CSC290 Communication Skills for Computer Scientists

Fall 2018

Blog Posts
Critical Reviews
Group Presentation

Course Description

Targeted instruction and significant practice in the communications required for careers in computer science. The curriculum covers written, oral and interpersonal communication. Students will hand in short pieces of writing each week, will make oral presentations several times in the semester, and will work together in simulated project meetings and other realistic scenarios of pair and small group interaction. This can be used to satisfy the writing requirement in CSC programs.

Course Syllabus: LEC0101(M 3pm-5pm IB140), LEC0102 (M 5pm-7pm IB335).


All announcements will be made on Quercus

Course Staff

Instructor: Lisa Zhang
Office Hours: Weds 1pm-4pm DH3068
Email: lczhang [at] cs [dot] toronto [dot] edu
Please include "CSC290" in your subject.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1Sep 10Lecture: Introduction & Communication Theory
Tutorial: Mini-Networking
RequiredRecommendedBlog Post (Sep 23)
Week 2Sep 17Lecture: Critical Thinking
  • Slides [pdf]
  • Critical Thinking Worksheet [pdf]
  • Grammar Worksheet - ambiguous pronoun, word choice [pdf]

Tutorial: Understanding Critical Review
  • Review Sample [pdf]
  • Rubric [pdf]
RequiredBlog Post (Optional)
Week 3Sep 24 RGASC Drop In Time for Critical Review:
Sep 24 3pm-7pm, 3rd floor North Building

Lecture: Project Managment and Business Analysis
  • Slides [pdf]
  • Worksheet version A [pdf]
  • Worksheet version B [pdf]
  • Grammar Worksheet - conciseness [pdf]

Tutorial: Team Charter Exercise
RequiredOptional Critical Review 1 (Sep 30)
Week 4Oct 1Lecture: Unified Modeling Language (UML)
Tutorial: Group work
Required (see Quercus)
  • Object-Oriented Systems Analysis and Design Using UML, chapter 5
  • UML Distilled, chapter 9 and 11
  • UML 2.0, chapter 3

Team Charter (Oct 7)

Reading week, no class / tutorial

RecommendedBook Recommendations Blog Post (Oct 14)
Week 5Oct 15Lecture: Interpersonal Communication
  • Slides [pdf]
  • Grammar Worksheet - commas [pdf]

Tutorial: Interpersonal Communication Case Studies
  • Slides [pdf]
  • Worksheet -- scenarios [pdf]
RequiredBlog Post (Oct 21)
Week 6Oct 22Lecture: Presentation Skills
Tutorial: Groupwork

Presentation Plan (Oct 26)

Critical Review Edits (Oct 28)

Week 7Oct 29Lecture: Midterm
Tutorial: Presentation Practice
  • Slides [pdf]
  • Feedback Form [pdf]
Blog Post (Nov 4)
Week 8Nov 5Lecture: Technical Writing
Tutorial: Shape Exercises
RecommendedBlog Post (Nov 11)
Week 9Nov 12Lecture: Code, Comments, and Code Review
Tutorial: Code Exercises
  • Worksheet [pdf]

Presentation Slides (Nov 21)

Week 10Nov 19Lecture: Professional Writing: Emails
Tutorial: Presentations
Blog Post (Nov 25)
Week 11Nov 26 RGASC Drop In Time for Critical Review:
Nov 30 10am-1pm, 3rd floor North Building

Lecture: Feedback; Concluding Thoughts
Tutorial: Presentations
RecommendedCritical Review 2 (Dec 2)
Week 12Dec 3Lecture: Resume and Cover Letter

Team Evaluations (Dec 4)

Final Examination Schedule

You can find old csc290 exams here. Keep in mind that the content covered each term may be different.