CS Junior Design and Technical Communication

Location

Molecular Sciences and Engineering 1224

Times

Section JDA, MWF 10:10-11:00 am

Section JDB MWF 11:15-12:05 am

Instructors

Dori Coblentz (Technical Communication)

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 9-10 am and by appointment at Skiles 307

Cedric Stallworth (Computer Science)

Office Hours by appointment at 356 CC (office is subject to change over the course of the semester)

Section Overview

This section of Technical Communication Strategies is integrated with Computer Science Junior Design. By combining these two classes, students can practice their communication strategies in conjunction with their own evolving design project. This applied context involves communicating with users, audiences, and clients outside of the classroom. With this more realistic rhetorical situation, the stakes are higher, but so are the gains. By the end of the second semester Implementation course, students will be able to produce and document a software solution to a real-world problem.

Material below is reproduced with permission from the Writing and Communication Program at Georgia Tech

Course Overview

This course is part 1 of a two-semester Junior Design capstone course that includes a computer science and technical communication component.  This semester teams will develop a software solution to a problem defined either by a client or the team.  The semester culminates in the development of a prototype and its demonstration in a formal presentation.  Supporting deliverables that teams create include a project vision statement, user stories, and a usability/design support document.  The series of deliverables students create will integrate written, oral, visual, electronic and nonverbal (WOVEN) rhetorical skills for various audiences, purposes, and contexts applicable to students’ professional experiences in the workplace.

Course Prerequisites: CS 2340 and ENGL 1102

 

Required Texts

●      Alred, Gerald J., Charles T. Brusaw and Walter E. Olio. Handbook of Technical Writing. 11th ed. Boston & New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.

●      Shore, James  The Art of Agile, http://www.jamesshore.com/Agile-Book/

●     Additional readings may be assigned.  If assigned, these will be available on Canvas.

Required Materials

  • Canvas access. Canvas is used to organize course resources and to display grades.
  • GitHub (github.com) is a team version control site which includes wiki and issue tracker. We will be using this for project management and to facilitate client handover of the project.  You may use other systems with approval of the instructors.
  • ZenHub (https://www.zenhub.com/)
  • CATME (https://www.catme.org/login/index) is a site for team collaboration and peer evaluation.
  • Personal laptop/tablets. Bring your charged laptop/tablet to each class in order to access and conduct online work.

Learning Outcomes

This course follows the guidelines established by the CS Curriculum Committee for CS 3311 and the Writing and Communication Program for LMC 3403.

Computer Science Outcomes

 

Accomplishment Experience Competencies
As part of a multi-student team, produce and document a non-trivial software system which solves a complex problem requiring analysis of “design tradeoffs”, “non-functional requirements” and “real-world client needs.” Upon completing the course, reflect upon the impact of your team’s design decisions and the challenges of being part of an interpersonal team.

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●       Demonstrate the ability to identify, develop, and document client requirements for a software-intensive system.  Write these up in a vision statement and set of user stories.

●       Given a set of developed user requirements, demonstrate the ability to generate multiple high-level designs, evaluate their merits, and choose the best overall design for the given problem.

●       Prepare and orally present details of your project and justify the decisions and facts in your presentation during question and answer periods.

●       Demonstrate the ability to plan and execute a semester-long project, tracking progress and making adjustments as necessary to stay on schedule.

●       Demonstrate the ability to plan acceptance tests to ensure the system meets both functional and nonfunctional requirements.

●       Demonstrate the ability to produce an appropriate prototype for client evaluation.

 

 

Technical Communication Outcomes

 

Rhetoric Rhetoric focuses on available means of persuasion, considering the synergy of factors such as context, audience, purpose, role, argument, organization, design, visuals, and conventions of language. ●      Fashion artifacts that address the exigencies of diverse contexts, exhibiting effective persuasive strategies, tact, and sensitivity to theoretical, ethical and legal concerns.

●      Collect, craft, and present technical information in ways that convey a clear purpose to a specific audience.

Process Processes for communication—for example, creating, planning, drafting, designing, rehearsing, revising, presenting, publishing— are recursive, not linear. Learning productive processes is as important as creating products. ●      Construct, select, craft, revise, and repurpose information to reflect individual, cultural, and/or organizational values.

