Dr. Guiseppe Getto
Virtual Office Hours
T, Th 12:00 – 2:30 PM
I’m also available to meet outside these hours by appointment
According to ECU’s catalogue, this is a course in “Study of effective, ethical, responsible, technical, and professional communication theories, strategies, and conceptual knowledge needed to address a variety of communication tasks in a variety of contexts. Includes the use of emerging technologies as tools for communication.” As my research and that of others will attest, however, performing these activities now inevitably involves more complex social situations and technologies than ever before. Another way of saying this is that in this course we will be learning writerly moves that will help us perform as writers within professional social networks that are mediated by technology.
In order to develop these kinds of strategies, this will be a highly interactive and open-ended course. You will be responsible for researching industry contexts, creating high-quality documentation, and experimenting with new technologies that foster writing. Within this context, together we will research the ways in which technical writing is evolving as both a field of inquiry and everyday practice for millions of workers around the world.
Some of the key areas we will focus on in this class include:
- how emerging technologies are affecting the technical communication marketplace and related marketplaces
- what social and technical skill sets are essential for becoming a technical communicator, and how to keep learning on-the-job
- how to write documentation that is data-driven but people-centered
- important considerations for fostering a career through writing practices
- the evolution of the field of technical communication and what lies ahead for it in the future
- how technical communicators approach writing as a form of content useful for organizations (and that cannot be outsourced to software)
All writing courses require high levels of student-student and student-faculty interaction. Because our primary forms of interaction will happen online, and because of the highly collaborative nature of the course, you are therefore expected to complete assignments on time so that the course can move forward. Because illnesses and emergencies sometimes occur, you are permitted three 24-hour extensions to assignment due dates without penalty. After these three extensions are used, the late policies for assignments listed below come into effect. The exception to this is approved college activities, which you must notify me of at the beginning of the class. Otherwise, save your extensions for emergencies. Also: if you are going to be late on an assignment for any reason, you should check the course website to stay on track.
“Academic integrity is expected of every East Carolina University student. Academically violating the Honor Code consists of the following: cheating – the giving or receiving of any unauthorized aid or assistance or the giving or receiving of unfair advantage on any form of academic work; plagiarism – copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and adopting those as one’s original work; falsification – statement of untruth, either verbal or written, regarding any circumstances relating to academic work; and attempting any act which if completed would constitute an academic integrity violation as defined above. No student may drop the involved course or withdraw from school prior to resolving an academic integrity charge.” From: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/policyhub/academic_integrity.cfm.
Disruptive Classroom Behavior
“East Carolina University is committed to providing each student with a rich, distinctive educational experience. To this end, students who do not follow reasonable standards of behavior in the classroom or other academic setting may be removed from the course by the instructor following appropriate notice. Students removed from a course under this policy will receive a grade of ‘drop’ according to university policy and are eligible for tuition refund as specified in the current tuition refund policy.” From: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/ugcat/regulations.cfm#disruptive.
Participation and Classroom Citizenship Policy
As far as participation goes, this class is constructed in such a way that your own thinking, writing and participation will provide most of the material. We will be reading about, writing about, and doing lots of stuff that you need to react to, to respond to. Just like the culture in which we live, I want you to think of this class as a participatory democracy. It is your responsibility, then, to contribute to our classroom culture in the same way you will contribute to the larger culture: your peers and yourself will be generating lots of writing, thinking, theories, arguments and ideas that need to be shared, discussed and interrogated in critical, but respectful ways, meaning respectful of diverse viewpoints, experiences, and identities. This class is your class, in the same way that this culture is your culture. And just like the culture in which we live, you will also be held accountable for this participation in various ways, because without you here, every day, prepared to think and respond, it will self-destruct, or worse: interests beside your own (such as mine) will make the decisions that matter for you.
- Pringle, A. & O’Keefe, S. (2009) Technical writing 101: A real-world guide to planning and writing technical content. 3rd ed. Scriptorium. Available for free in EPUB: https://www.scriptorium.com/books/. Or in paperback from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XsRluK.
