The goal of this seminar is to help advanced PhD students with writing and editing technical documents, such as papers and dissertations. Students should be working on papers or dissertations, in any area of CS, that we can discuss and analyze.
We will cover the basics of good English composition, organization of sentences, paragraphs, and sections, and other topics. We also consider the organization of effective papers and other scientific documents. We will discuss published papers and the students' own writing. The exact topics and emphases will depend on the students' needs.
The course will be co-taught with with Jane Kokernak, our communications specialist.
If you enroll in this course, please look for an email from me with a link to a Google poll to help us assess your needs. If you have registered and have not received such an email, please write me and I will send you a link.
Enrollment is limited to 10 students, first come first served. It is not restricted to students from the PL group. The course is 2 credits, and does not count toward any specialty area.
We will have a group meeting approximately weekly, and students will have 1-on-1 sessions with the instructor as appropriate.
Meeting TimeOur scheduled meeting time is
Wednesdays, 2:50-4:30, RY 145
Our CRN is 16320
CommunicationWe will set up a communications forum. That might be via Piazza, Gchat, or Slack. We can decide that as a group at our first meeting.
Our official textbook is:
- Joseph M. Williams and and Joseph Bizup, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (12th Edition).
- My summary of Important Editing Principles
- Gopen and Swan, The Science of Scientific Writing (American Scientist, 1990). Many great examples of sentences to analyze and fix.
- Cheat Sheet for "The Science of Scientific Writing" (not half so good, but still a useful summary)
- Simon Peyton-Jones's advice on How to write a great research paper
- Norman Ramsey's Course Notes
- Richard Gabriel's essay, Technical Writing: The Vivid and Continuous Dream
- Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Presentations (2nd ed, Springer). A manual covering the entire process from organization, preparation, slides, and delivery.
- My Guidelines for writing slides (synthesized from Alley's book and from other people far more expert than me).
AssignmentsAssignments will be posted here. These will be mostly one-week assignments, but they won't be every week (last year we wound up with 5 of them).
- Homework Assignment 1: Critiquing a Published Paper
- Homework Assignment 2: Critiquing an Abstract
- Homework Assignment 3: Rhetorical Analysis of a Section in a Scientific Paper
- Homework Assignment 4: Rhetorical Analysis of a Peer's Paper
All material on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, unless otherwise indicated. A summary of license terms may be found here. Copies of papers used in class are copyright by their respective owners, and used here under the Fair Use doctrine.