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ENG 327: Writing
In the Professions
Instructor: Dr. Brad Sullivan
Office: McIver 115
Office hours: M W 3:15-4:45, F 1-2:30, and by appointment
Class meeting times: M W 2:00-3:15 McIver 139A
Course Texts: Ober, Contemporary
Business Communication (4th edition)
Handouts as needed.
"Open Door" Policy
I have regular office hours, and would love to discuss your
work, your concerns, and your successes during those hours. I also try my best
to make appointments at other times when students need them, and to be readily
available for questions, comments, and concerns via email and phone. When you
are pleased with the way things are going, I am always delighted to hear it. If
you are frustrated, I NEED to hear it. Don't rely entirely on scheduled
conferences. My door is always "open," and I hope to see you often.
This course aims to help you improve your ability to present information—and yourself—to individuals and companies in the working world. When employers in a variety of different fields were polled in my former locality they listed two common characteristics that were absolutely vital for their employees: they wanted to hire and retain people who were effective communicators and effective "team players." The activities we will undertake in this course are designed to help you develop these key abilities and to be the kind of person that an employer will be eager to employ. We will begin by discussing some general concepts about presentation and self-presentation—such as how to establish ethos and how to analyze audiences. Then we will begin the first "project module" of the course, which will focus on the job search and self-presentation. To enter a new employment situation, you must present yourself as the right person for the job. And to stay employed, you must continue to present yourself that way. The second "project module" will focus on business letters and memos—moving from self-presentation into effective presentation of information to employers, coworkers, and clients. The third "project module" will focus on developing a proposal and presenting your ideas in written and spoken forms to potential "investors." During this segment, we will work in groups and discuss group dynamics. And the final "project module" will involve the preparation of an on-line professional portfolio, drawing on your earlier work in the course and other samples of your work you might want to add. Each project will involve audience analysis, and several will involve interviewing and collaborative effort. In the end, your hard work will result in a portfolio of your best work that you can share with potential employers (or graduate schools).
The Learning Community Concept
ENG 327 is not a lecture-centered class which "delivers instruction." It is a structured learning environment which can best be seen as a "learning community." While the "learning community" concept is generally applied to interconnected classes, it is a useful concept for reorganizing our approach to learning in individual classes as well.
In a learning community, all members are responsible for the learning of the group. Each member contributes their ideas, energy, and writings for the better understanding of their colleagues. Each member must play the roles of both teacher and learner, leader and follower, speaker and listener, as the needs of the community dictate. Some general "rules of engagement" make it possible for a learning community to grow and develop effectively:
RESPECT other viewpoints and
opinions, both written and spoken.
LISTEN to what others have to say and to write.
SHARE what you have to say and to write.
LEARN from your interaction with people, texts, and contexts in this class.
From these "rules of engagement" come some more particular guidelines that will help you to succeed in this class:
· Remember that none of us have all the "right answers," but all of us have some valuable ones to share with others.
· Ask questions! Repeatedly! A well-considered question is worth a thousand trivial answers.
· Show consistent effort and engagement in all class activities. Attendance and participation are very important! I believe that we only learn by trying things, by DOING. So I expect to see you giving every activity your best effort.
· Read closely and carefully, take notes as you read, and compose thoughtful reactions to share with the class via our discussion board.
· Find one or more issues of genuine interest to you, and pursue better knowledge of that issue or those issues with passion!
Members of a learning community support each other by respecting and listening to each other, by suggesting resources to each other, and by providing positive feedback to each other. But members of a learning community also challenge each other by expecting their colleagues to be responsible, to participate fully, to love learning and to work hard at it, and to deepen and broaden their understanding as the semester progresses. As the facilitator of this learning community, I will model these behaviors.
Course Learning Outcomes
Working together, we will achieve the following learning outcomes:
· Learners will demonstrate an understanding of the concept of kairos (the rhetorical situation) and be able to analyze and address a variety of professional situations effectively.
· Learners will demonstrate their ability to apply the concept of the communication triangle and to critique and employ appropriately ethos, pathos, and logos.
· Learners will construct and communicate clear, well-considered presentations in written and oral forms.
· Learners will generate a professional portfolio that will serve as a valuable self-presentation tool as they seek employment.
· Learners will demonstrate proficiency in using technology (word processing, Blackboard, Internet, e-mail) effectively for research, composition, and communication.
This class will share UNCG's commitment to the use of learning tools provided by new technology. I don’t believe in using computer technologies just because they are trendy, but I believe that your learning experience in this class will be enhanced by the use of several technological tools. We will use the Internet and the online discussion function of Blackboard extensively, and we will use electronic mail (email) as needed.
