Dr. Matthew K. Gold                                                                            M (online),W 4-5:15PM

Email:                                                         Section 5597

Phone:  (718) 260-4972                                                                         Room: Namm 601B

Office:  Namm 520                                                                                Spring 2013

Office Hours: W 5:15-6:15

& by appointment

Course Website:



“The ‘killer apps’ of tomorrow’s mobile infocom industry won’t be hardware devices or software programs, but social practices.”

— Harold Rheingold, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution (2002)


We live in an age when online social networks, mobile communications devices, distributed texting platforms, and digital photo and video cameras are connecting people and information in new ways.  Social networks are transforming our relations to the world, and our texting-enabled, video-capable, web-enhanced, multimedia-streaming pocket-sized mobile devices are helping to redefine not just the way we connect to and collaborate with other people, but also the way we connect to ourselves.


In the midst of these changes, terms like “technical” and “writing” have taken on new forms, shapes, and meanings.  We will take as our main task this semester testing the challenge named in the subtitle of one of our course texts this semester (David Weinberger’s Too Big To Know), as we “Rethink Knowledge Now that the Facts aren’t the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room.”


Prerequisites: ENG 1121/ENG 1133/EG 133 and MST 101 or equivalent





  • Experiment with networked communications technologies
  • Rethink your assumptions about technology
  • Rethink the assumptions of the field of technical writing
  • Play well with others
  • Foster a skeptical approach to ideas, technologies, and platitudes
  • Foster creativity in your academic work




  • Pringle, Alan S, and Sarah O’Keefe. Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Content. Research Triangle Park, NC: Scriptorium Press, 2009.
  • Weinberger, David. Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. New York: Basic Books, 2011.
  • Various handouts, online articles, and PDF files
  • A reliable computer/internet connection at home or school
  • a digital camera
  • a mobile phone with text-messaging capabilities




  • Short essays and assignments (50%)
  • Midterm project (15%)
  • Final project (25%)
  • Regular attendance and active classroom participation (10%)




This course will utilize the OpenLab (, and open academic environment for the City Tech community.




Attendance: Attendance is mandatory in this discussion-based course.  Students who miss more than three classes for any reason other than a documented emergency will lose one-third of their final grade for each additional absence.  Students who miss more than five classes are likely to fail the course.  If you miss class, you must contact your classmates to find out what you’ve missed.  In-class writing assignments cannot be made up.  Arriving after roll has been taken will count as a lateness and one-third of an absence.


Participation: The success of this course depends upon your regular and active participation in class discussions. To receive full credit for participation, you must make constructive contributions to our classroom discussions.  This includes the completion of all reading and writing assignments.


Please do not read or write text messages in class unless asked to do so by Professor Gold, as this activity is distracting and disrespectful.


Deadlines: You must adhere to your assigned dates and times. All assignments must be prepared prior to the class meeting, according to the due date and time, and fully complete.  If you need an extension, you must contact me at least 24 hours before the assignment is due to explain why an extension is necessary.  Late work will be penalized by one-third of a grade for each day it is late.


You will be responsible for all assignments and deadlines regardless of absences.  Hence, I strongly recommend that you have a contact person in the class from whom you can get assignments and notes in the event of an absence.

Email Etiquette:  In your email messages to me, please observe the rules of formal letter-writing etiquette:  begin each message with a greeting (“Dear Professor Gold”) and end each message with a closing (“Sincerely, Model Student”).  Avoid texting language (“hey prof. g?  How r u?”) or messages that contain only an attachment and no message.  Use standard punctuation and capitalization.  Messages that do not comply with this etiquette will not be read and will instead be responded to with a message saying “Please read the section in my syllabus on email etiquette.”


Incompletes:  Incomplete grades will not be given except under extraordinary circumstances, and even then, the student must have completed course work at a passing level and must complete a written agreement with me regarding the completion of the work.


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.


Plagiarism: DON’T DO IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!  The penalties for plagiarism in this course include failure of the course and additional academic sanctions;  I will report all incidences of plagiarism to City Tech’s Academic Integrity Officer.  If you are confused about what plagiarism is or have questions about how you should avoid it, please contact me before your paper is due.  Do not, under any circumstances, hand in plagiarized work.


Students With Disabilities:  Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible. I will work with the Student Support Services Program (Atrium 237 – 718-260-5143) to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.


Syllabus Disclaimer:  Any part of this syllabus may be revised during in the semester at the sole discretion of the instructor.




City Tech Learning Center:  Atrium G-18, (718) 260-5874

The Atrium Learning Center provides a wide range of free academic support services to City Tech students, including computer facilities, tutoring assistance, and workshops.  Tutors in the Learning Center can help you focus and develop your papers; please visit the center as often as possible this semester.


The Ursula C. Sherwin Library:  Atrium Fourth Floor, (718) 260-5485

It is my hope that you will become intimately familiar with the library this semester.  During the semester, we will meet with a librarian for a session on the effective use of online resources and literary databases.