Subject to revision to correct errors and omissions and/or in the interest of fairness. GMU policies and procedures take precedence should there be a discrepancy between any of them and this syllabus.
Other contact information will be given in class.
Office: TBD - best to see me before or after class
(but see schedule of classes for recess, holiday closings, one time exceptions, snow cancellations, reschedulings. ) Check the GMU phone number for late breaking snow cancellation information.
Time: 1920-2200J **
Bldg.- Room -- ST 112
(See Detailed schedule: Lecture and assignments in separate file(s), which may include other schedule changes) Some generic assignment dates will be instantiated in class eg which specific date(s) you/your team is assigned.
Because of the Labor day holiday, we must get a running start or risk not being able to complete the project on time without a lot of effort concentrated near the end of the semester.
Students should come to the first class with a possible topic, a general outline of the report, and a moderately detailed list of steps that need to be performed.
We will discuss these and tailor them as appropriate.
No class is held the second week due to labor day. Students should continue to be working diligently and have finalised topics/focus, schedule/plan, and DID by the next class session.
Most classes will start with group discussions and or presentations, followed by team working sessions/faculty consultation, and followed by optionally individual consultation as desired.
If we do not need all the class time then the groups should use the rest of session to coordinate their work and continue working on their TR.
Students should subscribe to the listserv to receive announcements and other information broadcasts for this course.
Research project chosen and completed under the guidance of a graduate faculty member, which results in an acceptable technical report (TR).
This course will use the systems engineering and related skills normally developed through previous classes and as would be used in a business teamwork environment. Soft skills as well as technical ones will be exercised.
Create a technical report using the KSAs gained through previous coursework or experience. The report must be acceptable to the student's advisor.
The report should be comparable to one given at a conference or printed in professional publications.
Ideally the TR will be accepted by a conference, or journal, or published internally by the student's employer.
Recommendations for useful references are given below.
The first class will have an announcement about reserve books.
Some of the following are in the reference section of the library.
Browse the stacks for others with similar call numbers.
· How To Write And Publish Engineering Papers And Reports 3E
Michaelson, Herbert B.
Oryx Press 1990
· How To Write And Present Technical Informaton 3E
Sides, Charles H.
Oryx Press 1999
· Writing And Speaking In The Technology Professions: A Practical Guide
Beer, David F.
IEEE Press c1992
· Technical Report Writing
NASA Technical Memorandum 105419
Was recently available at
· The Craft Of Research
Booth Colomb and Williams
Q180.55.M4 B66 1995
· Practical Research Planning and Design 6E
Leedy, Paul D.
Q180.55.M4 L43 1997
Prentice Hall (Simon & Schuster) 1997
· Handbook of Systems Engineering and Management
Sage and Rouse ed
John Wiley & Sons 1999
· The Portable English Handbook 2E
· Merriam Webster's Manual for Writers and Editor
For help with writing, the GMU writing center may be useful. There are many web sites that provide writing and grammar assistance. Many universities have on line writing centers (OWL = online writing lab) for assistance. The GMU center is at
Others are listed at
This one has good handouts to print
Good links to resources for evaluating web data, avoiding plagiarism, etc.
Peer Review Writing Process
Whilst grammar and style are important, quality content is the first priority. Do not get sidetracked with mechanics before the content has been instantiated. But allow time to create a quality document.
See details in separate file.
Students will tailor and use a process to be followed. Metrics will be captured and progress tracked versus the schedule based on the process' steps. Students will tailor a DID to guide the documenting of their report.
Interim status presentations will be made periodically as if to a corporate director.
A final presentation will be presented as well as a final hard and soft copy of the report being turned in. This would be comparable to one given to a corporate VP or at a technical conference.
Faculty and advisors will be invited to the final presentations.
A take home "mid-term" exam will be due that includes a MS Project type view of the detailed process and schedule with progress to date indicated.
A take home "final exam" will be due that includes the final MS Project type Gantt view with actual results indicated. Additionally, metrics captured that can help future planning are to be turned in. Lessons learned and suggested process improvements are to be documented. A final generalised DID is the final item included with the take home exam.
The key deliverable is the technical report and a formal presentation.
There will also be interim presentations and status reports required.
There are no formal exams.
Additional deliverables will take the place of exams.
These include items such as a project plan, DID, lessons, learned, actual metrics, etc.
Grades will be per GMU policy.
This course uses required grading scheme GT for graduate courses.
Students will be required to turn in a self assessment as well as one for their team. Students will assess the other presentations.
Faculty will be invited to the final presentation and to review the final TR. Their feedback will be given considerable weight.
The final grade will be determined by myself with consideration given to inputs from student and faculty evaluations. NB these normally raise grades not lower them :)
Grades will be based on the following items - with the noted relative weighting factors.
· 25% - Final written Technical Report - teams self allocate distribution of total awarded points
v Emphasis is on content, but presentation and mechanics will count ***
· 20% - Final Presentation - teams self allocate distribution of total awarded
· 20% - Final exam substitute -
· 15% - Mid term exam substitute-
· 10% - Teamwork/Participation- scored by team members
· 10% - Status reports -
· Bonus points may be awarded for
éClass participation - PAL contributions
éMiscellaneous - TBD
Late work is accepted but the grade is reduced by 10% a week unless an acceptable reason is provided.