Blackboard will serve as our communications center, and it will also serve as a source of information and ideas for your writing. On the Announcements page, I will post important notices about changes in the reading or writing assignment schedule, announcements of special events or assignments, and other information vital to your success in the course. Resources for the course, including this course overview, can be found on the External Links page.
Email provides a valuable channel of one-on-one communication for us—above and beyond conferences, office hour chats, and class time. Please make use of e-mail to communicate with me and your classmates whenever necessary.
It is your responsibility to use Blackboard and the Internet effectively and to stay informed of class developments via these technologies. You should be comfortable using email as well. I will be glad to provide assistance in the use of these technologies if you are unfamiliar with them. But I expect that you will let me know if you are having difficulties using them!
Reading and Discussion Board Postings
We will be doing a considerable amount of reading to learn some basic concepts and to explore "case studies" of professional communication. Our class discussions of these readings will be central to the learning process. We will facilitate these discussions by doing some homework in preparation for them. For each reading, you will be expected to make a discussion board entry on Blackboard. These entries will be graded on completion, not on grammar and mechanics. Thoughtful entries meeting the length requirement (at least 100 words) will receive full credit.
These discussion board postings will provide evidence that you are doing close reading and thinking about the texts, and they will contribute to the class's understanding as we proceed. The discussion board can be a place for discussions that we will not have time to hold in the classroom as we hasten through this term--it can add an exciting and enriching dimension to the class. Let's work together to make it so.
Central to the course (of course!) will be the writing. We will work throughout the semester on refining our skills at writing in a variety of modes. You will be working on effective composition and presentation as you complete four primary assignments:
1. A resumé and cover letter
2. A "packet" of letters and memos
3. A team-developed persuasive presentation
4. An on-line portfolio of your work
Guidelines for Essay Submission
Essays should be word-processed and double-spaced, allowing room for comments and suggestions. Despite the objectivity of the reader, neatness never hurts the presentation of good ideas (hint, hint).
An initial deadline is really a deadline. Unless I make official changes, all papers will be due at the beginning of our scheduled class meeting on the day listed in the course syllabus.
In the case of personal illness, an emergency, or a death in the family, it is your responsibility to
1. Have a friend deliver your work to me at class or at the English Department Office (McIver 133) before 4:30 pm on the due date
2. Contact me by phone or e-mail to make arrangements to complete and/or deliver the assignment either 1) on the due date (in the case of personal illness) or 2) as soon as possible thereafter (in the case of emergencies or deaths in the family).
Attendance and Participation
Your attendance and involvement in class activities are important not only for you, but for your fellow learners. Many minds are better than one, and if we all contribute we all learn that much more. Absences (class meetings which you do not attend at all, attend late by more than 10 minutes, or leave early) will be reflected in your class participation grade. If you accumulate two or more absences, each absence up to five will reduce your final grade average by 5 points (2 absences = 5 points off, 3 absences = 10 points off, and so on). Six or more absences provide sufficient grounds for failing the course. You are always responsible for making up work missed during absences.
I am willing to make exceptions for legitimate circumstances that require your absence, but to have "excused" absences you must communicate with me in advance of the class or classes missed (unless you face a verifiable emergency).
My evaluation of your work in this class will be based on two complementary areas of judgment: (1) Completion of assignments (on time and with evidence of ongoing effort), and (2) Quality of completed assignments. To receive a C or better in this course, you must satisfactorily complete all course requirements: discussion board postings, writing projects, and examinations.
The class grade will be divided into portions as follows:
15% Discussion board postings
15% Resumé and cover letter
15% Business letters and memos
20% On-line portfolio
10% Final examination
A 90% - 100% Excellent
B+ 87% - 89.9%
B 80% - 86.9% Very Good
C+ 77% - 79.9%
C 70% - 76.9% Satisfactory
D 60% - 69.9% Unsatisfactory results, but good effort sustained and progress made
F 0% - 59.9% Failing
Always subject to change with advance notice . . .
Week 1 Course Introduction; Initial Concepts
Week 2 The Communication Triangle and Audience Analysis
Weeks 3-5 Resumés and cover letters
Sep 2 NO CLASS--LABOR DAY
Sep 23 Resumé and Cover letter DUE
Weeks 6-8 Professional Correspondence and Memos
Oct 9 Letter Packet DUE
Weeks 9-12 Group dynamics. Proposal Strategies. Presentation
Oct 14 NO CLASS--FALL BREAK
Oct 30, Nov 4, & Nov 6 Work-team Presentations and papers DUE
Weeks 13-15 On-line Portfolio
Nov 11 NO CLASS--VETERAN'S DAY
Nov 27 NO CLASS--THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Week 16 Portfolios DUE, Prep for Final Exam