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TELS 3363 Technical Communications (Hybrid)

Policy Statement Fall 2016


Instructor: Penny Piercy
Email: pjpiercy@central.uh.edu
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND LEARNING OUTCOMES
TELS 3363 integrates several learning goals in order to create a dynamic environment in which students
develop critical thinking skills and master technical writing forms. Students successfully completing the
course will achieve the following learning objectives:
To understand that all writing is contextual and to develop technical writing skills through invention,
organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
To understand and demonstrate the shared conventions, practices, standards, and constructs of
business and technical writing forms.
To understand and demonstrate through writing the issues and purposes of specific technical fields.
To understand and apply basic principles of critical thinking, problem solving, and technical
proficiency through written exposition and argument.
To develop the ability to research and write a documented proposal that conforms to the standards of
the discipline and to establish an identity in a particular discipline or profession.
REQUIRED TEXT
Lannon, J.M. (2017). Technical Communication (14th ed). New York: Longman.
Students will be able to complete the course successfully using the 13th edition, but all reading
assignments and mentions of textbook pages in the course materials will refer to the 14th edition. If you
use an older edition, you are responsible for making any necessary conversions.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
Students taking this course must have daily access to a computer with an Internet connection. Students
must also have access to Microsoft Word or to a word processor that can save and read files in Word
format or Rich Text Format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). You will also need to be able to read files in .pdf.
PREREQUISITE
Students must have completed ENGL 1304 (or an equivalent course) with a C or higher.
REQUIRED COMPUTER SKILLS
Students taking this course should come into the course with a basic understanding of computers, web
navigation, word processing, and email. No programming knowledge is necessary to take this class.
OBTAINING A BLACKBOARD LEARN ACCOUNT
All students must obtain a Blackboard Learn account in order to access the course materials. Go to the
Blackboard Learn web page at the address http://www.uh.edu/blackboard/learn_index.html and follow
the instructions there.
ACCESSING COURSE MATERIALS
The class schedule, course assignments, directions for submitting assignments, and individual student
grades are available only to those students who have a Blackboard Learn account. Once you have
obtained and logged into a Blackboard Learn account, you can access the course materials by clicking on
the link for the TELS 3363 class.

COURSE ANNOUNCEMENTS
News for the course (assignment reminders, schedule changes, etc.) will be posted near the top of the
course homepage, so you should be sure to check there frequently.
ASSIGNMENT SCHEDULE
A detailed assignment schedule is posted at the bottom of the course homepage. This schedule is subject
to change, so be sure to check frequently.
EMAIL COMMUNICATION
If you need to reach me by email, I can be contacted either through the Blackboard Learn email page for
the course (or at pjpiercy@central.uh.edu if there is a Blackboard Learn outage). I typically reply to
student email within 24-48 hours.
DETERMINATION OF FINAL GRADE
450 Total Course Points
WRITING PROJECTS
300 Points
Project 1: Policies Worksheet [25 pts.]
Project 2: Introductory Letter [25 Pts.]
Project 3: Revision Practice Exercise [25 Pts.]
Project 4: Resume [25 Pts.]
Project 5: Job Cover Letter [25 Pts.]
Project 6: Instructions Memo [25 Pts.]
Project 7: Definitions Email [25 Pts.]
Project 8: Claim Letter [25 Pts.]
Project 9: Refuse Claim Letter [25 Pts.]
Project 10: Proposal Project [75 Pts.]
4 DISCUSSION BOARD ASSIGNMENTS
100 Points
FINAL EXAM
50 Points
HOW TO DOWNLOAD FEEDBACK ON PROJECT ASSIGNMENTS
After submitting project assignments, you will receive a detailed grade breakdown and comments. It is
important to view these comments in order to improve on future projects. To view comments, download
the document I uploaded (a file with the word GRADED in the file name), and open it in your word
processor. If the comments arent already evident, you should be able to see your comments by going
into your word processors View menu and selecting Markup.
WHERE TO FIND ASSIGNMENT GRADES
To view your current assignment grades, click the My Grades link on the course homepage. This will
show you a number grade for each graded assignment. To calculate a single assignment grade, divide
your score by the total score possible on that assignment. To calculate your current average in the course,
divide the total points you have earned by the total points possible that have been graded. For instance, if
you earned a total of 155 out of a possible 190 points, your average would be 154/190, which is roughly
.81 or 81% (B-). Note: if BB Learn offers you two different total amounts, the higher number is the one to
use in calculating your grade.
OPTIONAL REVISIONS
NO ASSIGNMENT GRADES WILL BE DROPPED in this course. At the end of the semester, however,
students will have the option to revise TWO 25-point course assignments (projects or discussions) for
higher grades. Students will NOT be able to revise Projects 1, 3 or 10. Missed or late assignments
will not be eligible for revision. (However, the optional extra credit assignment may be used to
substitute for one 25-point assignment, including a missed or late assignment.)

