SYLLABUS, version 2

SYST 489 - Senior Seminar

Fall 2007


Dr. Peggy Brouse

Assignment Submission:

WebCT usage is required in the class; instructions are below.

Work Phone:

(703) 993-1502 (with voice mail)


(703) 993-1706



GMU:  Science and Technology II - Room 317

Office Hours:

Wednesday 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. 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  12:00PM to 1:15PM in S&T 2, room 18


1.    Pocket Book of Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists (2008), 3rd edition, Leo Finkelstein.  McGraw-Hill.   ISBN 978-0-07-319159-1

2.    Preparing and Delivering Effective Technical Presentations (2000), David Adamy.  Artech House Publishers; 2nd edition.  ISBN 1-5805-3017-6

3.    Engineering Ethics: An Industrial Perspective (2006),     Gail Baura.  Academic Press ISBN 0-12-088531-2


On following page

Disabilities Statement:

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 993-2474.  All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.






Technical Writing

From Finkelstein text

1 - Introduction, Technical Definition, Description of a Mechanism, Description of a Process:  pages 1 - 61

2 – Proposals, Progress Reports, Feasibility Reports:  pages 63 – 118

3 – Instructions and Manuals, Laboratory and Project Reports, Research Reports:  pages 119 – 170

4 – Documentation, Visuals, Electronic Publishing: pages 207 – 232, 251 - 266



Giving Presentations

From Adamy text





From Baura text

Individual: Case write-ups (every case except the one your group presents)


Group: Team presentation and discussion lead.  Team paper.







Curriculum Review


Group: Determine subject of curriculum review

Brief subject

Interview professors, students

Draft review

Final review

In-class brief

Brief faculty



Technology Review

Attend speaker series lecture


Short paper on lecture attended (3 pages)

Long paper on bleeding edge technology (20 pages)








Evaluated by instructor



Exact Grade Breakdown





Ethics - Writeups (5 at 2% each)



Bleeding Edge Annotated Outline Presentation



Bleeding Edge Presentation



Bleeding Edge Paper Draft



Bleeding Edge Paper



Seminar Review Paper









Ethics Case Presentation



Ethics Case paper



Curriculum Review Subject



Curriculum Review Draft Presentation/Paper (2.5% each)



Curriculum Review Final Presentation/Paper (7.5% each)



Writing Intensive Statement

This course fulfills all/in part the Writing-Intensive requirement in the Systems Engineering undergraduate major. It does so through the five ethic write-ups, bleeding edge paper outline, bleeding edge draft paper, bleeding edge final paper and the seminar review paper.  The bleeding edge paper will be completed through a draft/feedback/revision process. The due date for each is below; I will provide comments on each.

How To Access WebCT?


         Go to


         Enter WebCT ID and password:

Students need a WebCT ID and password to login. Their WebCT ID is their Mason mail user name (e.g. the WebCT ID for would be jdoe);   Starting August 16, 2005 at 7am, all WebCT user accounts will convert to the same password as their Mason email accounts. On that date, at that time, logging into WebCT will require the user to enter the same password required to access their Mason email account. WebCT users will no longer be able to reset their passwords using the “password settings” utility on their myWebCT page. Starting August 16, passwords for WebCT can be reset or obtained by clicking on the obtain or reset username/password link.

         If you do not know your Mason mail user name, go to and click on “Activating My Account” icon, follow the steps.


         All assignments have due dates and submissions after the due date/time will not be possible, since WebCT will automatically block “submit my homework” option.


         From time to time, WebCT works too slowly. Especially from a dial-up internet connection, WebCT access may not be so efficient all the time; students are encouraged to submit their work earlier than the deadline.


         If you experience any problem while accessing/using WebCT, pls. send an e-mail to Dr. Brouse,


Week 1>

27/29 August

¨            Background; Introductions; Honor Code

¨            Group assignments, In-class writing assignment




Week 2>

3/5 September

¨       LABOR DAY - no classes


¨       University Career Services10 minute presentation

¨       WebCT demo




Week 3>

10/12 September

¨       Work Day - Curriculum Review Subject presentation

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 1, 2




Week 4>

17/19 September

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 3

¨       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review subject




Week 5>

24/26 September

¨       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review subject

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 4

¨       Ethics case choices due




Week 6>

1/3 October

¨       Review ABET objectives and Outcomes

¨       Lecture Adamy 1, 2

¨       Individual: Write up (annotated outline) on bleeding edge paper due




Week 7>

9/10 October

·         NOTE: 9 October is a Tuesday class -  Lecture Adamy 3

·         Individual: 5 min presentations on bleeding edge paper




Week 8>

15/16 October

¨       Individual: 5 min presentations on bleeding edge paper

¨       Lecture: Baura




Week 9>

22/24 October

¨       Lecture: Baura

¨       Group Work Days on Ethics Cases and final paper




Week 10>

29/31 October

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 1

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 2, Individual: Write up (draft paper) on bleeding edge paper due




Week 11>

5/7 November

¨       Work day on Curriculum Review

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 3




Week 12>

12/14 November

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 4

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 5




Week 13>

19/21 November

¨       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review to date, Group: Write up (draft) on curriculum review due

¨       Thanksgiving Break




Week 14>

26/28 November

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 6

¨       Individual: Presentations of bleeding edge paper, Final bleeding edge due




Week 15>

3/5 December

¨       Individual: Presentations of bleeding edge paper, Group: Final curriculum review due

¨       Individual: short paper on lecture attended due

¨       Individual:  Evaluation of Others in Group due

¨       Group: Presentation to faculty on curriculum review (everyone attends)> will be coordinated with SYST490 presentations to faculty