The writing assignments allow work in installments toward the final goal of a formal report, article, or other technical document. The topic should be chosen carefully. It should be a topic with which you are familiar; you must have enough depth and understanding of your subject matter to write an article. You may choose the subject matter, the audience, and the format. A thesis will not be accepted as your final report, nor will articles of more than 15 pages. But you may use your thesis work to develop a report that follows the format of 21W.783 requirements. A second type of unacceptable document is a lab report that has been or is to be turned in for a science or engineering class. Such a document can be modified (extended) for 21W.783. Listed below are some typical projects completed in previous 21W.783 classes:
- A technical report on work conducted in a class or UROP at MIT.
- An industrial report on work conducted through the MIT Co-op program or summer employment.
- A journal or trade magazine article on a specific research project.
- A hardware or software manual.
- A semi-technical paper on a hobby or a vocation.
- Due BEFORE you come to class #2. Write a brief paragraph or two explaining the nature of the document you expect to write for your final 21W.783 project. Try to include the title, purpose, audience, sources, and project background. I encourage you to send me this paragraph via e-mail.
- Due next time you come to class. Read three different technical documents in your field. If possible, pick different genres -- a thesis, a popular science article, and a journal article for instance. Very briefly (about three paragraphs total) comment on the writing. Please include a photocopy or printout of the first page of each document.
- Due next time you come to class. Read "The Science of Scientific Writing."
I encourage you to start writing your proposal -- the sooner you start, the better the final product will be.
- Due prior to class #3: A rough draft of your proposal. Please drop hardcopy by my office. Alternatively, you may e-mail me a copy.
- Due in class (Prior to class #3): A photocopy of the first page of a document that could be used as a model for your own project.
- Due in class (Prior to class #3): Bring 4 copies of the most current draft of your proposal.
- Due before you come to class next: Brush up on the grammar, style, or punctuation topic of your choice.
- Optional: Ask me a grammar, style, punctuation, or mechanics question. E-mail would be best.
- Due prior to class #4: Final draft of the proposal (read "next draft").
- Before the next class, please send me a brief, informal e-mail describing your workshop experience, especially in 21w783. What went right? What went wrong? How could your readers have helped you better? What could you have done to better help other authors?
- Thinking way ahead, class #5 will be another workshop of the final paper.
- Bring 4 copies of the most current draft of your final paper to class when you come next.
- The next draft to me is due.
- The final draft is due.
- Sign up for an oral presentation time slot. You need only attend the presentation session in which you deliver your talk.
- Rough draft of final paper due prior to class #6.
- Final draft of final paper is due after class #6.
Document Checklist (PDF)
Oral Presentation Checklist (PDF)