PRINCE GEORGE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
EGL 134 – Composition II: Writing about Technical Topics
Instructor: Dr. Paul Madachy, English Dept
Phone: (301) 322-0836
department phone number: (301) 322-0561
I will respond to all email within 48 hours. Please do not expect an immediate response to any email, particularly emails sent late at night or just before class.
The written communication of ideas is an essential element to almost every conceivable job. Proposals, evaluations, feasibility studies, experiments, pamphlets, presentations, progress reports—even job applications themselves—are all examples of technical writing that most employees in any field are likely to encounter. This class attempts to provide practical experience for students who will encounter many of these types of documents in their future professions.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
1) Analyze audience needs and accommodate them in writing.
2) Use a variety of composition modes effectively, including description, definition, comparison/contrast, and process.
3) Present technical information, explanations, and recommendations clearly and effectively, using formal grammar, usage, mechanics, and formats.
4) Prepare reports, proposals, abstracts, memoranda, and career-related communications, researching and documenting primary and secondary sources appropriately.
5) Identify legal, ethical, and cultural considerations regarding technical communication.
6) Prepare employment résumé and application letter.
This course consists of five documents of varying length: a process analysis, a résumé/cover letter, an abstract, a progress memo, and an extended group proposal. Students will also give a group presentation toward the end of the semester. The course also involves a great deal of groupwork (some of which will take place outside of class), reading, and additional, smaller writing assignments.
Format for Assignments
All external assignments must be typed or produced on a word processor. Word processing is preferable because it makes the mechanics of revision--rearranging, adding and deleting--much easier. If you do not have your own computer, computer labs are available on campus with word processing software that is easy to learn.
Since this course focuses on writing as a process, I would like to see all of the work that leads to the final paper. So when you turn in your final draft, place it in a folder with pockets, and include all efforts that led to the final (prewriting, peer response evaluation, rough drafts). That way we can keep track of your progress on the specific writing features you need to work on.
Since this course requires the creation of papers that require different formats, more detailed information will be given with each assignment.
Attendance is required.
You are responsible for what goes on in class, whether you are present or not, so, if you are absent, seek out another student for an explanation of what was covered that day. Moreover, since the class involves group activities throughout the semester, missing class can directly affect your grade. This course operates in part as a workshop, where writing and peer reviewing activities take place in class. In addition, there is a heavy emphasis on class participation. Therefore, consistent attendance is essential to the satisfactory completion of this course. You may have two (2) absences in this class without official penalty. For each absence after that, your class participation grade will be lowered by one grade. Habitual lateness is also a problem as it results in missed information on the student’s part and a distraction for the rest of the class, and will also affect your class participation grade.
If you miss a class, you are responsible for finding out what you missed—talk to a classmate to get any notes or announcements.
If essays are due on a day that the college is closed, the new due date is the next class session. Check the PGCC website (www.pgcc.edu) for school closing information. In the event that the instructor has to cancel a class unexpectedly, a notice will be posted on the classroom door with instructions regarding the schedule.
Process Analysis 100
Résumé/Cover Letter 150
Progress Report 50
Oral Presentation 100
Class participation includes homework, in-class writings, draft workshops, peer evaluations and taking an active role in the class. In order to pass the course, all major documents and presentations must be completed—no incomplete grades will be given for this class.
Late papers will be marked down one letter grade for each day they are late. If you have a valid reason for your lateness (which does not include printing problems, for example—make sure you do not wait until the last minute to print out your paper because something not only can go wrong but often does), please talk to me as soon as possible. I will not accept papers that are more than one week late without a very good reason. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the day they are listed on the syllabus. All essays must be completed in order to pass the course.
If you are unable to attend class on the day that an assignment is due, you may email me the assignment any time before that class to receive credit for turning it in on time. You must also bring a hard copy of the assignment to the next class.
Revising: each student may revise one paper that receives a grade of D or lower (if the paper was not handed in late), not including the final group proposal. If you wish to revise a paper, you must meet with me to discuss your plan of revision, and resubmit it to me one week from the date of that meeting. Rewrites will be graded and then averaged with the original grade to produce the final grade for that document.