- Numerous other readings will be linked to from this website or posted to Blackboard as PDFs (locations of readings are always indicated in the schedule for each project, available here). You may download these to your computer or view them online at no expense, or may print them out at some expense.
50% (500 pts.) for Modules
- Module 1 (10%): Technical Writing Case Study
- Module 2 (10%): Engagement, Consulting, and Networking
- Module 3 (10%): Editing, Information Architecture, and Content Strategy
- Module 4 (10%): UX and Usability
- Module 5 (10%): Technical Documentation Research Proposal
30% (300 pts.) for the Final Project
10% (100 pts.) for Homework assignments (which will always be posted to the Schedule page ahead of time).
10% (100 pts.) Participation and Classroom Citizenship
- Small in-class and online activities (such as those conducted on Eli)
- Informal and more formal presentations
- Examples of your work for class discussion
Grading Scale For Class
The total points possible in this class are 1000. Final grades will be tallied via the following scale:
- A = 90-100% (900-1000)
- B = 80-89% (800-899)
- C = 70-79% (700-799)
- F = 69% or less (699 or less)
Grading Criteria for Class
- The grading criteria for each module and for the final project will be linked from each module and the final project before they are due. In general, however, my grading criteria for projects can be found here.
- The final project for the class will receive a zero if not turned in on time.
- Late modules will be downgraded 1.0 per day past the due date (the first reduction occurs at the end of the class in which the assignment is due). This includes days when our class does not meet.
- In the past, my policy has been to allow students to revise one module that they received an unsatisfactory grade on by the end of the semester. In order for me to re-evaluate a module, however, the writer must meet with me and make a proposal for what they plan to learn through the revision process, and, if I approve the revision, must submit a new cover letter detailing what they’ve changed and why.
- Homework assignments and other smaller assignments are graded pass-fail: “pass” means you did the assignment well, you did it completely, and you turned it in on time; “fail” means you didn’t do it well, didn’t do it completely, or turned it in late (or not at all). No single one of these miscellaneous exercises will have that much impact on your overall grade. However, collectively, they will have some impact.
- The smaller assignments in this class are important because they are steps on the way to the modules, which in turn are steps to the final project. Failure to do the smaller assignments will mean that you’ll miss a crucial step toward a module, and will fall behind in your writing and learning. Also, these small assignments should be places to play, experiment, and write.They are meant to be work for this class, but they are also meant to be enjoyable, creative, critical work. In order for you to be successful in doing them, then: you need to do them in the spirit of enjoyment, with an eye toward creating something new and interesting, and with your critical thinking cap on.
- A schedule will be posted for each module at least a week before the module is due. These schedules, as well as this syllabus in general, are subject to change. For the complete ECU academic calendar, visit: http://www.ecu.edu/fsonline/senate/fscalend.cfm.
University Writing Center
“The UWC is open and available to students, faculty, and staff to work with trained undergraduate and graduate writing consultants on writing at any stage of the writing process. Writers tend to benefit from having some idea of what they would like to discuss and work on in their writing consultation. For example, writers can consider various aspects of their writing assignment or where they are in their writing process for discussion during the session.”
For availability and to make an appointment, visit: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/writing/writingcenter/hours.cfm.
Students with Disabilities
If you have any special needs that you feel I should be aware of to assist you in your learning process, please make an appointment for a phone call or online chat. East Carolina University seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a disability must be registered with the Department for Disability Support Services located in Slay 138 ((252) 737-1016 (Voice/TTY)).
Emergency Weather or Other Interference with Delivery of This Course
In the event of a weather emergency, information can be accessed through the following sources: ECU emergency notices http://www.ecu.edu/alert or the ECU emergency information hotline at 252-328-0062. Should adverse weather, technology problems, or other situations interfere with delivery of this class, you will be contacted via email.
This syllabus represents a written contractual agreement between us. Occasionally, it may be necessary to revise this syllabus to meet students’ or university needs. I reserve the right to revise this syllabus if the need arises. Advance notification will be provided to you.