Writing and Communication Program

LMC 3403: Technical Communication

School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Georgia Institute of Technology

Summer  2016

Contact Information

LMC 3403- SL1

Class Meeting: MW 10:00-11:45 Skiles 302

Office Building: Stephen C. Hall, room 121

Office Hours: Wednesday 9- 10:00 (By Appointment)

Please let me know prior to my office hours that you will be attending to ensure that there will not be any miscommunication. I can also meet by appointment, but please give 24 hours advance notice to work out a meeting time and place.
Please email me if you have questions or concerns. If you want me to take a look at a draft, please be sure to ask specific questions for me to consider and address (see email etiquette below).

Website: T-square and https://gatechnicalsum16.wordpress.com/

Email: julia.smith@lmc.gatech.edu

*Email is the preferred method of communication. All email must be professional and sent from a Georgia Tech email. The subject line should read LMC 3403—and a description of email topic. I will not respond to emails, which are not written professionally.

Communicating with Instructor

All email to me must be professional according to the guidelines provided on the first day of class (see me if you missed the first day). Address me as Dr. Smith. Keep your email specific and clear. I should know what you want me to do in order to easily respond. Emails to me are likely the most professional you will ever have to write, but at least you will know how in the future. Unprofessional emails or emails that do not ask for a response will not receive a response.

Course Description

Ever try to explain a project you are working on in your major to someone only to be met with blank stares and a confused expression? Professionals frequently face this problem, because they have to explain highly technical information to an audience, which has varying ranges of expertise in the subject. In this LMC 3403 course, students will use the industry of serious gaming to examine real world examples of technical communication in order to assess the importance of audience and rhetorical context (scene, problem, argument, purpose).  Students will then produce their own technical communication deliverables (artifacts) according to the WOVEN  (Writing, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Non-Verbal) principles of the program.

Serious gaming is a growing billon dollar market consisting of the production of games designed to help people learn or respond to a problem, such as poverty, driving, or war (as examples).  The industry merges fun and real world issues to help create change.  In this course, we will be using this industry as the basis for learning technical communication by creating our own game concepts.  We will need to develop our game concepts in order to best explain our ideas to other people.  The better we are able to describe the game, explain its merits, instruct on how to play the game, and discuss how best to market or manufacture the game, the more likely we will be able to persuade investors and build an audience for our work.

Professionalism

All LMC 3403 students are required to exhibit professionalism at all times. This mandate stipulates that all students must actively participate by being engaged, prepared, and curious. Active participation means much more than just showing up to class on time, though that is a factor. Active participation means doing the readings, asking questions, and adding to the class discussion on daily basis. In addition, all students will complete all assignments on time, arrive to class or conferences on time, be prepared with course work and materials, treat all other employees respectfully, and turn off all cell phones. The misuse of computers such as looking at Facebook during class time or iming friends is also considered unprofessional. Any of these incidents will result in repercussions, which will include first a warning and then a loss of a letter grade from your professionalism grade for the day. Any group work or assignments will have an accompanying professionalism grade, which requires group members to actively participate, complete work on time, and demonstrate responsible behavior towards group members and over the final product.

A:   Lively and consistent engagement in discussions; Applies and/or challenges readings; Engages with and/or motivates peers; brings in texts and materials; takes notes; does in-class work expertly

B:   Actively listens in class and occasionally comments; Good collaboration with classmates; Prepared and participates actively in individual and group work; Sometimes tardy; brings in materials most of the time; sometimes takes notes; does in-class work competently.

C:   Tends to look disengaged; Might use phone or laptop for purposes not related to class; Often tardy; Problematic collaboration with classmates; does in-class work.

D:  Sleeps in class; Rarely pays attention and/or is disruptive; Frequently tardy or absent; Unprepared for peer review or group meetings; does in-class work inconsistently.

F:   Doesn’t attend class often; Sleeps through class when present, or disengaged; Disruptive and/or disrespectful to class/group

Expected Student Outcomes

Rhetoric—learn how to construct rhetorically sound technical communication documents which begin by taking into consideration (1) Rhetorical Principles—invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery (2) Rhetorical Situations—purpose, agent, scene, act, agency (3) Rhetorical Conventions and Strategies—audience awareness, ethos, pathos, logos, topoi, rhetorical devices

Process— practice fashioning a wide range of deliverables from emails to reports to video pitches. The deliverables will be composed, revised and edited through a process, which will culminate in an end of term project. Students will also have the opportunity to collaboratively plan, compose, and design many of their assignments.

Modes and Media—compose in a variety of modes and media—written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal—singly and in combination.

Design—arrange documents and other artifacts using visual and aural elements according to consistent, efficient, and effective principles.