Academic Integrity (Plagiarism)
Don’t do it. Plagiarism is illegal, unethical, and dishonest. It is taking someone else’s language or ideas and using them as your own. Plagiarism puts both of us in an extremely difficult situation. If you have any questions about your work or how to cite the work of others, feel free to come talk to me. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty and plagiarism.
There are five basic forms of plagiarism:
1) copying a source word for word without using quotation marks and without identifying the source
2) extensive borrowing of words and phrases from a source without using quotation marks and without identifying the source
3) too close paraphrasing
4) using others’ ideas or information (including graphics, statistics, observations, or research data and findings) without giving credit to the source in the text of your paper or in a footnote or endnote
5) submitting the work of someone else as your own.
Plagiarized work will receive a zero for that assignment, and may be referred to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services for disciplinary action.
Support Services (
Students requesting academic accommodations are required to contact the Disability Support Services Office (M-1042) or call (301) 322-0838 (voice) or (301) 322-0122 (TTY) to establish eligibility for services and accommodations. Students with documented disabilities should discuss the matter privately with me at the beginning of the semester and provide a copy of their Student/Faculty Accommodation Form.
Students may bring in snack foods only (i.e. chips/candy from a vending machine) and drinks as long as they maintain a clean classroom—no meals, please. Upon the first spill or trash left behind, food will be prohibited.
No food is permitted in any computer labs on campus.
When you feel the need for more guidance with your writing, you can see me during my office hours, schedule an appointment with me, or use PGCC’s available resources:
Bladen Hall, Room 100; 301-322-0090
<www.pgcc.edu/pgweb/pgdocs/student_services/student_assessment_services.htm)> (Check the web site for hours and policies and procedures.)
Bladen Hall, Room 107
(Stop by or call 301-322-0748 to make an appointment.)
you have the feeling that something is missing from your studies, the
· Student Development Services: 301-322-0886
Student Development Services has various programs that provide students with mentoring, advising and individual counseling. Call or check the website for more information.
· Library (Accokeek Hall); <www.pgcc.edu/library>
General information: 301-322-0105
Circulation services: 301-322-0475
Reference services: 301-322-0476
The Learning Resources Division provides a range of library and media services.
Refer to the web site for hours and more information about the services.
· Campus Bookstore <www.pgcc.edu/pgweb/pgdocs/bookstore.html>
All cell phones/pagers must be turned off (or put on silent mode) before class begins.
By remaining in this class, you agree to adhere to the course policies as outlined above
(This syllabus is subject to change upon notification)
All assignments/readings are due on the date they are listed (except the first class)
Bring Technical Communication (TC) to every class, even if no readings are listed
Jan. 24 Tu Course introduction
26 Th Process Analysis assigned and discussed
31 Tu Visual elements
Feb. 2 Th Audience and Exigence
7 Tu Draft workshop (Process Analysis)
Due: Complete, typed draft of paper
9 Th Definitions
Due: Process Analysis
14 Tu Definitions
16 Th Résumé and Cover Letter assigned and discussed
21 Tu Revising
Introduction to collaborative writing
23 Th Proposal assigned and discussed
Abstract assigned and discussed
28 Tu Draft workshop (Résumé/Cover Letter)
Due: Complete, typed draft of paper
Mar. 2 Th Persuasive argument and rhetorical appeals
Due: Résumé/Cover Letter
7 Tu Persuasive Argument
9 Th Research techniques
14 Tu Student Conferences
16 Th Student Conferences
21 Tu Groupwork on Proposals
23 Th Ethics and documentation
28 Tu Draft workshop (Abstract)
Due: Complete, typed draft of paper
30 Th Progress Report assigned and discussed
Apr. 4 Tu Creating effective presentations
Due: Progress Report
10-16 No Class—Spring Break
18 Tu Appliance manual analysis
Due: Bring in a manual from any appliance/electronics/assembly- required item along with short (1 page) analysis of its effectiveness
20 Th Groupwork: preparing the presentation and proposal
April 21st is the last day to withdraw from 15-week classes
25 Tu Groupwork: preparing the presentation and proposal
27 Th Oral Presentations
May 2 Tu Oral Presentations
4 Th Review