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ME304: Engineering Communication

Unit 2: Rules or Guidelines?   This unit presents some basic rules for communication.  Adherence to these rules is not meant to stifle communication, but rather to facilitate it by allowing both the presenter and the reader/listener to focus on the message rather than the way in which it is presented.  Errors in grammar and punctuation and inappropriate style, formatting, and typography can all detract from communicating your purpose.  We will conclude the unit with a discussion of proper attribution of source materials, fair use others’ work, and plagiarism—what it is and how to avoid it.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 18 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 1 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 5 hours

☐    End of Unit Self-Assessment: 1 hour

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify and correct common grammar mistakes. - Choose appropriate fonts for written documents. - Identify word usage, voice, style, and tense problems and correct them. - Organize effective abstracts, introductions, conclusions, and other sections of a document. - Define plagiarism. - Explain ways to avoid plagiarism and write appropriate citations.

2.1 Common Grammar Mistakes and Quick Reference Materials   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Common Grammar Errors”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Common Grammar
Errors](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.1.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage in its entirety.  Most of the errors
contained on this webpage can be categorized as one discussed in
subunits 2.1.1-2.1.5.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2005/composing-process/grammar-composing-process/common-grammar-errors/).
  • Reading: Indiana University’s Writing Tutorial Services: “Proofreading for Common Surface Errors: Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar”

    Link: Indiana University’s Writing Tutorial Services: “Proofreading for Common Surface Errors: Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar” (HTML)
     
    Instructions:  Read the pages and identify errors which you have made in the past. Most of the errors contained on this page can be categorized as one of 2.1.1-2.1.5.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: William Strunk, Jr.’s “Elements of Style”

    Link: William Strunk, Jr.’s “Elements of Style” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:

    Kindle ($0.99)
    Google Books
    iBooks
     
    Instructions: This is Strunk’s 1918 version of The Elements of Style.  Read the “I. Introductory,” and then click “Next” at the bottom of the webpage to continue reading the text.  Or, you may click on the “Contents” hyperlink to redirect to the table of contents.  Click on each hyperlink to read each section of the book.  You may refer to it for all sections in subunit 2.1.
     
    Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain. 

2.1.1 Sentence Structure Errors   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Quiz on Relative Clauses”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Quiz on Relative
Clauses](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODw-_q1usUc)” (YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: View the video (4 minutes).  Pause the video after
each question and attempt to answer the question.  You will be more
likely to retain the material if you attempt to answer the questions
yourself, rather than just listening to the answer.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University. 
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2010/composing-process/editing-revising-proofreading/quiz-on-relative-clauses-episode-53/).

2.1.2 Common Punctuation Errors   - Reading: Writing for Business and Pleasure: Stephen Wilber’s: “Avoiding Common Punctuation Errors: The No-Excuse 12 (Plus the Big 3)”

Link: Writing for Business and Pleasure: Stephen Wilber’s:
“[Avoiding Common Punctuation Errors: The No-Excuse 12 (Plus the Big
3)](http://www.wilbers.com/punct12.htm)” (HTML)  
                                
 Instructions: Read the webpage and perform the tests.  Identify
areas with which you have difficulty.  You may wish to refer back to
the general reading at the beginning of section 2.1 to address these
problem areas.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.3 Common Spelling and Usage Errors   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Spelling: Common Words that Sound Alike”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “[Spelling:
Common Words that Sound
Alike](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/660/1/)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the entire webpage in order to identify words
that are commonly mistaken and misspelled, such as homophones. 
Homophones are two words that sound alike but have different
spellings and/or meanings (i.e. affect/effect, there/their/they’re,
it’s/its, etc.).  Write these problem words together with their
definitions and usage by hand on a note card.  Refer to this note
card when engaging in writing.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 Case, Tense, Number, and Other Problems   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Grammar”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s
“[Grammar](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/5/)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: The left hand side of the page contains drop-down
menus for several common grammar problems.  Choose three specific
grammar problems and compose two original sentences illustrating
each of the problems.  Revise each of the sentences to correct the
problems.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Format and Typography   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Visual Rhetoric: Text Elements”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “[Visual
Rhetoric: Text
Elements](https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/691/02/)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage for advice on choosing an
appropriate typeface for the intended tone.   
    
 Terms of Use: Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms
of use displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Georgia Tech’s “Information on Technical Communication: Hints for Typography Choices”

    Link: Georgia Tech’s “Information on Technical Communication: Hints for Typography Choices” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the entire page. Can you identify the fonts used for the page? Does the design of the page follow all of the recommended hints?
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3 Style or Tone   2.3.1 Setting the Tone   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Tone in Business Writing”

Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “[Tone in
Business
Writing](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/652/1/)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage for advice on setting an appropriate
tone.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Use of the Passive Voice   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Passive and Active Voice”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Passive and Active
Voice](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlWHuRh0HHw)” (YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: View the video (6 minutes).  In what sort of
situations is the passive voice preferable to the active voice?  
    
 Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/). It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University.
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2010/podcasts/write-right/passive-and-active-voice/).

2.3.3 What Is Jargon or Slang?   - Reading: University of North Carolina at Pembroke: “Jargon”

Link: University of North Carolina at Pembroke:
“[Jargon](http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/1914-/language/jargon.htm)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage in its entirety.  Also, click on the
embedded hyperlinks to read more articles “What Is Slang” and “What
Is Plain English?”  Consider the differences between jargon and
slang.  When is it appropriate to use either in technical
communication?  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Content and Organization   2.4.1 What Constitutes a Paragraph?   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Paragraph Construction”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Paragraph
Construction](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.4.1.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the entire webpage.  Name five different ways in
which to organize a paragraph?  Name five types of supporting
documentation or argument used for paragraph development.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2007/composing-process/organization-structure/paragraph-construction/?print=1).

