Technical Editing & Production



Policy Statement


Dr. Michael Albers
Office Bate 2110
Office phone: 252-328-6374
Office hours: M-F 8-9 (online) or by appointment. We can chat via Blackboard chat or talk via Skype; email to set it up.
Schedule: I'm teaching all DE courses this semester, so if you want to talk to me in person, please make an appointment.
Email: albersm@ecu.edu

I will respond promptly to emails, but normally do not return phone calls.

Policy Statement

You are required to read the policy statement and follow the schedule. There is no excuse for not knowing information contained within them.

The information on the course web page takes precedence over any printed copy you may have made. Material on the web site subject to change. I reserve the right to modify any and all units until they are the current unit. In other words, do not try to print out everything at the beginning of the term and only use that information.


All reading material is available on the course web site.

Computer access

You will need an email account. You can use any email account; you are not required to use your ECU account. However, all of the emails sent from Blackboard will go to your ECU account. You must monitor it on a regular basis.

Your computer must a recent release of a browser. The browser must accept cookies (if you don't know, it probably does).

You will need a copy of Adobe Reader. Download a copy here (if you can't open a PDF file) Since most computers come with a copy, you probably already have it installed. If you are using dial-up plan on a LONG download session; the file is several megs.

If you need a driver to print PDFs: http://www.soft-xpansion.com/index.php?p=pdftech/pdfqm

PDF reader that allows adding comments (unlike Adobe Reader): http://www.soft-xpansion.com/index.php?p=pdftech/pdfqr

Course assignments assume you have Microsoft Word or equivalent. Microsoft Works will not be sufficient for most of the assignments. You can obtain a copy very cheaply from the bookstore. Go to www.ecu.edu/microsoft4students for instructions.

Class Philosophy

This course moves past techniques of writing (it assumes the text has been created) and considers how to properly layout out the information to maximize the communication. This course focuses on the current research and theory for the design and testing of documents, both paper and on-line. You will gain an understanding of how verbal and visual elements work together for the effective communication of information to the intended audience. Also, we will look at defining audiences and planning information requirements, analyzing levels of detail and defining expected benefits. Finally, we’ll look at the changing role of technical communication with respect to Internet/WWW hypermedia and its impact on information.

This course considers specific forms of written communication as they apply to a variety of professions. It addresses needs common to most effective professional communications including analyzing audiences, choosing effective design strategies, and careful writing.

Specific goals:

This course is about methods and techniques of communicating information. It is not a grammar course or a course on developing writing skills. As a graduate student, you are expected to already be a competent writer and possess these skills. Grammar will count in assignment grading.

Points for the Course

Class discussion 15%
Critical thinking papers 25%
      Corporate report analysis 5%
      Font logo 5%
      Graphic image 5%
      Pick a design 10%
      Book design 10%
      Instruction manual 10%
      Poster 5%
      Intercome article 10%

A = 90-100%

B = 80-89%

C = 70-79%

F = < 70%

Discussion Policy

I expect you to contribute to the class on-line discussions. Class discussion is a substantial part of your final grade.

Your initial response to the questions should occur by the second day of the unit. If your life schedule only lets you do coursework on the weekends, work ahead of the schedule, not behind it. In other words, do the readings and post your answer for the upcoming work on Sunday. Don't wait until Saturday at the end of the unit to post your answers and respond. (In all seriousness, if you can only work on the course during the weekends, you'll have a hard time in this class.)

Discussion board expectations


Paper grading

Organization and design is appropriate for the communication goals. Free of grammar and punctuation errors. Properly uses visuals.
Although the organization and design is appropriate for the communication goals, it contains some flaws. The wording or sentence structure is ambiguous and impairs the communication. The document is written for the proper audience but has trouble addressing that audience. Less than perfect grammar and mechanics.
The overall organization and design impede the communication and may be inappropriate for the document type. The audience is not clear. Visuals are inappropriately used. Many grammar and mechanics errors. Paragraph and sentence structure is poor.
Organization and design are inappropriate for the document. No sense of audience. Little evidence of of revision. Serious grammar and mechanics errors. Paragraph and sentence structure is poor.
Fails to meet minimal criteria for the assignment.

Turning in and formatting assignments

You will be emailing me all assignments as an email attachment. For the design assignments, send me a PDF and the original file; the PDF lets you can check that what I see is what you designed.

In the email, provide your name and title of project or course in the subject line. Do not paste work into an email. Do not use the Blackboard dropbox.

The filename for all assignment must START with your last name. (Example albers-typography.doc). It's very hard to sort out assignments when I have 20 files named typography.doc. Please use your last name and not initials. Incorrect files may be returned and late penalties apply until you correctly submit it.

The page layout for each assignment will vary, depending upon the specifics of the assignment. In general, work will NOT be double spaced, but will be single spaced with a line between paragraphs and no indent on the paragraph (like this page).

Since a complete schedule is provided on the course web page, you are responsible to know when all work is due.

Make backup copies of all your work while it is in progress and before you submit them for grades. Save a backup copy of all work. The excuse that work was lost or late because of a lost or bad disk will not be accepted. I recommend using a flash drive as a backup or use PirateDrive as your backup. Be paranoid and assume you will experience a computer failure during the course. Likewise, an excuse that you did the assignment at work and then someone deleted it because you share computers is also not acceptable.

Late Papers

All due dates are marked on the schedule.

All homework assignments for a unit are due at the end of day on the last day of the unit on the schedule and are considered late if turned in after that time. Of course, you can turn material in early.

One full letter grade (10 points) will be deducted for every day, including weekends, an assignment is late. Papers over five days late (including weekends) are not accepted and receive a zero.

Class behavior

It is important that we have a classroom atmosphere that optimizes teaching and learning and we all share the responsibility for creating a civil and non-disruptive forum. Students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that does not disrupt teaching or learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from class as specified in university policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, which is available here: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/policyhub/conduct_code.cfm . Here are some guidelines for classroom behavior:

Special Circumstances

East Carolina University seeks to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Students requesting accommodations based on a covered disability must go to Disability Support Services, located in Slay 138, to verify the disability before any accommodations can occur. The telephone number is 252-737-1016.

Academic integrity

Academic integrity as described in the ECU Student Handbook is a fundamental value of higher education and East Carolina University; therefore, I will not tolerate acts of cheating, plagiarism, falsification or attempts to cheat, plagiarize, or falsify. If I become aware of academic integrity violations, I will follow the procedures outlines in the University’s academic integrity policy. Penalties for violating the Academic Integrity policy include grade penalties up to and including an F for the course. If you have any questions about my policy or what might constitute a violation in the class, please contact me. Review the Academic Integrity policies and procedures online at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentaffairs/osrr/students/conduct_process.cfm


It is imperative that you contact me if an emergency occurs which will keep you from meeting the class schedule. I am unwilling to repeat material or give individual help to students who missed due dates because of an unexcused absence. (I am more than willing to work with you for excused absences.)

In the event of a weather or other emergency, information about the status of classes at ECU is available the ECU emergency information hotline (252-328-0062) and on the ECU emergency alert website (http://www.ecu.edu/alert).

Modification of the syllabus

I reserve the right to modify the syllabus at any time. You are responsible for staying current with the syllabus.

Changes to the schedule will be posted on the website.  You are responsible for the content of that file, which is linked from the course schedule on Blackboard. Don't print everything at the beginning of class.


Design by Michael J. Albers Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Send me an email.