Markel, Mike. Technical Communication .  Tenth ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. E-Book.

The Writer's Harbrace Handbook, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, or other grammar and style guide (optional).


Expect to attend class every day prepared, with all reading and writing assignments done. Bring any supplementary materials with you. 


To be as fair as possible, our course policy allows you a number of "free" absences (three for MWF; two for TT).  These are absences that you can take with no penalty, grade-wise.   As a result, "excused" absences are not granted, so plan any absences accordingly.  Absences in excess of the allowed will lower your attendance grade (see Grades).  Perfect attendance will earn you extra credit.  Of course, if you find yourself in an extreme situation or emergency, please let me know in advance.  I am often able to work with students if I know of these situations early.


Most importantly, be sure to attend and be prepared for in-class draft workshops (also called "peer reviews").    The more complete your rough drafts are, the more you will benefit from the session.  You will make high quality, truly helpful comments on your classmates' papers and consider your classmates' comments in revising your own work.  I could go on and on about the benefits of draft workshops on the quality (and grades) of student work, but I suspect you will discover those benefits soon enough.


 If you must miss a draft workshop, take your draft to the Writing Center.  The Writing Center will inform me of your session.


Under no circumstances will I accept a "final" assignment unless I've seen your rough draft.



I encourage you to see me anytime.  Have questions about an assignment? Want to try out some new ideas? Need help with your writing?  Want to suggest ways to improve the course?  Happen to be walking by the building?  Come see me.  Really. 

You may also take your ideas and/or written work to the Undergraduate Writing Center (219 Boucke, 863-3240), where trained peer tutors are available.  No appointment is necessary. 

Grades and Assignments

Your final grade will be determined by the grades you receive on written and in-class assignments, according to the following weighting:


  • Assignment 1: Job Application Packet                                             10%
  • Assignment 2: Professional Blog                                                       15%
  • Assignment 3: Technical Definition and Description                     10%
  • Assignment 4: Instruction Set                                                           10%
  • Assignment 5: Video Podcast                                                            15%
  • Assignment 6: Redesign                                                                     15%
  • Reading Quizzes                                                                                   10%
  • Class Participation (Attendance)                                                       10%
  • Worksheets/home/in-class writing  assignments                           5%


Instructions for each assignment will be explained in detail. The Penn State grading scale does not allow the option of awarding final grades of C-, D+, or D-.

Grade scale (grade, minimum percentage): A 94; A-  90; B+ 87; B 85; B- 80; C+ 75; C 70; D 60; F 0.


General Grading Guidelines:

A = (Excellent) Indicates exceptional achievement
B = (Good) Indicates extensive achievement
C = (Satisfactory) Indicates acceptable achievement
D = (Poor) Indicates only minimal achievement
F = (Failure) Indicates inadequate achievement


Plagiarism (Cheating) and Other Policies

Academic Integrity - Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 49-20).

Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated in this course. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the University's Judicial Affairs office for possible further disciplinary sanction.

Talking over your ideas and getting comments on your writing from friends are NOT plagiarism. Taking someone else's published or unpublished words and calling them your own IS plagiarism: a synonym is academic dishonesty. When plagiarism amounts to an attempt to deceive, it has dire consequences, as spelled out in the English department regulations.

Disability Policy - The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities and is committed to the policy that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access, please tell me as soon as possible.




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