SYST 489 - Senior Seminar

Fall 2004



Dr. Peggy Brouse

Assignment Submission:

WebCT usage is required in the class; instructions are below.

Work Phone:

(703) 993-1502 (with voice mail)


(703) 993-1706



GMU:  Science and Technology II - Room 317

Office Hours:

Mondays 11:30 - 1: 00 and by appointment

Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce the students to several important topics in systems engineering, provide additional experience to the students in writing and giving presentations, and obtain feedback on the curriculum for the B.S. in Systems Engineering.  Several lectures will be devoted to ethics in systems engineering.  Writing and making presentations for systems engineering will also be covered early in the semester. Lecture series presenters will present material that is not part of the required course load to expand the horizons of the students.  Each student will write a short paper on each of these presentations.  In addition, students will work in teams to critique and redesign the curriculum in Systems Engineering.  Each group will deliver a written product and provide at least one briefing to the class.  The best critique and redesign will be presented to the faculty.

Course Hours:

Monday and Wednesday  1:30PM to 2:45PM in Science and Technology 2 room 12


1.      Pocket Book of Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists (2000) Leo Finkelstein.  McGraw-Hill.            ISBN 0-07-237080-7

2.      Preparing and Delivering Effective Technical Presentations (2000), David Adamy.  Artech House Publishers; 2nd edition.  ISBN 1-5805-3017-6

3.      Social, Ethical and Policy Implications of Engineering: Selected Readings (2000) Joseph Herkert. IEEE Press ISBN 0-7803-4712-9


On following page







Technical Writing

From Finkelstein text

1 - Introduction, Technical Definition, Description of a Mechanism, Description of a Process:  pages 1 - 61

2 – Proposals, Progress Reports, Feasibility Reports:  pages 63 – 118

3 – Instructions and Manuals, Laboratory and Project Reports, Research Reports:  pages 119 – 170

4 – Documentation, Visuals, Electronic Publishing: pages 207 – 232, 251 - 266



Giving Presentations

From Adamy text





From Herkert text

Individual: Case write-ups (every case except the one your group presents)


Group: Team presentation and discussion lead.  Team paper.







evaluation of others in group


Curriculum Review


Group: Determine subject of curriculum review

Brief subject

Interview professors, students

Draft review

Final review

In-class brief

Vote on best

Brief faculty


4 students

evaluation of others in group


Technology Review

Attend speaker series lecture


Short paper on lecture attended (3 pages)

Long paper on bleeding edge technology (20 pages)








Evaluated by instructor



Exact Grade Breakdown





Ethics - Writeups (5 at 2% each)



Bleeding Edge Annotated Outline Presentation



Bleeding Edge Presentation



Bleeding Edge Paper Draft



Bleeding Edge Paper



Seminar Review Paper









Ethics Case Presentation



Ethics Case paper



Curriculum Review Subject



Curriculum Review Draft Presentation/Paper (2.5% each)



Curriculum Review Final Presentation/Paper (7.5% each)



How To Access WebCT?


         Go to


         Enter WebCT ID and password:

Students need a WebCT ID and password to login. Their WebCT ID is their Mason mail user name (e.g. the WebCT ID for would be jdoe);   Starting August 16, 2004, all initial passwords for new student WebCT accounts will be a four digit number representing the student's birth month and birth day. Example: a student's birthday is January 8; their initial WebCT password is 0108.


         If you do not know your Mason mail user name, go to and click on “Activating My Account” icon, follow the steps.


         All assignments have due dates and submissions after the due date/time will not be possible, since WebCT will automatically block “submit my homework” option.


         From time to time, WebCT works too slowly. Especially from a dial-up internet connection, WebCT access may not be so efficient all the time; students are encouraged to submit their work earlier than the deadline.


         If you experience any problem while accessing/using WebCT, pls. send an e-mail to Dr. Brouse,


Week 1>

30 August/          1 September

¨       Background; Introductions, in-class writing assignment




Week 2>

6 September

8 September

¨       LABOR DAY - no classes

¨       Group work day – Curriculum Review Subject




Week 3>

13/15 September

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 1, 2




Week 4>

20 September

22 September

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 3

¨       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review subject




Week 5>

27 September

29 September

¨       Lecture Finkelstein 4

¨       Ethics case choices due




Week 6>

4 October           6 October

¨       Lecture Adamy 1, 2

¨       Individual: Write up (annotated outline) on bleeding edge paper due




Week 7>

12 October

13 October

·         NOTE: 12 October is a Tuesday class -  Lecture Adamy 3

·         Individual: 5 min presentations on bleeding edge paper to date




Week 8>

18 October


20 October

¨       Individual: 5 min presentations on bleeding edge paper to date

¨       Lecture: Herkert




Week 9>

25 October

27 October

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 1

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 2, Individual: Write up (draft paper) on bleeding edge paper due




Week 10>

1 November           3 November

¨       Group: 5 min presentation of curriculum review to date, Group: Write up (draft) on curriculum review due

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 3




Week 11>

8 November

10 November

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 4

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 5




Week 12>

15 November


17 November

¨       Group Presentation: Ethics Case 6,  Individual Ethics Case Write-ups due

¨       Individual: Presentations of bleeding edge paper, Final bleeding edge due




Week 13>

22 November


24 November

¨       Individual: Presentations of final paper, Group: Final curriculum review due

¨       Group work day – Final Curriculum Review




Week 14>

29 November

¨       Group: Presentations of final curriculum review




Week 15>

1 December


4 December (Thursday)

¨       Colby Africa> guest lecture

¨       Individual: short paper on lecture attended due

¨       Individual:  Evaluation of Others in Group due

¨       Group: Presentation to faculty on curriculum review (everyone attends)> will be coordinated with SYST490 presentations to faculty