Course Syllabus

Technical Writing

Summer Quarter 2018


Instructor:                            Douglas Cole

Office:                                   R2330

Phone:                                  425 564 3211

Office Hours:                       by appointment


Recommended Texts:         Technical Communication (11th Edition), Mike Markel





Better Living Through Chemistry:


Welcome to the Technical side of writing.  It’s a practical world, full of practical ideas.  You are here to represent yourself and to cloak yourself in advertising.  You are here to shake the coat collar of your fellow citizens and inject a guerilla thought into the psychic bloodstream.  You are billboards, vanguards, erotic politicians.  Whatever it takes to catch the bromidic eye of the tranced-out drivers heading in and out of town.  You are slogan makers, city planners, advertising magnets, revolutionaries of the pen.  You are propaganda ministers, secret reporters, ad-men and women.  The revolution was never televised, and it’s happening every second. Which side are you on?


Critical Thinking and Language Proficiency:


Nothing happens in a vacuum except dust.  You are jostling with a thousand other qualified applicants for the same seat at the children’s table, noose at the gallows, name your poison!  But I tell you, you should always be sincere.  As the first “boss” I ever had once told me, “it’s not important that you be busy all the time but that you look busy”.  Know the difference.  That’s the core of critical thinking.  Keep your crap detectors on!  And no one’s going to listen to you if you can’t be comprehended!  Remember, language is a moveable feast, just know where you’re going.  So, in the process of code-switching, look into the eye of your imaginary audience and see if you are getting through.  That’s critical thinking and language proficiency, as far as this class is concerned!


Life-long learning, or "Did you know freedom exists in a schoolbook?" 

Resumes, cover letters, outlines, proposals, advertisements, scripts, you name it, we’re talking about it, practicing it.  This is the real world of writing.  If it happens in the real world of consumption, there’s usually a plan behind it, and that plan was written by someone.  So, always think of your experience as potential material for exploitation (to go on your resume!).  Always keep your mind open for a jingle.  Hone and tone your writing mind for the precision to influence.  The sound-bite is the new testament.  Brain worm.  And crowd-sourcing is the new collective consciousness.  If your writing pisses someone off, you might be on the right track.





Peer Reviews:


We will practice editing and revising, two essential and very real parts of the professional writing experience.  This editing will involve peer-group work.  Each piece of writing will go through a peer-group workshop.  You will then have an opportunity to revise your work before turning it in for assessment.



Writing Assignments:


Resumes, cover letters, outlines, proposals, advertisements, scripts that you are assigned will receive points for completion on time.  Everything is more or less a rough draft until you put it together in the portfolio at the end of the quarter.





The portfolio will be a collection of your work.  It will include all of the written material you have produced this quarter.  These pieces will be revised, of course.





Tutoring: College-Wide tutoring in all subjects is available all students in D 204.

Computer Center: Room N250.  Since all the writing assignments must be typed, if you do not have a typewriter or a word processor, you can use the computers on campus.


Assessment of Grades



Peer Reviews/Rough Drafts:                                                                                                   200

Each member of the class must submit work to peers for peer-review and provide feedback on work submitted by members of the peer-group. It is important to do this in a timely manner. Late submission of work for reviews or late responses or work submitted will lower this grade.



Written Assignments                                                                                                              300

Everything you write during the quarter will be treated as a rough draft until the portfolio, but it is important to have work completed on time and provide copies for your editorial group.  Late or incomplete work will result in a lowering of the grade in this category.



Portfolio                                                                                                                                  500

The portfolio will be a selection of your work.  Be sure to save the earlier, edited drafts with my comments on them.  You will include those as well.


Total:                                                                                                                                      1,000




Late papers will be penalized 10 points per day.  No papers will be accepted a week after they are due.  Late portfolios will have 20 points deducted per day.  There is no make-up work.




The online elements of this course are designed to be welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including students who are English-language learners, have a variety of learning styles, have disabilities, or are new to online learning. Be sure to let me know immediately if you encounter a required element or resource in the course that is not accessible to you. Also, let me know of changes I can make to the course so that it is more welcoming to, accessible to, or usable by students who take this course in the future.

Affirmation of Inclusion

Bellevue College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the campus community feels welcome to participate in the life of the college, free from harassment and discrimination.

We value our different backgrounds at Bellevue College, and students, faculty, staff members, and administrators are to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Affirmation of Inclusion (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity

Any act of academic dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism (using the ideas or words of another as one’s own without crediting the source), and fabrication and inappropriate/disruptive classroom behavior are violations of the Student Code of Conduct at Bellevue College. Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, talking out of turn, arriving late or leaving early without a valid reason, allowing cell phones/pagers to ring, and inappropriate behavior toward the instructor or classmates. The instructor can refer any violation of the Student Code of Conduct to the Dean of Student Success for investigation. Specific student rights, responsibilities, and appeal procedures are listed in the Student Code of Conduct at: Student Code (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Confidentiality and Mandatory Reporting

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. It is my goal that you feel able to share information related to your life experiences in classroom discussions, in your written work, and in our one-on-one meetings. I will seek to keep information you share private to the greatest extent possible. However, I am required to share with the Title IX Coordinator any and all information regarding sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct (e.g. dating violence, domestic violence, stalking) that may have occurred on campus or that impacts someone on campus. Students may speak to someone confidentially by contacting the BC Counseling Center at (425) 564-2212. The Title IX Office can be contacted at 425-564-2641 and more information can be found at Title IX (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(

If you have any concerns, you may report to: Report Concerns (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(


General Writing Rubric








Written work has clear and appropriate beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also clear and appropriate

Written work has adequate beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also adequate

Written work has either adequate beginning, development, or conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also adequate

Written work has weak beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also deficient.

Organizational structure and paragraphing have serious and persistent errors.


The length of the written work provides in-depth coverage of the topic, and assertions are clearly supported by evidence.

The length of the written work provides good coverage of the topic, and assertions are appropriately supported by evidence.

The length of the written work is sufficient to cover the topics, and assertions are supported by evidence.

Written work does not do an adequate job of covering the assigned topic, and assertions are weakly supported by evidence

Written work does not cover the assigned topic, and assertions are not supported by evidence



    Course Summary:

    Date Details Due