Fall 2015

Course Information

Last Updated: June 29, 2015

** Nothing in this document is set in stone until Lecture 1, Fall 2015 **


  1. Course Learning Goals and Objectives
  2. Assignments
  3. Course Expectations
  4. Text, Materials and Other Resources
  5. Attendance Policy
  6. Grading Policy
  7. Your Feedback

Course Learning Goals and Objectives

This course will (1) encourage you to think about effective oral technical communication, and (2) equip you with communication skills necessary to succeed in a professional technical academic/industry setting. We will provide you with opportunities to practice your skills and create mechanisms for feedback to help you strengthen them.

Upon completion of the course, students will have learned how to:


Be forewarned that this course can be a lot of work for some. Plan ahead. Estimated completion times for each (based on student feedback) are provided. If you are spending too much time on the assignments, then you may not be working effectively. Some weeks, you'll spend more than 3 hours working on your 6.UAT assignment, but some weeks you won't have anything due - this should average out over the course of the semester.

All assignment submissions are due by 8am of the day they are due (and not the hour you have recitation). There is a penalty for late (non-slide) submissions, but if the assignment is too late, it may not be graded without a note from S3.

Course Expectations

Many of you are about to enter the 'real' working world. You are expected to conduct yourself in a manner that is professional and to manage your time accordingly. As you will all be learning from each other, you are also expected to provide your fellow students with clear, respectful, honest, concrete and sensitive feedback.

Class Etiquette

Please refrain from using electronic devices during class. It is distracting to the speaker and to those around/behind you.

Please arrive on time -- it is unprofessional and disruptive to walk in during the middle of another person's presentation. Too many late arrivals will affect your final grade.

Academic Integrity

Your work should be your own. You should acknowledge your sources and cite references when appropriate. Inappropriate behavior (e.g. plagiarism, cheating) will result in a failing grade for the assignment and could lead to further disciplinary action.

Text, Materials and Examinations

There is no required textbook. Any readings will either be distributed in class or made available online.

You will need access to slide creation software. When you upload slides, preferred formats are: pdf, ppt, pptx.

There are no exams.

Attendance Policy

The course consists of a series of lectures and recitations. In lecture, we'll go over each oral presentation assignment and cover some basic oral presentation skills. In the recitations, you'll reinforce these ideas and give your oral presentations. Participation and attendance are especially important for a class of this nature, for, unlike technical classes at MIT, you cannot simply learn the material from reading a textbook and completing the assignments alone.

Lecture Attendance

You are responsible for anything covered during lecture including announcements and material. The website will not be updated with everything that transpired during lecture; that is not its purpose.

Recitation Absences

Recitation attendance is mandatory, but you are allowed one recitation absence without penalty. Your attendance record is available online for you to check.

Just as you would notify someone in a workplace setting when you are out, help your TA minimize surprises by emailing them when you are absent, ideally beforehand if you know ahead of time. If you miss a recitation, you can recover the absence, but this should be done within two weeks of the absence. How to recover a recitation depends on which recitation you missed. Due to the interactive nature of the course, some recitations are more difficult to recover offline than others. Consult your TA to find out how you can recover a particular recitation.

If you miss a recitation during which you are supposed to present, it is your responsibility to contact your RI/TA ahead of time to arrange for a make-up session. The earlier your request, the more likely they will accommodate you. Since you chose your original presentation date, depending on the circumstance, your TA/RI may levy a late penalty (at their discretion).

If you do not notify staff ahead of time, and simply don't show up to a recitation in which you were expected to present, your TA and RI will have the impression that you are irresponsible and unreliable. Your grade will automatically be penalized by at least 0.5 (half a letter grade) for your make-up talk.

In the end, if you do not do an assignment, or your TA/RI are unable to accommodate the rescheduling of a make-up, you will receive a 0 for that assignment.

Additionally, any unrecovered recitation absence will hurt your final grade (see grading policy below). Excess recovered recitations (>=4) will also negatively affect your grade. Keep in mind that the ability to recover a recitation is a courtesy and is not meant to be a substitute for attending class. If you have extenuating circumstances, please let the staff/Dean know.

Grading Policy

You all have the potential to get an A in the course; however, we have high standards. Grades are determined based on the following weighting:

Video Assignments:
   Self-Intro		     5% 
Written Assignments:                               	
   VideoAssessment           5%
   VideoAssessmentII	     5%
Oral Assignments:						
   Previous Project Dryrun   5%
   Previous Project Talk     10%  
   Intuition Talk Dryrun     5%  
   Intuition Talk 	     20%
   Persuasive Speech Dryrun  0%
   Persuasive Speech         10%
   Proposal Talk Dryrun	     5%
   Proposal Talk	     25%
Online Final Assessment      5%

Each item is graded from 0-4, where a 4 is an "A", a 3 is a "B", etc. (So the A/B border is 3.5.) Late work will be accepted, but it may not be graded unless there is a note from S3 and there will be a penalty for lateness.

At the end of the term, a weighted raw score is computed based upon the scores you received on your assignments.

This weighted raw score is then adjusted to account for (1) recitation attendance and possibly, to a lesser degree, (2) other factors. For recitation attendance, 0.3 is deducted for each unrecovered recitation absence beyond one. And other factors that may positively or negatively affect your grade, predominantly for borderline cases include:

excessive recovered recitation absences, participation,  punctuality, responsibility, 
attitude, professional conduct, ability to follow directions, response time to email,
creativity in assignments, improvement and effort.

All assignments must be completed to be eligible for an A (of any flavor) in the course. However, the 6.UAT staff further reserves the right to grade on a curve and to make adjustments for special cases.

Requests for assignment regrades should be submitted in writing to your RI/TA. State the nature of the complaint and why the grade awarded should be otherwise. Work will be re-evaluated in its entirety.

Requests for final grade reconsideration at the end of the term should be sent to your recitation instructor and to tleng@mit.edu by the end of finals week.

Your Feedback

This course is constantly being redesigned and improved. Your constructive input is an important part of this process. We will solicit feedback at the end of the course, but you are welcome to send us (anonymously if you wish) constructive feedback anytime during the semester. While we may be limited in how we can respond to any concerns you have in the current term, we will take them into account for future semesters.