PTC 601 Advanced Professional and Technical Communication

Syllabus Fall 2009

Instructor Information


Dr. Nancy W. Coppola


Office location:

Cullimore Hall 408

Office hours:

Thursday 1:00 to 2:00 and as announced in Moodle Chat




Professor of English; Director, Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication; Department of Humanities, College of Science and Liberal Arts; New Jersey Institute of Technology University Heights Newark, NJ 07102-1982

Course Information

Course title:

Advanced Professional and Technical Communication

Course number:

PTC 601

Course description:

PTC 601 Advanced Professional and Technical Communication (3 credits) provides the foundation and direction for all Professional and Technical Communication coursework. This course introduces students to the profession and the academic discipline of technical/professional communication. Modules include information literacy, user-centered writing and design, communicating with global audiences, ethics, usability testing, information design, professional portfolio, and technical writing style.

Course date:

August 31, 2009, through December 9, 2009




Graduate standing in MS in Professional and Technical Communication, Certificate in Technical Communication Essentials or Certificate in User-Centered Design, or by permission of instructor.

Textbook and Required Materials

Required reading:

The Technical Communication Handbook , Laura J. Gurak and Mary E. Hocks, Pearson, 2009, 0-20-572495-7,bundled with MyTechCommLab. Available only at NJIT Bookstore

Recommended training:

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Classroom in a Book, Adobe Creative Team, Pearson, 2009, 0-321-57381-1. Available at NJIT Bookstore


Additional Requirements
  This course requires students to develop a professional online portfolio using a web development tool, such as Dreamweaver CS4 which is the standard for technical communication. NJIT students may also download for free the Microsoft application Expression Web 2.0 ( Or students may use HTML or any software of choice.


MSPTC faculty and administrators use ONLY NJIT email accounts for sending important messages about the program, deadlines, courses, etc. Make sure you check your NJIT email account regularly. In fact, the best practice is to set your NJIT email to forward to the account you check most often.

Additional information:

NJIT is a computing-intensive university. Every NJIT student is provided with a software bundle that includes the most frequently used Microsoft products, virus protection, programming, design, and other tools. The retail value of this bundle is in excess of $2,000. As well, the NJIT Library provides access to articles in over 16,000 journal titles, almost all available online. Materials such as book, article, patent, thesis, report, can be ordered through the NJIT Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery Service Office. The library staff will arrange for the delivery of books and photocopies of articles, either by mail or fax. For materials not owned by the NJIT library, the ILL Office will obtain them from another library. As well, the NJIT Library maintains a Virtual Reference Desk and an opportunity to have a synchronous conversation with a librarian.

In order to access these materials and maximize your learning experience, you will need

  1. Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional high-speed internet connection access from a computer that is not behind a firewall. Access to Moodle and to synchronous chat are often prevented by many companies' security policies. Please check with your company if you plan to access this course from work.
  2. Familiarity with using the computer as a tool of learning.
  3.  Fluency with Microsoft Word, and confidence in exploring the Internet.
  4. Commitment to distance learning as a mode of education. You should be prepared to visit the course Web site daily and post observations in discussion groups. If technical problems arise, you will not let these stand in the way of obtaining material and submitting work.


Total points for course = 100

Objectives or Goals:

GRADES: Participate in online asynchronous discussions in bulletin board and live chat (when scheduled). Students must check into the Moodle course and forum several times a week to keep current and add to dialogue. Substance as well as frequency counts. Original posting each week: 1 point (15 points) Responses each week: 1 point (15 points); Assignments: 70 points


Topics, readings, and assignments are detailed in the Course Organizer located as a link on the course homepage in Moodle. This sample course organizer shows the kind of assignments and schedules for PTC 601; the hyperlinks are not active, and the material is not current.