CS 325 Writing for Computer Science

Lila Harper, Ph.D.

Spring 2016

LL 403G, 963-1793; HB 216

HB 112, 3-3:50 MWF

Office Hours:

HB 216: F 2:00 & by appt.

LL403G: TTH 2:00-2:50


Email: Harperl@CWU.EDU




Required: Handbook of Technical Writing, 11th ed. Brusaw, Alred, and Oliu.

Writing for Computer Science, 3nd ed. Zobel

Preview available in Google Books.


Prerequisites: Eng. 102 and CS 301. Students who show worrisome mechanical problems will be referred to the Learning Commons for tutoring. See the Commons secretary in the Library to book an appointment. You must be able to write fluent, standard English. I cannot ignore mechanical errors because of problems with English proficiency.


Course Description: CS 325 focuses on the writing, editing, and ethical practices in the field of computer science. This class will acquaint students with standards of good writing. As such, this is a writing-intensive class. Writing requires time and effort. You should be prepared to spend the time and make the effort.


Why Am I So Picky? My job is to heavily edit your work according to professional-level writing guidelines, the sort of guidelines you would be expected to when writing for professional proposes. Being "picky" is not an element of my personality, but is what I am trained to do. This type of editing is very time and energy consuming; it takes at least a week to return assignments.


Class Policies: Students are responsible for all

Syllabus changes


And information presented in class.


I will assume you have read the assigned readings before coming to class. As this is a workshop-oriented class, attendance is important.

More than three unexcused absences will affect the grade. In case of illness, leave a message via email that lets me know you are ill.


Papers: There will be in-class exercises and several paper assignments ranging in length from summaries to a longer-length formal research paper with a survey of the literature and annotated bibliography.

Most papers are to be submitted both in hard copy in class and the final version is to be submitted electronically through Canvas. Turnitin checker will be activated.


As some of the class objectives involve training in editing and use of sources, all papers in the class must be accompanied by rough drafts and, in the case of research reports. Students will use APA documentation. Guides to citation styles are in The Handbook of Technical Writing.


Computer Usage: Word processing will be used for assignments, but technical problems are not an acceptable excuse for late papers. Canvas is only used to communicate with students, not to figure grades. There is no connection between Canvas and MyCWU. I will determine each grade individually. See the grade report form in Canvas files.


Back-up and printout drafts! Email a copy of your paper to yourself as protection against hardware failure. Be sure you proofread your paper after its final printout. Take it from a former professional proofreader: Spell-checkers and grammar checkers can only help with proofreading, not substitute for it. We will use both traditional proofreader marks and electronic markup in draft workshop. I will not accept final papers sent as attachments unless there is an emergency situation. I can be reached for clarification on assignments via email and am generally online when in LL.


Plagiarism: This is your formal warning: All papers submitted in this class must be your own work and work done in this class; all work must be correctly documented. I require rough drafts. “Patch writing,”that is the use of chunks of quoted material without quotation marks, constitute plagiarism, even if you cite the source. Papers are to be handed in both in hardcopy and electronically to Canvas. A Turnitin check will be done.


Undocumented use of others' writing will result in a failure grade for the assignment. That means you cannot copy text from sources, not even Internet sources. And abstracts are not in public domain. Don't take chances. I check all sources. Repeat, I check all sources. If I find evidence that there is intent to deceive, an F will be assigned for the course. See me about any questions regarding responsible research and documentation practices.


Revisions: Here rewriting of papers for a higher grade is not an option. I will happily help individuals with rough drafts during office hour, but will not allow a rewrite after a grade has been assigned to a paper unless the paper receives a "D" or lower grade. In that case, after a conference with me, two separate paper rewrites will be permitted for no higher than a "C-" grade. Please note that tutoring is available in the University Learning Commons. Please ask that a report of your visit be emailed to me.


Rewrites must be turned in within 3 class days after the original paper was returned. Submit the first version with the rewrite. I will not accept rewrites in the last week of the quarter.


Make-Up Tests: Make-up tests must be arranged in advance before the test is given and taken the next day. The reason for the make-up must be a situation beyond your control, not an inability to prepare in time. Tests will be left with the English department for students to pick up. Only two handbook tests can be made-up.


Incompletes: Refer to the CWU catalog for a definition of an incomplete. The "I" grade is not a substitute for a "W. "


Attendance: Come to class. If you miss class, get notes from a classmate. Do not expect to get a C or higher grade when there are over 6 absences, or missing 2 weeks of class.



Points and letter grades will be translated into a 400-point scale (similar to a GPA point scale) using a weighted curve; i.e., I do not use a strict percentage in grade assessment. (See curve below.) (Please do not come to me wanting to redo papers because you got something like a 69% on an assignment according to Canvas and think you are failing. A 69% on this scale is a B-.) To figure a grade, translate a letter grade into the GPA, then multiply by the percentage weight. Assignments will be roughly weighed as follows. Changes, if needed, will be announced in class. Completing the final survey research paper is necessary to pass the class. See Canvas files for a sample grade report form.


Assignment                Percentage Weight %


Attendance and workshop exercises


Mechanics tests (3)


Summary #1


Summary #2


Visualization assignment


Analysis of research paper


Cover letter, resume


Proposal and Annotated bibliography




Survey research paper


Power Point presentation of proposal



Days Absent      Points

















Note: You may be counted absent if you are more than 10 min. late.


Course Grade    Points