Required Materials

  • Anderson, Paul V. Technical Communication: A Reader Centered Approach. 8th March 19, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1133309819
  • Additional Readings on T-square
  • Access to computer (please bring laptop to class)
  • Any addition expenses for completing assignments (printing, software, etc.)
  • Regular access to your GA Tech email and T-square

Note: All LMC3403 employees have access to resources at the Institute for learning and using technology. These resources include:

Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Common Policies

This course adheres to the program-wide policies and outcomes established by the Writing and Communication Program. These policies are essential components to this syllabus memo and can be found here: Link 

Course Policies
These policies are required additions to the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Common Policies above.

Absences
Absences will work much like the business world. You will have two absences no questions asked, but you have to send me an email prior to class to have them count as ‘sick days.’ If you miss more days or do not email, then your participation grade will drop by one-third a letter grade from your final grade. Each additional absence after the allotted number deducts one-third of a letter grade from a student’s final grade. Missing six (6) classes in a summer session course results in automatic failure of the class. I will be keeping an official record of attendance, but you are expected to keep your own record as well.

  • Attendance requirement. Students may miss a total of two (2) short summer session classes or three (3) long summer sessions classes over the course of the semester without penalty.
  • Reasons for absences. The attendance policy does not make any distinction about the reasons for your absences. Only absences officially exempted by the Institute (e.g., due to participation in official GATech athletics, to religious observance, to personal or family crisis and excused by documentation from the Dean of Students) will not be counted among your allotted absences. These exemptions are difficult to get.
  • Responsibility for missed work. Students are responsible for finding out what they may have missed while absent from class and what policy the instructor has for making up missed work.
  • Absence penalties. Each additional absence after the allotted number deducts one-third of a letter grade from a student’s final grade. Missing four (4) classes in a short summer session course or six (6) classes in a long summer session course results in automatic failure of the class.
  • Tardy policy. Being more than 5 minutes late to class will automatically result in a tardy; three tardies will result in an absence. However, being more than 15 minutes late will result in an absence. It is incredibly rude to your fellow classmates and disrupts the flow of the class situation to be frequently late.

Late Work
This late work policy supplements the WCP Common Policies above. All assignments will be submitted to T-Square. If an assignment is due for an in-class workshop day, it is due prior to the start of class. If an assignment is officially due, then it must be submitted by 11:55 pm of the day its due unless otherwise stated on the course calendar. If the assignment is submitted late, you will lose 1/3 a letter grade for each day late (day of the week not class day). So if you were to submit your work on Monday and you submitted it on Wednesday than you would lose 2/3 letter grade off your grade.

Since all assignments are on the course website from the beginning of the semester and all assignments are submitted electronically, I will generally not accommodate an extension. However, if you have an emergency, you must email me 24 hours before the assignment is due to negotiate a possible extension.

Assignments Overview

5%       Game Invention Documents

5%       Web Analysis

5%       Instruction and Process Manuals

10% Infographic

10%     Game Pitch Video

10%     Usability Report

15%     Participation
Prepared (have textbooks and materials), Taking Notes, Daily Mini Assignments, Contribute to Class Discussion)

20%     Game Demo and Report

20%     Final

Will require an in-depth understanding of material discussed in class and will be based on daily mini assignments and major assignments.

All documents should be rhetorically sound and edited. All documents should be saved with yourlastname_documentname.docx or yourlastname_documentname.pdf.

Failure to submit documents appropriately will result in a loss of 1/3 a letter of grade off the assignment. These documents should be submitted to T-Square. Students should keep a record of all documents submitted and the feedback received.

All assignments will receive a letter grade (B). Each assignment will have its own rubric based on the WCP program rubric and each assignment will have guidelines written out on the course website and discussed in class.

Failure in any major assignment (15 % or higher) might result in a failure of the course.

Description of Major Assignments/Projects
Below you will find a description of the major assignments. Further details will be found on the course website.

Game Invention
To initiate the production of our serious game, you will be composing a memo designed to present an argument about the best topic (or at least a topic that you are interested in) for your serious game. You will also be creating a brief 30 sec pitch to convince others of your gaming idea.

Web Design Analysis
Using the principles of design discussed in class, you will be labeling and explaining the design attributes found on two different websites in order to compare and contrast how those websites made use of design in order to reach their audiences.

Infographic
You will be creating an infographic which provides a rhetorical argument and research about serious games. While the general argument must be about serious games, the specific argument should be about the type of serious game you and your group will be producing.

Instruction and Process Manuals
Based on the game you are designing with your group, you will be creating a 2-3 page instruction manual on a part of the game.  You will also create a 2-3 page manual describing the process of how the game works.

Game Pitch Video
You and your group member will create a video designed to convince an investor or create a fan base for your game. The video will be no more than 5 minutes long and should include images and voice overs.  The videos will be shown in class.

Usability Report
You and your group members will test your game for usability in order to make sure your instructions and the game itself are functioning for the audience. Based on your usability testing you will write a short report.

