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English 3773, D576 (24374)
Advanced Technical Writing
Fall 2014
New York City College of Technology

Wednesday 11:30am-2:00pm
Classroom: N601B

Professor: Dr. Jill Belli
(718) 260-4974
Office: Namm 520 / Mailbox: Namm 512

Office hours: Tuesday 11:15am-12:15pm, Wednesday 2-3pm, & by appointment

OpenLab Course Site:

Course Description:
An advanced course in effective technical writing techniques, including traditional technical writing forms and world wide web communication. This course will have students use electronic media such as internet, presentation, and graphics programs to communicate technical and scientific information to a variety of audiences via written and oral presentations. Students will also analyze readings in science and technology, study technical writing models, and practice collaborative research and presentation. Building on previous writing courses, this course will reinforce clarity of thinking and expression in effective and correct English. (see full English Department course outline here:

ENG 1121 (English Composition II) or 1133 (Specialized Communication for Technology Students) or 3771 (Advanced Career Writing)

Required Texts and Supplies
All texts will be provided in-class or on our course site (including readings on writing process/strategies to accompany our frequent in-class writing workshops). It is your responsibility to print out these texts and bring them to class with you. You may print up to 30 pages per day in the City Tech computer labs, but if you do not have a printer at home, you may want to invest in one (remember: you have no costs for texts for this class, and a laser printer is a good, long-term investment for your college career).

You should always come to class prepared with a notebook, folder, binder, dictionary (it can be one on your phone, tablet, or laptop), and writing utensils (pens, pencils, and highlighters). All course materials (including in-class freewriting, quizzes, handouts, readings, essays, peer review) must be kept in a binder, and brought to each class session.

Your final course grade is calculated according to the following breakdown:

Participation: 10%            OpenLab Composing: 15%
Career Materials: 5%       Correspondence: 5%      Summary: 5%
Instructions/Usability Testing: 10%
Collaborative Final Project: 50% (includes proposal, definitions, documentation, infographic, report, presentation, reflection)

Participation counts as 10% of your final course grade and includes (but is not limited to):

  • consistent and punctual attendance
  • timely completion and thoughtful engagement with of all reading and writing (composing on the OpenLab course site has its own grading category)
  • having the assigned text(s) in class with you (on the dates they are to be discussed)
  • active participation in-class and in our digital (OpenLab) discussions (via commenting)
  • miscellaneous homework assignments
  • (often unannounced) in-class quizzes and writing exercises based on prompts, activities, and readings
  • presentations
  • group work
  • pre-drafts
  • peer review
  • conferences with the instructor
  • additional work (and tutoring) at the Learning Center
  • respectful attitude toward your instructor, peers, and coursework
  • improvement throughout the semester

Course Policies
You are responsible for having working accounts for City Tech e-mail, OpenLab and Dropbox, and for checking these accounts daily. Consistent access to your City Tech e-mail account, our OpenLab course site, and our shared Dropbox class folder is a critical requirement of our coursework and your course grade. If you do not have reliable technology (computer, internet access, and printer) at home, you should make sure to plan ahead to do your work on campus (or in another space–such as a local library–where you have access to technology).

If you don’t already have one, you must sign up for an OpenLab account and join our learning community (course) site, where you can find everything you need this semester (all announcements, updates to the schedule, posted readings, reading responses, and online discussions will take place here). However, this is not just a place where you will come to find information and read what I have already written. Instead, you are expected to consistently and actively participate in creating content on our learning community (course) site such as posting responses to the reading, discussing ideas with me and your classmates, reading and commenting on what others have posted, and linking to interesting/relevant material you have found through everyday experience as well as outside research. This material (your writing) will become part of our class meetings: we will discuss excerpts from student posts (both to facilitate writing workshops and to use as a jumping-off point for the day’s reading/discussion). In addition, everyone in the course will be reading your writing (and our course blog and all of its content is become public to the larger college community and anyone on the Internet), so you should spend as much effort as possible composing your writing there. Please see our course site for a blogging grading rubric and detailed blogging guidelines/expectations (under Assignments, OpenLab Composing).

When you are not blogging your writing (posting to our OpenLab course site), you will often be submitting assignments electronically through Dropbox. Therefore, you should register for a free Dropbox account and then accept an invitation to our class shared Dropbox folder no later than the second class. (within this class folder, you will find the appropriate folders for submitting each assignment). Detailed instructions for doing both of these things is posted on our OpenLab site, under Assignments, and then Dropbox + Submitting Assignments Electronically.

Consistent absence/lateness will lower your participation grade significantly. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate and to find out/complete missed assignments; however, in-class work (including quizzes, freewriting, discussions, peer review) cannot be made-up.

All assignments are due on the dates specified. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Disagreement and (constructive) criticism are allowed and encouraged in our class and on our course blog. However, you must be respectful of the work/opinions of others.

A consistent display of organizational, logical, syntactical, and grammatical errors in your work disrupts your writing and will lower your grade. Students are encouraged (and may be required) to take advantage of online resources (linked through our course blog) and available services at City Tech.

I strongly encourage you to visit me during my office hours throughout the semester to discuss your work in the course.

Attendance and Lateness Policy
According to College attendance policy, a student may be absent during the semester without penalty for 10% of the class instructional sessions. Since our course only meets once per week, if you miss more than two classes, you may not pass the course. In my class, two latenesses (of any amount) equals one absence.

New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity
Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.

All reading and writing assignments are due on the days listed.

All texts will be provided in-class or on our course site (including readings on writing process/strategies to accompany our frequent in-class writing workshops). It is your responsibility to print out these texts and bring them to class with you. It is mandatory to have the assigned texts printed and in class when we are discussing them.

Additional texts may be added throughout the semester to supplement the texts listed here.

You will notice that some days are devoted entirely to discussing reading, some days are devoted entirely to discussing writing, and some days we will discuss both reading and writing. Some classes require a heavy amount of reading and/or writing, so I encourage you to plan ahead.

Always consult the dynamic schedule on our OpenLab site (under Schedule) for the most up-to-date version of the schedule, access to readings, and more detail about assignments