Course Overview Policies

Part 1: Course Overview and Goals

In this course, we will examine the engineer’s role in the context of the modern world, approaching both the subjects of Engineers and the writing process with a thoughtful, critical eye. You will learn to write practical formats, including technical writing and informal reading responses; but we will also analyze and discuss expository and periodical writing in order to identify compositional strategies and refine our knowledge of effective writing. We will study several fundamental essay forms that will be critical to your education and are necessary to communicate within the field of engineering. We will discuss revision as an integral part of the writing process, and you will learn to apply useful strategies to your own papers. You will learn, by semester’s end, how to communicate your knowledge, plans, and ideas in a professional manner.

Course Requirements

1. Blog Posts and other Informal Writing
Throughout the term, you will be asked to compose small pieces for the class blog, often in response to something we've read or as a form of pre-writing for one of our larger-scale writing projects. These posts may be relatively informal in tone, and the audience for them will usually be your peers in this class. Consider these posts a place to try out new ideas, to experiment freely, and to learn from your peers.

2. Reflective Annotated Bibliography
As a class, we will be constructing a Reflective Annotated Bibliography covering all the texts we read this term. Each entry will be collaboratively written by two students, and will contain a summary of the assigned text and an analytical response that relates the reading to the ideas and work of our class. Each student will be assigned two articles or chapters near the beginning of the term, and it will be each pairing's responsibility to post the entry for that reading by the date listed on the syllabus.

3. Genre study in Technical Communication (Unit 1 project)
In groups of 4 or 5, students will select a genre of technical communication to study in depth. Each group will produce a webpage characterizing the qualities of that genre, analyzing its function in the professional or academic world of engineering, and providing an overview that uses original examples to teach novice technical writers to produce and evaluate works in this genre.

3. Discourse Analysis Project (Midterm)
Each student will develop and undertake an original research study related to writing or communication within an academic or professional engineering context. These projects will use the tools of discourse analysis to investigate how, exactly, members of a specific discourse community use writing and communication. Students will present the results of their study in a research report of at least 2000 words, which will be accompanied by a 200 word abstract. Students will be given a chance to revise this project in the second half of the term to earn above contract grade.

5. Group Research Project and Oral Presentation (Unit 3 project)
In groups of 4 or 5, students will develop a research study focused on some aspect of academic or professional writing relavent to the field of engineering. Students will use the tools of writing process analysis (studying how writers write in given situations or under given constraints) or the tools of genre analysis (studying how written genres function) or some other method of data gathering to stage an experiment to test a hypothesis related to writing in professional or academic contexts. Groups will write up their results in a collaboratively written report and will also present their process and conclusions in an oral presentation. Students who earn positive reviews from their group mates and from the audience of their oral presentation will earn above contract grade.

5. Portfolio
At the end of the term, students will submit a final portfolio of all the written work completed in the term. A cover letter will introduce the portfolio and contextualize the pieces within the student's overall experience in the course.

Course Outcomes

The English department has developed a list of course outcomes for all Engl 210.07 courses. I have added a few of my own to fit the unique aspects of this section of the course:

  • compose a minimum of 25 pages of evaluated writing.
  • summarize, paraphrase, and respond critically and analytically to scientific documents and writing pertaining to the field of engineering.
  • read, think, discuss, and write critically and analytically (recognizing patterns, making distinctions and comparisons, responding to logical and rhetorical purpose) about the subjects of engineering and writing
  • plan, compose, edit and revise written work in different technical essay formats related to the field of engineering, such as: abstracts, memos, argumentative essays, technical descriptions, lab reports, project proposals, and critical responses.
  • compose effectively structured technical writing formats with a clear, achieved purpose that integrate source material effectively and appropriately, making appropriate scholarly use of summary, quotation, paraphrasing, and research.
  • successfully design and present an original project in a collaborative (team) format.
  • compose a final portfolio that presents and reflects on your writing skills and ideas about writing in engineering.

Part 2. Required and Suggested Texts

Please obtain the following two required textbooks, which have been ordered at the CCNY Bookstore:

Technical Writing for CCNY, 2013 (only available at the bookstore)

Suggested Purchases
Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. Writing about Writing: A College Reader. New York: Bedford/St. Martin, 2011.
List price: $45.16

Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. CCNY-cover, 7th edition.
List price: $47.75.

Part 3. Grading Contract

To download the Grading Contract as a printable file, click here.

If you have not yet signed and submitted your contract to Andrew, please do so as soon as possible; students who have not signed the contract by the end of the second week of classes will not be permitted to remain in the class.

Part 4: Participation and Technology policy

We’ll be doing a great variety of in-class writing and collaborative projects, so always bring assigned texts, paper, pens, laptop, iPad—whatever you need to write. This classroom is first and foremost a workspace, so bring your tools. It’s an auditorium second, where you will both listen and be listened to. Bring your tools for that every day, too—ears, voice, and attention. You may also bring food, water, and whatever electronics you need to do our work. The operative word is work. Texting should wait until 1:45pm (unless we compose in SMS, which has its uses).

Part 5: Academic Integrity

Do not represent the work, ideas, or words of other people as your own (this includes your peers as well as the published works we read). I would always rather see your thoughts and words on the page than someone else’s, even if you think someone else says it “better.” We will discuss ways to give credit to other writers and thinkers in our work throughout the term. Like any academic skill, we must get acclimated to this convention of academic discourse. If ever you are in doubt, I am always willing to discuss issues around giving credit to outside sources. The university’s policy on academic integrity can be found here:

Part 6: Accommodation for Learning Differences

I am devoted to providing a safe and accessible learning environment for all the students in this class, irrespective of native language, physical ability, age, lifestyle, or gender. I want this course to work for every student, and that often means adapting my teaching and evaluation methods to suit each student's ways of learning. If for any reason you require accommodation to complete the work of this course, please let me know as soon as you can. See the resources available to students through the CCNY AccessAbility Center at

Part 7 : Writing Center and Other Writing Resources

CCNY Writing Center:
I encourage you to advantage of the excellent tutoring services available through the CCNY Writing Center . The writing center is located at the Amsterdam Ave. Plaza, just outside the NAC’s side. For more information, see:

Online writing resources:
I will periodically point you to online resources through the library website or online writing labs. These will be listed in the bar to the left.

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