Course Policies


Drop Information: College and departmental guidelines require serious and compelling reasons to drop a course. Grades alone do not constitute a reason for dropping a course (see College catalogue). It is your responsibility to look-up SJSU’s last day to add and last day to drop dates.

Course Grade Distribution: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, and No Credit

Late Assignment: Deadlines are to be met. Barring personal crisis, family emergency, or severe illness (please let me know ahead of time), all late papers will be subject to one half grade off per day late. Except for abrupt crises, no requests for extensions will be heard within 24 hours before the due date (that includes for reasons of computer malfunctioning, minor illnesses or being "behind"). Finally, please refer to the revision policy (below) in considering whether or not you should turn in an "unfinished" formal writing assignment. Given the nature of formal and informal assignments, I will not accept late submissions. Late Assignments that cannot be rewritten, will receive a grade 10% lower than marked. Late assignments with a rewrite component, will forfeit the rewrite option for a grade increase. Assignments that have a rewrite component will be given an initial grade of ‘F’ if your instructor does not receive an “Extension Memo” requesting an extension without a penalty (we will cover this further in class).

Revision Policy: You may revise most formal writing assignments once during the semester (see assignment schedule). The rewritten assignment must be submitted with the original graded submission—no exceptions. If an original is not present, I will not grade the submitted document; if I do not have the original, graded assignment I do not know what you have corrected, changed, and/or improved about your document. Students may increase a grade by one if the following rules are followed:

Original assignment was turned-in on time and includes ALL required parts.

Rewrite is submitted on the date instructor states it is due.

Rewrite is placed in the order instructor has stated.

Original graded assignment accompanies the rewritten document.

No exceptions.

Submission Guidelines: ALL assignments submitted for credit must be/have:


Stapled (top left corner) (Exceptions: Proposal and Formal Report—these are bound)

Cover Sheet on top of submitted document (format covered in class)—no cover sheet equals no-credit

Audience Planning Form filled out completely

Document in correct order color report with your written comments

Course Policies: Because you may be working with technologies that are unfamiliar to you, this course will require your patience and time to deal with technology. Here are the technologies you should have ready access to for the course:

An E-mail account that lets you attach and receive files - this means that you need to have enough of your storage quota left to handle files for class. If you have an account and use something like Outlook for e-mail, you'll be fine. Accounts from third-party Internet Service Providers will also work, provided you have a POP or IMAP account.

Internet Access - you'll need a reliable way to browse the Web and store web-enabled files.

You will need Microsoft Office or similar office software, especially Word and Power Point. If you work from home, you should be prepared to transfer files across platforms and versions of software, if necessary.

Web authoring software - We'll be completing some web-related work, so it will be helpful to have software that supports web authoring. Even a simple visual editor such as Netscape Composer will be useful if you don't have access to a more full-featured package such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage for editing HTML, you can use a plain text editor like Notepad, though you can also use other code editors too if you like. For image creation and processing it will be handy, though not always essential to have access to Photoshop or a similar program.

In addition to having access to these technologies, you'll also need a positive attitude towards learning technologies with which you may be unfamiliar. In most cases, you will not need to be extremely experienced in the specific program or procedure you will be asked to do. Rather, you have to be patient and curious enough to keep trying until you learn the best way to work.

Attendance & Participation Policy: Attendance and participation in this class are very important. In this class, much like a lab, you will do much of the work in collaboration with your peers and in the time provided for class meetings; it can be difficult or impossible to make-up missed work. When working in collaboration with your classmates, a lack of participation will lead to animosity among your peers and, often, a poor end result for the entire team.

Assignment Policies:

You must complete all major assignments in order to pass this class.

Production guidelines for each document will be discussed in class. Please follow them. If you hand in documents that do not conform to the guidelines, they will be returned to you for correction before they are graded and/or receive a no-credit

If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out the assignments you missed and arrive prepared for the next class. Sign-up and stay in-touch with your Yahoo group for this purpose.

Computer Responsibilities:  You have the following computer-related responsibilities in this class:

You are expected to store primary and backup copies of your work, including drafts, e-mail, and notes, on your home directory and on backup media. Be prepared in the event that one of these backup methods fails! You are expected to check your e-mail regularly for updates to the schedule, new assignments, and messages. You are responsible for spending time outside of class to hone your computer skills and become knowledgeable with applications that are unfamiliar to you.  You are free to work on any computer you like to use outside of the class. However, you must be prepared to convert all in-class work, shared files for group projects, and electronically submitted files to the appropriate format (including computer platform, application, and version). You are responsible for learning and making any necessary cross-platform translations between machines.

Think of the network environment in this class as your workplace. Adapting to new computer systems, platforms, and software will be increasingly important as you progress in your professional development.

Academic Integrity: The CSU Student Handbook defines various forms of academic dishonesty and procedures for responding to them. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with these policies.

Plagiarism and Cheating: Plagiarism and Cheating are examples of student code violations at SJSU. All students caught cheating will be reported to the university and their grade will be dropped. At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one's own (without giving appropriate credit) regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes but is not limited to:

1.2.1 The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one's own work; and

1.2.2 Representing another's artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures or similar works as one's own.

WARNING: Students are required to turn-in ALL assignments to and provide their instructor with a printout of the report.  Assignments submitted without the report will be returned to the student and given “no credit” for the assignment (No Credit equals an ‘F’). No exceptions.

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. You should assume that I've made good decisions about the content and structure of the course; I should assume that the assignments you hand in are yours (that you are the one who produced them); and so on. Acts that violate this trust undermine the educational process. Technical Writing is an activity that relies heavily on collaboration; members of a writing team work with other writers, editors, programmers, engineers, human factors specialists, managers, and even customers. It would be unrealistic of me to assume that you will work in total isolation; that's not the way that the best jobs are done. (Some of the most unusable products, interfaces, and documents we encounter were developed by people who would not or did not work with others.) So, bounce ideas off each other and offer each other suggestions on how to improve assignments. By working with each other, you can increase your learning and understanding. Some of the projects for this class will be done as group projects. I'll expect that you understand the difference between "working together" and merely copying. I'll also offer explicit guidelines for turning in work that has been co-authored so that we can negotiate the terms of working together. Please ask if you have questions about the way your team is working and how your work, as an individual, will be evaluated.