If you anticipate any religious holidays, employer mandated travel, health appointments, or critical personal issues (tax audits, court appearances, funerals, weddings, etc.), that will require you to miss class or be late with work please notify the instructor as early as possible. And coordinate with your team so they are not impacted too. Confirming documentation is required.
F £ 62
Other grades are possible in accordance with GMU policy:
IN incomplete - missing work - shows as F
AB - absent last day with acceptable excuse - ten day limit to finish
S - no grade required
NC - no grade required
IP in process -
Attention should be paid to the honor code provisions.
All work is open book, open notes, as would occur in an industrial environment. For academic purposes though, acknowledgement must be made of sources used.
Work is to be done collaboratively with their team, and/or the class. Teams may help each other but acknowledgement is to be given to such help.
Proper credit is to be given to any other information sources used by citing them in the TR.
Use the GPO or Chicago style manuals for citation format.
Harbrace College Handbook or Hacker are good guides for grammar usage.
The Chicago Manual of Style 13E (or later)
Style Manual rev.
GPO 1973 (or later)
Rules for Writer 3E (or later)
All applicable laws and GMU policies are hereby included by reference.
Students are responsible for knowing the school policies as documented in the Catalog.
Smoking is not allowed in the classroom.
All notes should be annotated with a timestamp and the source. Acknowledgement of all sources is expected if material from a textbook, website, inter-team collaboration, or class discussions is used.
Students are expected to
· attend all sessions on time.
· be prepared
· participate actively
· be alert, having had adequate sleep and rest
· manage their time effectively
ä plan their work and budget their time
ä keep a log of all resources expended
ä do not get behind
· coordinate and work with their team effectively and collegially
· first attempt to do all the work by themselves
ä ask for help when necessary
Students are to coordinate as appropriate with their advisors and to get any approvals necessary for acceptance of their report.
You may synchronise your watches by telephone at 202 762 1401.
Teamwork is an integral factor of this course. All students are expected to work in a collaborative and cooperative manner both on their project team and in the class as a whole. Planning and coordination are expected to minimise duplication of efforts.
Communication is vital to success and will be emphasised through in‑class briefings concerning the team projects and written status reports.
Any student needing accommodation for a handicap will be given whatever course modifications they need as determined appropriate by the DRC staff. The DRC form is required.
The main product is a technical report. A final oral presentation will also be given. Interim status reports and drafts will be due. Exams will be take home and consist of providing ancillary artifacts that facilitate the planning and writing of the report.
Each student is to log all resources used by category for the entire course.
This will be used to create the metrics turned in as part of the take home "final exam".
Frequent status reports will be presented by teams and or turned in for evaluation.
Additional items will be assigned in class.
Please provide hardcopy of all assignments. Softcopy is also required for the final report and presentation. MS Project files need to be in MSP-98 format not 2000 or XP. Other files should be readable by Office-97 versions of word, excel, access, powerpoint, etc.
Please use a font that is 12-14 points, with 2-3 points of leading for text.
Do not justify.
Use 1.5" left margin and all other margins set at 1".
If headers/footers are used and/or page numbers, then they should be spaced 1/2" from the text body.
Do not use Garamond or (new) times roman or similar fonts with small x‑height or tight tracking.
Please use American Typewriter aka Editor, or Dark Courier. Other large x-height fonts with uniform stroke weight may be used; but, please confirm readability with the professor first. Thanks!
Fonts can be provided to those who do not have them and are unable to download them from Microsoft, HP, or public domain sites.
Spreadsheets and similar items should use Arial Narrow 8-10 point.
** J = local time. We change from DST to EST in October.
Writing Criteria - General
The company would be delighted to send this message. It not only meets the problem goals, but it does so in a particularly ingenious or graceful way. It is substantially better than the ordinary, acceptable message.
The company would be willing to send this message. It meets the problem goals and communicates adequately in every way.
The company would be unwilling to send this message. Although it is acceptable in many respects, it must be disqualified for one major weakness or several minor ones. It could probably be turned into an acceptable message with some careful revision/editing.
The company would be unwilling to send this message and would be inclined to question the competency of the writer. Although it shows some evidence of an attempt to apply principles discussed in this course, the attempt was not successful. Rather than attempting to revise, the writer should throw away this message and start again.
The company would seriously consider replacing this writer. The message shows no evidence that the writer tried to apply the principles discussed in this course, and the message would probably do more harm than good if it were sent: it could be a serious embarrassment to the company. The writer should study the basic principles carefully and start this message over.
Remember: Getting important piece(s) of information wrong (i.e., an incorrect name or address or figure) would automatically place your letter or project into the "cannot send" pile: you would receive a "C," "D," or "F," depending upon the seriousness of the errors.
THERE IS NO SUCH CREATURE AS A TYPO--A TYPO IS AN UNCORRECTED ERROR!
Anyone who continues to make silly or minor grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling errors will not long "survive" as a communicator, either in their personal or professional lives. This is not a grammar course-- However your work should be mechanically flawless. Usually you are "allowed" one grammatical/mechanical error per 1/3 letter grade.
Additional errors would lower the baseline grade based on content.