1/3 of a letter grade. If you miss more than two classes I reserve the right to fail you for the course. Tardiness: Being late for work is unacceptable. Your boss and team are counting on you. Please come to class on time. Participation: This job depends heavily on your readiness and willingness to contribute to discussions and activities daily. I expect each of you to work with me and each other to make this a real working community. Therefore, you must come to work each day fully prepared having done all assigned readings and work ready to participate. Additionally, activities are designed to build off of outside work; therefore, I will know if you are unprepared. I reserve the right to lower your grade as I see appropriate for lack of preparation and participation. In addition keep in mind: 1 Being absent is not an excuse for turning in late work. All assignments are expected to be turned in at the beginning of the work shift (class day) they are due. If you are not going to be in class e-mail your work to me by the beginning of class time. Late assignments will not be accepted. 2 Daily activities cannot be made up so it would be wise to come to work prepared each day.
Office Behaviors: 1 You will have computers in front of you which may pose several distractions. Checking e-mail and surfing the web at work is both rude and inappropriate. This behavior will not be tolerated and will affect your grade. 2 Please remember to turn off and put away all cell phones, ipods, mp3 players, and other communication devices that pose a distraction to our class. Failure to follow the policy will affect your grade. I do not want to see you using any of these devices at work. 3 Class time is not a time for private discussions amongst each other. Such behavior is rude and disruptive to your colleagues. Please save such conversations for after work. Respect: Respect for others in the workplace is non-negotiable. Everyone can have a difference of opinion, discuss, and debate, but respect must be given to your colleagues at all times.
Plagiarism: Presentation of someone else’s work as your own is dishonest and unacceptable. If I find out that you have plagiarized you will receive a zero for the assignment and, possibly, fail the course. Be assured that I will find out if you have plagiarized, therefore it would be wise for you to do your own work and cite any and all material you take from other sources. Plain and simple-if it isn’t your own words or idea than tell me where you found it. If you are ever unsure of whether or not you are committing academic dishonesty please come speak to me, and I will be happy to assist. I take academic
honesty and integrity very seriously and will follow all steps outlined by Bridgewater State University if I find a student plagiarizing. This could result in a meeting with the Dean and possible expulsion from the University. Departmental Writing Committee’s Academic Honesty Policy (Approved Spring 2010 ) Academic Honesty: Academic Honesty refers both to plagiarism and misrepresenting your work in other ways. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words or ideas without acknowledging the original source. Acts of academic dishonesty include the following: Turning in another students essay as your own Turning the same essay (that you wrote) in for credit in two different classes. (Note: It is fine to write about the same idea in two courses, to branch off of a project to create a new one, or to push an idea that you’ve started developing in one paper significantly further in another, but it is academically dishonest to turn in the same writing project in two courses.) Including information or ideas from a print or online source in your essay without including a citation to indicate the origin of the words Including phrases or sentences from a print or online source in your essay without using quotation marks to mark the words as coming from an outside source (even if you include a citation) If you have a question about whether you need to cite a course, ask your instructor or writing studio consultant or simply take the safe route and cite the source. The consequences of plagiarism are serious. Course Adaptations: In accordance with BSU policy, I am available to discuss appropriate accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Requests for accommodations should be made during the drop/add period so that proper arrangements can be made. Students should register with the Disability Resources Office in Boyden Hall for disability verification and determination of reasonable academic accommodations. Writing Studio: The BSU is a valuable source that you should take advantage of throughout the semester for all your courses and as you continue your studies at BSU. The Writing Studio is located in the Academic Achievement Center on the ground floor of Maxwell Library. You can make an appointment by stopping by the Writing Studio in person, calling 531-2053, or via email email@example.com. To learn more about The Writing Studio visit their website at http://www.bridgew.edu/WritingStudio/ Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and Adrian Tinsley Program: The OUR and ATP provide BSU students with the opportunity to do scholarly research by funding projects, providing presentation forums through research symposiums, and publishing opportunities in the Undergraduate Review. The OUR is located in 200 Maxwell Library. To learn more about the OUR visit their website at www.bridgew.edu/our. On a personal note, I cannot speak highly enough of the opportunities the OUR and ATP provide to BSU students for enhancing your education while at BSU and providing you with skills that will make you competitive in both the job market and in graduate school.