●      Collaborate on artifacts that meet the needs of the specific audiences.

Modes &

Media

Activities and assignments should use a variety of modes and media—written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal—singly and in combination. The context and culture of multimodality and multimedia are critical. ●      Create WOVEN (Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal) artifacts— such as memos, emails, proposals, reports, instructions, manuals, websites, and short and long presentations— that display strategic uses of generic and stylistic conventions.
Design Documents and other artifacts should arrange visual elements according to consistent, efficient, and effective principles. ●      Use theories and principles of document design to create and present accessible, comprehensible, and usable artifacts.

●      Integrate graphics to achieve maximum clarity in print documents, presentation slides, websites, and other artifacts.

Resources

Please familiarize yourself with these resources and use them while completing coursework throughout the semester.

  • Communication Center (http://www.communicationcenter.gatech.edu) in Clough 477 provides students assistance with developing, drafting, and revising all their communication multimodal artifacts. Additionally, the staff includes professional tutors especially trained to assist non-native speakers.
  • Purdue On-line Writing Lab (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) is a convenient and comprehensive writing resource that covers all facets of writing, including grammar and other writing conventions.
  • Lynda (http://lynda.gatech.edu) is a valuable resource for learning how to use software with which you are not familiar. Training for use of software for this class is the student’s responsibility.
  • IEEE citation style guide (http://libguides.murdoch.edu.au/IEEE) provides citation standards to be used in written deliverables.
  • Multimedia Studio (http://librarycommons.gatech.edu/multimedia.php) in the Georgia Tech library provides access to software for creating multimodal projects and hardware including a plotter, color and black-and-white printers, scanner, and audio/recording equipment.

Living Course Schedule

The course schedule can be accessed on the Canvas Calendar. The Canvas Calendar provides teams with information about class topics, activities, and assignments.  The schedule may be modified over the course of the semester to meet the needs of the class; please consult it regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Grade Components & Evaluation

Your grade is computed based upon the deliverables listed below. There is only one gradebook on Canvas, and you will receive the same grade in both courses.

 

Components Weight %
Attendance P/F
Class Participation [50 points] 5%
Team:

●      Project Bid (email and presentation) [0, but required to pass the course]

●      Initial Client Email [0, but required to pass the course]

●      Team Charter [5 points]

●      CATME Evaluation (Midterm and Final) [25 points]

●      Reflective Memo [20 points]

●      Meeting Minutes [50 points]

10%
Client:

●      Client Charter [0, but required to pass the course]

●      Client Feedback (Client Email, User Definition, MVP Mapping, Final Feedback) [100 points]

10%
User Definition:

●      2 ½ D Sketch [25 points]

●      Well Defined User Statement [50 points]

●      MVP Mapping, User Stories and Acceptance Criteria [75 points]

15%
User Testing:

●      Heuristic Evaluation of Another Team’s UI [50 points]

●      Paper Prototype Modifications Report [75 points]

●      Digital Prototype Modifications Report [75 points]

20%
Reports

●      Initial Final Report [100 points]

●      Revised Final Report [150 points]

25%
Final Presentation [150 points] 15%
Total [1000 points] 100%

 

Peer Evaluation

This course uses peer evaluation conducted through CATME, an online team management tool, to ensure that students are participating in the course and collaborating with their team constructively. Your final grade will be adjusted based upon the ways your performance is rated in these evaluations.  If you are concerned that your grade is going to be negatively impacted by peer evaluations, you will be given the opportunity to appear before the instructors and explain your situation.  We will consider demonstration of your participation in several ways, such as in-class participation, evidence of participation in team meetings (as tracked on your team meeting minutes), and/or the final reflective memo.  Please ensure that you do your team work in such a way that your contribution can be verified.

 

Client/Advisor Feedback

Client feedback factors into your final grade for this course.  You will be given directions about the types of communication you should engage in with your client so that they can adequately assess your work over the course of the semester.  If teams are having problems with their client communication, please let your instructors know sooner rather than later, so that they can advise you on how to proceed.

 

Project Management

Learning the strategies and processes associated with working collaboratively with your peers is an important component of this course. This process needs to be managed individually and as a team.  Accordingly, individuals and teams will be responsible for completing documents (such as a team charter and meeting minutes), which in conjunction with your peer evaluation, will comprise the Team component of your grade.

