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Documentation and Technical Writing for CIS

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CIS 205

       Course Name: Documentation and Technical Writing for CIS

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: Knowledge of any programming language and EGL 101; student should have a basic understanding of the tools and functions in using a computer in a business environment.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course explores various types of written communications used in the computer environment. Content includes steps, techniques and tools necessary to produce a variety of documents while using the basic skills necessary for clear, succinct writing. Focus is on development of computer documentation such as user manuals, technical reports, standards manuals and feasibility studies.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Participate in the preparation of the various kinds of documentation inherent in data processing projects;
  2. Documents created for use internally within the CIS organization, i.e., for systems development, operations and internal standards and procedures.
  3. Documents created for use outside of the CIS organization, i.e., user manuals, progress reports, system proposals.
  4. Know and be able to participate in each of the steps required in producing the documentation for the development of a hardware/software project, including the planning, data gathering, design, writing and editing, production and distribution.
  5. Be able to analyze audiences and determine the approach to be taken in writing to these audiences.

Understand the various types of writing required in the data processing environment and know when and how to use each, including:
  1. Business letters and memos
  2. Status and progress reports
  3. Feasibility studies
  4. System studies and proposals
  5. Policy and standards manuals
  6. User manuals and procedures
  7. Technical documentation
  8. Sales brochures and marketing tools for hardware and software

V.    Academic Integrity

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Details of the Code of Academic Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.

VI.   Sequence of Topics

A. Identification and Characteristics of the types of documents used in the data processing environment.
   1. Business letters and memoranda
   2. Proposals
   3. Reports
   4. Technical documentation
      a. Internal department documentation
         1) Systems development - systems specifications
         2) Operations - run documentation
         3) Standards and procedure manuals
      b. External department documentation
         1) Technical instruction for systems users
         2) Studies and proposals
         3) Brochures and product literature
 
B. Types of Media
   1. Printed documents
   2. Electronic documents (on-line documentation)

C. Writing Style
   1. Grammar, punctuation, spelling
   2. Clarity, conciseness, focus, brevity, simplicity, tone

D. Producing the Document
   1. Planning the document
      a. Requirements definition
      b. Schedule and resources
      c. Planning the review
      d. Determining writing style and standards
      e. Audience (user) analysis
 
E. Gathering the Information
   1. Conducting technical interviews
   2. Organizing the data

F. Writing the Document
   1. Outlining the document
   2. Preparing the first draft
   3. Writing detail sections
   4. Writing general sections
   5. Editing and rewriting
 
G. Field Testing the Document
   1. Proofing
   2. Timing
   3. Selecting participants
   4. Preparing for
 
H. Preparing Reference Aids
   1. Headings
   2. Table of contents
   3. Glossary
   4. Index
   5. Appendix
 
I. Physical Preparations
   1. Page format and layout 
   2. Text format standards - headings, type, spacing
   3. Graphics development - figures, illustrations, exhibits and artwork, diagrams, flowcharts, video screens
 
J. Production
   1. Production methods
   2. Reproduction methods
   3. Production control
   4. Word processing
   5. Final proofing
   6. Assembling
 
K. Wrapup
   1. Distribution
   2. Update provisions

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, group discussion, writing assignments and case studies
Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Student will complete at least 5 writing assignments including examples of system documentation and user instructions; at least 2 exams will be required.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation of exams, writing assignments

XI.   Other Course Information

Course - ID changed from DPR 205 to CIS 205, Fall, 92

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.