Publication Opportunities: The Undergraduate Review- Published annually by the Office of Undergraduate Research, showcases student research and creative work done as part of a class or under the mentorship of Bridgewater Faculty. The Bridge- A Creative journal that published by the English Department annually that showcases poetry, prose, and fine art.
Formal Essays: There will be four formal assignments during the course that will give you the opportunity to practice a variety of technical writing skills. All formal essays, unless otherwise noted in the assignment sheet, should be printed out and handed in at the beginning of work (class) on the due date in hard copy format. Please do not email papers unless you are absent on the due date. Blogs: You will be required to create and maintain a blog throughout the semester. We will create the blogs together during work (class). Each day, as listed on the schedule, you will be required to write at least one blog post on your own blog and one post on a classmates blog. Your blog entries each day should discuss your thoughts and ideas on any of the assigned reading for that class week and how they may relate to your own writing. This is your chance to reflect on the reading and writing you do each week. We will discuss the conventions of blog writing in class. Your blog can be thought of as your electronic journal to track your learning and progress during the semester. It is also a tool to communicate and share ideas with your peers and the world. In-class Writing: During each work day you will be asked to write on a variety of issues, ideas, and prompts that relate to readings and material. These writings will assist in discussions and serve as a tool for both of us to reflect on the work you are doing. These writings are informal. Portfolios: The best way I have found to help students understand and appreciate what it means when I say “writing is a process” is to evaluate your writing using a portfolio. At the end of your employment you will be responsible for collecting and revising the work you’ve d one in and outside of work. You will turn in both formal and informal writing, some of it revised, some of it not. You will also include an introduction that discusses what you’ve learned and provides a self -evaluation of your writing. This portfolio will be returned with a formal letter grade attached that evaluates the work in the portfolio as well as your success in your position. Collaborative Project: There will be one Collaborative project that will include a presentation component and assist you in developing your teamwork skills. Readings: Outside readings will be assigned for each class period. They are listed on the schedule. It is vital to your grade that you complete all readings and come to work prepared to discuss them. Conferences: You will be responsible for meeting with me once during the semester outside of work. The meeting will be about fifteen minutes long and I will cancel work for the day to accommodate this conference. I will tell you very specifically what you should bring to the meeting at the time we schedule it. Failure to come to these conferences and/or failure to come to these conferences prepared with a draft to work on will count as an absence-furthermore, do not waste my time or your own by not showing up or showing up unprepared. I am just as busy as you are, but if you are prepared to invest time in your writing then I am too. A sign up sheet will be passed around as the time approaches for conferences. Note: All writing you do-drafts, revisions, in-class writing, blogs-should be saved so you have a wide selection to choose from when putting together your portfolio. It is imperative that you save all your writing so you can see how you have developed as a writer throughout the course of this job.
Evaluation and Grading Policies
In this job you will not receive letter grades on individual drafts and assignments. I know many of you are probably thinking that I am completely crazy for doing this. I also know not receiving a letter grade on each paper will make some of you nuts however; it really is for the best. Using this portfolio system of evaluation allows me the opportunity to give you credit for the things that grading individual papers does not: such as effort and revision and improvement. Although you will not receive individual letter grades on each draft you turn in, you will receive extensive comments and feedback from me that will help you
understand the quality of the work you are doing as well as assist you in improving your writing. You will receive a letter grade at the end of the semester when you turn in your portfolio. These grade will be based on the following criteria: 1 Meeting all of the requirements described above. 2 The quality of your written work, including how successful your revision work is. 3 The quality of your effort in class, in workshops, in discussion, in groups, in conferences, and in general. 4 Your demonstration of a willingness to try new things, think in new ways, and explore different perspectives as both a reader and a writer. My comments should provide you with a clear understanding of your progress; if you ever feel as though you are unsure, come see me and we will discuss it. Grading Percentage Breakdowns Different assignments require different levels of effort. The following breakdowns should provide you with an idea of the amount of time and energy needed for each. 1 Blogs 10% 2 Collaborative Project 10% 3 In-class Writings 10% 4 Formal Writing Assignments 4 essay Drafts (10% each) 40% 5 Portfolio 20% 6 Final Presentation 10%