2.4.2 Writing an Effective Abstract   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Introduction to Writing (Good) Abstracts”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Introduction to Writing (Good)
Abstracts](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.4.2.pdf)”
(PDF, YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: View the video (17 minutes) and/or read the
transcript.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2010/types-communication/academic-writing/an-introduction-to-writing-good-abstracts/).

2.4.3 Writing an Effective Introduction   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Introductions”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s
“[Introductions](http://www.saylor.org/content/me304/introductions.mp3)”
(mp3)  
    
 Instructions: Listen to the audio clip (6 minutes).  How should an
introduction differ from an abstract?  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University. 
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2009/podcasts/write-right/episode-7-writing-introductions/).

2.4.4 Writing an Effective Conclusion   - Web Media: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Conclusions”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s
“[Conclusions](http://www.saylor.org/content/me304/conclusions.mp3)”
(mp3)  
    
 Instructions: Listen to the audio clip (13 minutes).  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University. 
The original version can be found
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2009/podcasts/write-right/episode-10-who-wants-to-be-a-writer-the-last-word-on-conclusions/).

2.4.5 When to Use an Attachment or Appendix—Back Matter   - Reading: WikiBooks: “Professional and Technical Writing/Design/Back Matter”: “Back Matter: Appendices, Glossaries, and More”

Link: WikiBooks: “[Professional and Technical Writing/Design/Back
Matter”: “Back Matter: Appendices, Glossaries, and
More](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Back-Matter.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the webpage in order to understand when to
include material in the body of a document or to relegate it to some
type of back matter.  
    
 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) (HTML).  You
can find the original Wikibooks version of this article
[here](http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Professional_and_Technical_Writing/Design/Back_Matter) (HTML).

2.5 Attribution and Plagiarism   2.5.1 Copyright: What Is Protected?   - Reading: United States Copyright Office’s “Copyright Basics”

Link: United States Copyright Office’s “[Copyright
Basics](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.5.1.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Click on the hyperlink “Copyright Basics” to download
the PDF file, read the entire document (12 pages), and consider the
following question.  Must a work be registered to be protected by
copyright?  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain. 

2.5.2 Fair Use   2.5.2.1 Definition and Examples   - Reading: United States Copyright Office’s “Fair Use”

Link:  United States Copyright Office’s “[Fair
Use](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.5.2.1.pdf)”
(PDF)

 

Instructions: Read the webpage.  Can you define fair use?  Write
down some examples of what is commonly considered as fair use.

 

Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain. 

2.5.2.2 How Much Quoting Is Too Much?   - Reading: Texas A&M; Writing Center’s “Using Quotations in Presentations”

Link: Texas A&M Writing Center’s “[Using Quotations in
Presentations](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME304-2.5.2.2.pdf)”
(PDF)

 

Instructions: Read the article in its entirety, and consider the
following questions.  When should a writer (1) paraphrase, (2)
incorporate a quotation in the text, or (3) set a quotation apart
from the text?  How do you decide when to use a quotation?

 

Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/). It is
attributed to the Texas A&M Writing Center and can be viewed in its
original form
[here](http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2010/types-communication/presentations-2/using-quotes-in-presentations/).

2.5.3 Plagiarism   2.5.3.1 Definition   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory’s (OWL) “Is It Plagiarism Yet?”

Links: Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory’s (OWL) “[Is It
Plagiarism
Yet?](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/02/)” (HTML)

 

Instructions: Read the entire webpage.  Consider under what
circumstances it is appropriate to use a paid ghostwriter.

 

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.3.2 Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory’s (OWL) “Safe Practices” and “Safe Practices: An Exercise”

Links: Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory’s (OWL) “[Safe
Practices](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/3/)” (HTML)
and “[Safe Practices: An
Exercise](http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/4/)” (HTML)

 

Instructions: Read these two texts, and perform the exercise on the
“Safe Practices: An Exercise” webpage.

 

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.3.3 Penalties for Not Avoiding Plagiarism   - Reading: The Christian Science Monitor: Karoun Dimerjian’s “What Is the Price of Plagiarism?”

Links: *The Christian Science Monitor:* Karoun Dimerjian’s “[What Is
the Price of
Plagiarism?](http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0511/p14s01-lire.html)”
(HTML)

 

Instructions: Read the two page article.  Consider differences in
penalties amongst different academic institutions and amongst
publishers. 

 

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.4 Formats for Citations   - Reading: Northwest Missouri State University’s “Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers

Link: Northwest Missouri State University’s “[Scientific Style and
Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and
Publishers](http://www.nwmissouri.edu/library/CITING/CBE.HTM)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Use this resource as a possible reference for future
work.  This link covers topics for sections 2.4.5.1 and 2.4.5.2  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Documenting Sources in the Disciplines: Overview”

    Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s (OWL) “Documenting Sources in the Disciplines: Overview” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the first page of the link and scan the list of various formats on the page following to gain an appreciation of the variety of styles.  Use this resource as a possible reference for future work.  This link includes material addressed in sections 2.4.5.1 and 2.4.5.2
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.4.1 Works in Print   2.5.4.2 On-line Documents   Unit 2 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ME304: Unit 2 Quiz”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “[ME304: Unit 2
Quiz](http://school.saylor.org/mod/quiz/view.php?id=912)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Please complete the linked assessment.  
    
 You must be logged into your Saylor Foundation School account in
order to access this exam.  If you do not yet have an account, you
will be able to create one, free of charge, after clicking the
link.