SUBMITTING ASSIGNMENTS
All written assignments must be submitted through Blackboard Learn. Weekly assignments are typically
posted on the course homepage the morning of the day you have class and are then due the day before the
next weeks class. For example, if your class meets Thursday evening, the assignment is posted Thursday
morning and will be due Wednesday night. The final exam is an exception to this rule.
All Project Assignments must be submitted in either Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or rich text
format (.rtf). Assignments submitted in other formats will not be graded. Please include your last
name at the beginning of your assignments file name. Discussion assignments, however, should be typed
directly in (or pasted into) the discussion forum rather than attached.
LATE WORK POLICY
If you turn in an assignment late, you will receive no feedback other than a numerically-scored rubric (no
comments). Additionally, late projects and discussion assignments will receive a grade deduction of
10% per day. Project and discussion assignments will not be accepted over a week late, and no late
finals will be accepted.
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
If you have trouble submitting an assignment because Blackboard Learn is down or your computer is
misbehaving:
1) If at all possible, attach your assignment to an email message with a short explanatory comment, and
send it to me through Blackboard Learn internal email (or if Blackboard Learn is down
to pjpiercy@central.uh.edu). This way Ill know you completed the assignment on time.
2) As soon as the technical issue is resolved resubmit the assignment the correct way through Blackboard
Learn. Be sure to do this second step, or you may end up not getting credit for the assignment.
If there is no technical difficulty but you end up submitting an assignment 5-10 minutes late, you
dont need to send me an email to explain. Just submit the assignment as you usually would. I wont
count an assignment late if its submitted only a few minutes after the deadline. After that, late penalties
will start to accrue, as described above, regardless of the reason the assignment is late.
Lastly, it is your responsibility to double-check that your assignments are actually attached and
submitted each time you turn something in. I will not track you down if an assignment is missing.
PARTICIPATION POLICY
Successful completion of this course requires regular attendance in class and regular work outside of
class. As adults, students must make their own priorities when they have a schedule conflict or other
challenges. Therefore, I do not regularly take roll in this class. However, making adult decisions also
means accepting the consequences of those decisions. Frequently missing class, submitting assignments
late, or missing assignments for employment or personal reasons will damage your grade in this course.
Do not expect to neglect this course and then be allowed to make up missed work at the end of the
semester. If a particular grade in this course may impact academic probation, scholarships, or graduation,
that is your responsibility, not mine.
COLLABORATIVE WORK POLICY
Students are required to complete all of the written work for the course on their own unless the
assignment is designated a group project. Do your own written work without help from others unless you
are explicitly instructed otherwise.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
All incidents of Academic Dishonesty will be handled according to UHs official policy regarding
plagiarism. Depending upon circumstances, plagiarism may be grounds for failure and/or suspension from
the University. Keep all notes and rough drafts; you may be asked to produce them. See the
Universitys complete Academic Honesty Policy for more information.
The University of Houston defines plagiarism as representing as ones own work the work of another
without appropriately acknowledging the source. That encompasses, but is not limited to, actions like
submitting substantially identical . . . materials in fulfillment of an assignment by two or more
individuals, whether or not these used common data or other information, [and] copying verbatim text
from the literature, whether printed or electronic, in written assignments. UHs policy further states that
the university does not institutionalize plagiarism by acknowledging, excusing or condoning ignorance
under the rubric of unintentional plagiarism.
Bottom line: the assignments you write for this class should be your own. Do not borrow information or
wording from other people or other sources, including web pages, and try to pass that off as your own
writing. When using information from any outside source (including online sources), be sure to cite it
appropriately using APA format. If you have any questions about when or how to cite an outside source,
consult with me before turning in your work. If you turn in work that isnt your own, or use
uncredited material from sources, or misrepresent your source material, you will receive a zero on
the assignment with no chance to redo that work.
IMPORTANT NOTE
The Center for Students with Disabilities provides academic support services to all UH students who have
any type of health impairment, learning disability, physical disability, or psychiatric disorder. Individuals
wishing to find out more about these services should contact CSD in room 305 of
the Student Service Center (or call 743-5400/ voice 749-1527 / TDD). Students requesting "reasonable
and necessary" accommodations for this course (including testing modifications) should contact the
instructor as soon as possible (but PRIOR to an exam, deadline, etc.).
BLACKBOARD LEARN SUPPORT
BLACKBOARD LEARN 24 Hour Support Phone Number: 713-743-1475