SYST 489 - Senior Seminar

Fall 2001



Dr. Peggy Brouse



Work Phone:

(703) 993-1502 (with voice mail)


(703) 993-1706



GMU: Science and Technology II - Room 317

Office Hours:

Mondays: 3:00 - 4:00 and by appointment

Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce the students to several important topics in systems engineering, provide additional experience to the students in writing and giving presentations, and obtain feedback on the curriculum for the B.S. in Systems Engineering. Several lectures will be devoted to ethics in systems engineering. Writing and making presentations for systems engineering will also be covered early in the semester. Lecture series presenters will present material that is not part of the required course load to expand the horizons of the students. Each student will write a short paper on each of these presentations. In addition, students will work in teams to critique and redesign the curriculum in Systems Engineering. Each group will deliver a written product and provide at least one briefing to the class. The best critique and redesign will be presented to the faculty.

Course Hours:

Monday and Wednesday 1:30PM to 2:45PM in Science and Technology 2 room 15


1.      Social, Ethical and Policy Implications of Engineering: Selected Readings (2000) Joseph Herkert. IEEE Press ISBN 0-7803-4712-9

2.      How to Give Effective Business Briefings(1999) Colin Clark. Stylus Publications. ISBN 0-7494-2513-X

3.      Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors (1997) Gretchen Hargis (Editor). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-1379-0320-0


On following page







Technical Writing

From Hargis text

1 - Intro, Easy to Use 1 - 70

2 - Easy to Understand 73 - 137

3 Easy to Find 139 - 232

4 - Put it together 233 - 265



Giving Presentations

From Clark text

1 - Intro, Background, Preparation 1 - 22

2 - Structure, Delivery, Impact, Motivation, Informal Feedback 23 - 66

3 - Formal Feedback, Routine, Variations, Evaluation 67 - 103




From Herkert text


Case write-ups (every case)


Team presentation and discussion lead




4 students

evaluation of others in group


Curriculum Review


Determine subject of curriculum review

Brief subject

Interview professors, students

Draft review

Final review

In-class brief

Vote on best

Brief faculty


4 students

evaluation of others in group


Technology Review

Attend speaker series lecture


Short paper on lecture attended (3 pages)

Long paper on bleeding edge technology (20 pages)







Evaluated by instructor





Week 1>

27/29 August

       Background; Introductions; Form groups




Week 2>

3 September

5 September

       LABOR DAY - no classes

       Lecture Hargis 1




Week 3>

10/12 September

       Lecture Hargis 2




Week 4>

17 September

19 September

       Lecture Hargis 3

       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review subject




Week 5>

24/26 September

       Lecture Hargis 4




Week 6>

1 October

3 October

       Lecture Clark 1, 2

       Individual: Write up (annotated outline) on long paper due




Week 7>

8 October

10 October

         Columbus Day Recess (no classes)

         Lecture Clark 3




Week 8>

15/17 October

       Individual: 5 min presentations on major paper to date




Week 9>

22 October

24 October

       Lecture: Herkert

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 1

       Individual: Write up (draft paper) on major paper due




Week 10>

29 October

31 October

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 2

       Group: Write up (draft) on curriculum review due

       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review to date




Week 11>

5 November

7 November

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 3

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 4




Week 12>

12 November

14 November

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 5

       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 6

       Individual Ethics Case Write-ups due




Week 13>

19 November

19/21 November

       Final paper due

       Individual: Presentations of final paper




Week 14>

26 November

26/28 November

28 November

       Group: Final curriculum review due

       Group: Presentations of final curriculum review

       Individual: Vote on best curriculum review team




Week 15>

3/5 December

       Individual: short paper on lecture attended due

       Individual: Evaluation of Others in Group due

       Group: Presentation to faculty on best curriculum review (everyone attends)