CS 325 Technical Writing for Computer Science

Lila Harper, Ph.D.

Spring 2014

LL 403G, 963-1793; HB 216

HB 112, 3-3:50 MWF

Office Hours:

HB 216: MW 2-2:50

LL403G: T,TH 2-3:00 & by appt.

 

Email: Harperl@CWU.EDU

 

http://www.cwu.edu/~harperl/

Texts:

Required: Handbook of Technical Writing, 10th ed. Brusaw, Alred, and Oliu.

Writing for Computer Science, 2nd ed. Zobel

 

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

Readings

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.

 

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, photocopies or printouts of sources. Students may use IEEE or APA documentation, but they must use only one and use the style correctly. Guides to both 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.

 

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 electronic markup in draft workshop. However, I will not accept final papers sent as attachments. 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 and photocopies of sources. Big blocks of quoted material without quotation marks constitute plagiarism, even if you cite the source.

 

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. 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. "

 

 

Grading:

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.) Assignments will be roughly weighed as follows. Changes, if needed, will be announced in class. Completing the formal proposal is necessary to pass the class.

 

Assignment                Percentage Weight %

 

Attendance and workshop exercises

5

Mechanics tests (3)

20

Summary #1

5

Summary #2

5

Visualization assignment

10

Analysis of research paper

10

Cover letter, resume

10

Proposal and Annotated bibliography

10

 

 

Survey research paper

20

Power Point presentation of proposal

5

 

Days Absent      Points

0-3

20

4

18

5

16

6

14

7

12

8

10

9

8

10

0

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

 

Course Grade    Points

A

380-400

A-

360-379

B+

340-359

B

290-339

B-

260-289

C+

230-259

C

190-229

C-

160-189

D+

130-159

D

90-129