General Comments on
Reading Assignments,
Written Analyses, and Discussions
(updated 9/18/2004)

We will read through Frederick P. Brooks, Jr's classic The Mythical Man-Month collection of essays and other assigned papers from time to time.  You will be required to write analytical reflections on some of these readings.  The purpose of these writing assignments is several-fold.  In no particular order, I expect you to improve as a writer and thinker, I expect that you will focus more deeply on the readings, I expect that you will exercise and strengthen your critical thinking skills as you write and prepare for class discussion.  By analysis, I mean you are not to summarize the paper.  I have read the papers and want to read your thoughts reflecting on and extending from the paper.  Each assignment will have an associated question; make sure your paper addresses the question carefully and completely.

In each of your written assignments, you will be limited to three pages formatted with 1.25 inch margins left and right and 1 inch margins top and bottom; use a 12pt font and double spacing.  Pay careful attention to these formatting guidelines.  Make each word count; don't use two words where one will do.  Do not interpret the three page limit as an indicator of a low-content expectation.  Rather, think of it as trying to pass a camel through the eye of a needle.  It is impossible but do your best.

You will be divided into groups of three or four and will critique each other's writing.  The evaluation form you should use can be found here.  Detailed instructions for using the form and the basic submission process can be found here at Telford Work's site.  Please read those instructions carefully.  Particularly note that you will print two copies of the review form, attach them to your paper and turn it in.  I will initial and return to you so that your groups can meet and exchange papers.  Unless otherwise noted, you will have one week from the initial due date to review each other's papers, revise and submit your final version.  Also note, at some point prior to your final submission you must have your paper reviewed at the Writers' CornerBe sure to ask to have your paper initialed by the Writers' Corner staff member

We will discuss the readings in class on the respective Thursdays that analyses are due.  You will be evaluated on your participation to discussion.  If you are "a high verbal" person, exercise restraint to create gaps so that others can contribute.  If you tend to be quiet, force yourself to throw your ideas out there.  From experience, I know that everyone has something to add to the discussion that improves the learning experience for everyone.  You might be surprised at the number of times I've sat through discussions watching some student not say a word, but then later, when reading their analysis, I found a particularly insightful take on some issue that was never mentioned in class.  Don't hide your light under a bushel.