Game Demo and Report
Over the course of the semester, you and your group will be creating a game demo for your game. The demo needs to address a specific audience, detail the games theme and process, and persuade the audience to invest either financially or emotionally into the game.

Your game should be turned in with an accompanying description, specification sheet, and detailed instructions. These accompanying forms need to be well designed for a specific audience.

Grade Concerns
I am always available to talk to you about your grade concerns. However, I ask you to respect the following guidelines.

Please wait 48 hours after receiving a graded assignment before coming to me with concerns. I took a great deal of time to respond to your work, so please take some time to consider your response and consider all my feedback before you come to talk with me.

This action is a good policy for any information given to you that invokes an emotional response. It provides you with some distance. Take the time to read my feedback, the assignment prompt, the assignment rubric, and your class notes. If you have any questions or concerns after the time period, I will be happy to address them or meet with you. I will not respond to emails, which arrive during this 48 window.

Additionally, if you would like to schedule a grade concern meeting, please do so within one week of receiving the graded assignment; this will allow your performance to remain fresh in both of our minds and will allow you to stay informed about your standing in the class as the semester progresses.

Since this is a class emphasizing communication and argumentation, I ask you to prepare a claim and evidence for any grade questions that you have. Please come to our meeting with the following in writing: a claim about why you believe that you met or exceeded the graded requirements of the assignment and at least 2 pieces of evidence from the work to support your claim.

Revision of Assignments
Since this class emphasizes the writing process, you are asked to think about writing and communication in multiple stages: invention (brainstorming), drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. We will be doing each of these stages in class including revisions through our work during workshopping and peer review. To work on revision further, you will be allowed to revise one major assignment for the semester in order to develop making your submitted projects as rhetorically sound as possible with the exception of the final project.

To revise, please follow these guidelines:

  1. If you have lost points for turning in late work, you will not get those points back by revising.
  2. If you plan to revise an assignment, you must arrange to meet with me no later than one week after the assignment has been returned. At this meeting, you must propose the changes you intend to make in a one page memo. Revisions are due one week after meeting with me. I will not accept late revisions, so plan your time accordingly.
  3. Just submitting a revision does not automatically mean you will receive a bump up in your grade. Instead, I expect to see substantial changes to your work. Do not assume I marked every single error, because I am not copy editing your work. Therefore, your changes mean not only altering the work based on my comments, but also going beyond the comments to further improve your work.
  4. In the beginning when I grade each assignment, I will be focusing on different aspects of the grading rubric such as rhetorical awareness, stance, delivery etc. which will be detailed in the assignments and on the individual assignment rubrics. But your revisions and later assignments should be edited for all of the aspects of rhetorical soundness we will be discussing in class. Also, each assignment must be edited for grammar, mechanics, organization, and coherence.

Accommodations
Georgia Tech supports students through ADAPTS (Access Disabled Assistance Program for Tech Students). Any student who may require an accommodation for a documented disability should inform me as soon as possible or as soon as you become aware of your disability. Anyone who anticipates difficulties with the content or format of the course due to a documented disability should arrange a meeting so we can create a workable plan for your success in this course. ADAPTS serves any Georgia Tech student who has a documented, qualifying disability. Official documentation of the disability is required to determine eligibility for accommodations or adaptations that may be helpful for this course. Please make sure I receive a Faculty Accommodation Letter form verifying your disability and specifying the accommodation you need. ADAPTS operates under the guidelines of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • Visit: Smithgall Student Services Bldg, Suite 210 on 353 Ferst Drive
  • Email: adapts@vpss.gatech.edu.
  • Call: 404-894-2563 (V); 404-894-1664 (TDD); 404-894-9928 (fax)

Academic Misconduct
One serious kind of academic misconduct is plagiarism, which occurs when a writer, speaker, or designer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, images, or other original material or code without fully acknowledging its source by quotation marks as appropriate, in footnotes or endnotes, in works cited, and in other ways as appropriate (modified from WPA Statement on “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism”). If you engage in plagiarism or any other form of academic misconduct, you will fail the assignment in which you have engaged in academic misconduct and be referred to the Office of Student Integrity, as required by Georgia Tech policy. I strongly urge you to be familiar with these Georgia Tech sites:

The second serious kind of academic misconduct is the requesting of grade alterations at the end of the semester. I will NOT negotiate grades. If you notice a mathematical error or have a question, then you are welcome to politely bring it to my attention. Asking for additional points however is cheating and will not be condoned. It is also cheating and unfair to other students if you ask to have a B+ grade bumped up to an A. Both of these actions are violations of the GA Tech Student Integrity codes. I will not respond to emails asking for additional points or grade changes of any kind.

Syllabus Modifications
This syllabus—especially the required reading and assignment schedule—may be modified as the semester progresses to meet course outcomes and address the needs of members of the class.