Cleveland State University

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


EEC 414/503 - Writing in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Spring 2009


Textbook: Technical Communication, Eighth Edition, by Mike Markel


Recommended References:

The Elements of Style, by Oliver Strunk

Guide to Grammar and Style, by Jack Lynch


Prerequisites: Students enrolled in this course must be concurrently enrolled in any content-based ECE course. This excludes lab courses, Senior Design, Graduate Seminar, Electrical Engineering Internship  Master’s Thesis, Doctoral Research, and Doctoral Dissertation. This concurrent enrollment requirement can be waived with the permission of the instructor.


Instructor Contract: After registering for this course, students must obtain a written agreement certifying that the instructor of the content-based course will serve as a grader for the report writing required in this course.


Goals and Objectives: This course is designed to enhance the ability of students to write effectively on topics within the discipline of electrical and computer engineering. This course may be taken twice by graduate students for credit.



A large part of the grade for this course is based on a written report.

1.      Contract: The specific topic covered in the written report must be approved by the instructor of the content-based course. A signed agreement between the instructor of the content-based course and the student must be submitted to the writing course instructor before any report can be submitted for evaluation.

2.      Draft report: An initial draft of the report will be submitted to the instructor of the accompanying content-based course. The paper must include the following.

a.       Title page

b.      Abstract

c.       At least eight pages of text with one-inch margins, ragged right margin, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman (or similar) font

d.      At least five references and appropriate citation format

3.      Final report: A final draft of the report will be submitted to the writing course instructor and the instructor of the accompanying content-based course. The paper must include the items specified above, in addition to the following.

a.       At least 12 pages of text

b.      At least 10 references

4.      Resume: A job application cover letter and resume will be submitted in response to a real job advertisement of the student’s choosing.

5.      Proposal: A research proposal will be submitted on a topic of the student’s choosing.


Grading:         10%     Homework
15%     Draft report

10%     Resume and cover letter

10%     Proposal

15%     Attendance

20%     Oral presentation

20%     Final report


Grade scale:   A                     93–100
A minus            90–92

                        B plus               87–89

                        B                      83–86

                        B minus            80–82

                        C                     70–79


Time:              EEC 414: MW 1:00-2:00
EEC 503: M 1:00–2:00

Place:              TBD



Dr. Dan Simon












Course web site:


Stilwell Hall 343



Stilwell Hall 310, 326


Office Hours:

M W 12:00 - 1:00, 2:00 - 3:00

Call or stop by my office any time and I’ll be glad to help you if I’m available.


Course Schedule:



Class Activity

Course Material


Jan. 26

Lecture 1:

Chapter 1


Feb. 2

Lecture 2:

Chapter 2

Homework 1
Instructor Contract

Feb. 9

Lecture 3:
The Writing Process
Writing Effective Sentences

Chapters 3 and 11

Homework 2

Feb. 16

No class - holiday



Feb. 23

Lecture 4:

Chapter 6
Research references

Homework 3

March 2

Lecture 5:
Structuring your Paper

Chapters 7 and 10

Homework 4

March 9

Lecture 6:
Graphics and Tables

Chapter 13

Homework 5

March 16

No class - spring break



March 23

Lecture 7:
Letters, Memos, Emails

Chapter 14

Homework 6

Draft Report

March 30

Lecture 8:
Job Applications

Chapter 15

Homework 7

April 6

Critique draft reports



Submit via email

April 13

Lecture 9:

Chapter 16


April 20

Lecture 10:
Instructions and Manuals

Chapter 19


April 27

Lecture 11:
Oral Presentations

Chapter 21


May 4

Lecture 12:
Technical Typesetting


Final Report

May 11

Oral presentations




The draft report, proposal, and final report must be submitted at

·        Class id = 2543988

·        Password = writing

The draft report and final report must also be submitted to the content-based course instructor using the method of that instructor’s choosing.


May 11 is the scheduled final exam date for this class. However, there will not be a final exam. Instead oral presentations will be given on that date.


Research References:

How to do research, by Dan Simon - also published as Research in the balance (7.2 MB)

You and your research, by Richard Hamming

Hints on Writing Technical Papers and Making Presentations, by Victor Li


Professor Simon’s Home Page


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Cleveland State University

Last Revised: January 15, 2009