 

Individual Contributions to Team Deliverables

It is the instructors’ expectation that individuals will participate in the production of each course deliverable. While we understand that this is a semester-long project and individuals in a team will contribute in different ways (e.g., providing code review, writing lines of code, or document editing) to the project for a number of reasons (e.g. competency with a particular coding language or platform), we do expect each individual to make a genuine and earnest effort on each deliverable.  Instructors will be guided in their decisions about grades based on individual contributions.  Therefore, individuals should think carefully about how they can demonstrate their participation in each assignment to their instructors.

 

Scaffolding Assignments & Drafts

Scaffolding assignments and drafts foster students’ development of process and deepen students’ understanding of rhetorical principles of audience, design, evidence, and persuasion.  Measuring students’ success in the class is built around the process of creating, drafting, and revising projects; therefore, scaffolding assignments and/or drafts are incorporated into the process and evaluation of each course module.  We expect students to read all instructors’ feedback on drafts/assignments and to see us during office hours or by appointment with questions or concerns.

 

Course Policies

 

Attendance

Just as employees are expected to report to work on time, attendance at each class session is required of all students.  Participation in in-class discussions and activities is integral to learning and applying computer science and technical communication concepts in your project.

If you have an institutionally-approved absence (for example, an excuse approved by the Dean’s office) it is not counted against your attendance record. You are required to provide your instructors with documentation (such as a Dean’s letter) of an institutionally-approved absence.

Students are given three (3) non-institutionally approved absences, for which you are not required to provide any explanation or supporting documents, although a courtesy email to your instructors is appreciated.

We will allow two (2) excused absences for job interviews. While job interviews are not institute-approved excused absences, we recognize the need of students to pursue job opportunities. These two absences are to help those students who just cannot schedule an interview for any other time.  Rather, we strongly encourage students to make every effort to schedule all job interviews on one of the many days we have team meetings/work days scheduled. You are required to provide evidence of the interview (e.g. itinerary, interview letter, etc.).

Each additional absence after the allotted three (3) non-institutionally approved absences deducts one letter grade from a student’s final grade (10% of the final grade). Missing five (5) classes in the semester (not including the two allowed absences for job interviews) will result in automatic failure of the class.

If you are absent, it is your responsibility to check the course agenda and/or to find out from a teammate what you may have missed while absent and to have completed any work due the day you return.  If you know you will be absent, please email your instructors as a courtesy.  Please speak with your instructors and confirm what needs to be done.

Note that not all in-class assignments will be listed on course calendar; if you are absent on these days, you will not be allowed to make up the assignment.

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class; should you arrive late, it is your responsibility to check in with the instructors so that an absence is not recorded.  Arriving at class more than 20 minutes late is counted as an absence.  If you know that you will be late to class, please let the instructors know. If you are less than 20 minutes late, your tardiness will impact your “Participation” grade.

 

Non–Discrimination

This class supports the Georgia Institute of Technology’s commitment to creating a campus free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. We further affirm the importance of cultivating an intellectual climate that allows us to better understand the similarities and differences of those who constitute the Georgia Tech community, as well as the necessity of working against inequalities that may also manifest here as they do in the broader society.

Alternative viewpoints are welcome in this class; however, statements that are deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory toward others in the class or outside the class will not be tolerated.

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. We strongly urge you to be familiar with these Georgia Tech sites:

Final Instructional Class Days – December 2-3, 2019

  • No tests or quizzes are to be administered on Final Instructional Class Days.
  • Graded homework or assignments, course projects, demonstrations, and presentations may be due during Final Instructional Class Days, provided they are listed on the syllabus at the start of the semester.
  • All quizzes and tests should be graded and reported to students on or before the last final instructional day.

Reading Period – December 4, 2019

  • No classes meet during Reading Periods.
  • No assignments, projects, presentations, or other graded activities can be due or take place during Reading Periods.
  • Instructors may schedule optional study review sessions for students during Reading Periods (but no credit or extra credit may be attached to these optional sessions).

Final Examination Policy

The final examination for this class is waived and replaced with a Revised Final Report. For section JDA, the Revised Final Report is due Friday, December 6th at 10:50; for section JDB, the Revised Final Report is due Wednesday, December 11th at 2:10 PM.