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The CI-M Side of 6.111 Lab 2: Writing the Design Report. Donald N.S. Unger, PhD Writing Across the Curriculum Spring 2008. DigiAlarm’08 Sands Hotel, Las Vegas 29-30 January 2008. I’m on the MIT website. Really. Does the “envelope” really matter?. “I gave you the information.

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Donald N.S. Unger, PhD Writing Across the Curriculum Spring 2008


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donald n s unger phd writing across the curriculum spring 2008

The CI-M Side of 6.111 Lab 2:

Writing the Design Report

Donald N.S. Unger, PhD

Writing Across the Curriculum

Spring 2008

slide2
DigiAlarm’08

Sands Hotel, Las Vegas

29-30 January 2008

slide5

Does the “envelope” really matter?

“I gave you the information.

What’s the problem?”

the information on the business card is
The information on the business card is:

Clear

Easy to understand

Complete

Concise

Well Organized

Logically laid out

In a familiar form

giving you the card demonstrates
Giving you the card demonstrates:

1. Attention to detail

2. Quick follow-through

3. Reliability

4. Genuine interest

5. Collegiality

. . . . The characteristics of someone with whom you would want to work.

the medium is the message
The medium is the message

If I send you off to find my contact information, I’m telling you that you are on your own.

If I give you my card, I am showing you that I will make sure that you don’t have to hunt for information, and that, by extension, you can both rely on my technical expertise and rely on me personally as well.

be professional
Be Professional

How you communicate demonstrates your professionalism along multiple axes.

Hard skills matter. You have to present the right information and present it clearly.

Soft skills matter too. You have to communicate in ways that convey an awareness of professional standards of behavior.

your design report does something very similar
Your Design Report does something very similar:
  • Accurately and efficiently delivers the information you wish to convey: “Here’s our alarm design; it meets your specifications; it is superior to the work of our competitors.”
  • Makes crystal clear, via the manner in which it is presented, that your design team would be the best group to work with. Must be: User Friendly.
grades don t matter
Grades Don’t Matter (!)

Is your design report so good that it would get you the job?

time line
Time Line:
  • First Draft due 5 March; returned 19 March
    • Comments are representative
    • Meant to facilitate re/vision, not merely editing
    • Ask for clarification if comments are not clear
  • Revise
  • Peer Editing Workshop on Friday, 4 April., 1:00-2:00, 32-144
    • Attendance is mandatory
    • Bring two hard copies of your paper
  • Revise
  • Final Draft due 11 April
your submission will consist of
Your submission will consist of:

Letter of Transmittal

Design Report

Title and AbstractTable of ContentsList of FiguresOverview  Focus on thisDescriptionConclusionReferencesAppendices

a good overview yields a good design report
A good overview yields a good design report

“Wrapping”: Letter of Transmittal, Title and Abstract, Table of Contents, List of Figures, References, Appendices

“Core”: Overview, Description, Conclusion

Key: Overview

If the overview is clear, complete, concise, and well organized, it provides a map, both for the reader and for you as a writer.

the overview section should
The Overview section should:

1. Describe the overall goals of the design

2. Provide a concise specification of the functionality

3. Present the specification in a manner that allows the client to quickly and easily assess whether or not it does everything she would like it to do

issues of format
Issues of Format

Graphics should be: labeled, self-contained, explained in the text

If it’s not yours (even if that’s “obvious”) or it’s not common knowledge, give credit—using IEEE citation format

Page Set-Up: one column, single spaced, justified left, ragged right, 1” margins,12 point font (of a professional sort, f. ex. Times Roman or Helvetica)

less is more we don t grade by weight
Less is More: We Don’t Grade by Weight

Your report should run 4000-6000 words, not including appendices

As long as you convey all the information you need to convey (ask your TA), and do so clearly and in good prose (ask your writing instructor), you do better to aim for concision

problems we often see
Problems We Often See:
  • Failure to follow guidelines—if unsure, ask.
  • Problems w/ tone, either hype: “Our design completely blows away the competition!” or lab-speak: “Then tested module B by running a simulation in which. . .”
  • Failure to properly credit sources.
  • Clumsy use of graphics.
resources
Writing and Communication Center

http://web.mit.edu/writing

Online Mayfield Handbook

https://web.mit.edu/21.guide/www/home.htm

This presentation

6.111 Website

donunger@mit.edu or bjmiller@mit.edu

Resources