Bonnie T. Yarbrough, Ph. D.
Classroom: McIver 139B Lab: BR 211
Department of English /College of Arts and Sciences
The University of North Carolina—Greensboro
Office Hours: 5-6:00 T, or as needed
200A Foust Building
Required Texts and Materials:
Professional Communication: The Corporate Insider’s Approach to Business
Communication. Pluny and Montgomery,
South-Western/Thomson Publishing, 2004.
ENG 327 helps prepare you for the writing activities typical of the kinds encountered in business, industry, and technical professions. As a practical course, ENG 327 develops effective communication skills required and valued by employers. Since employers increasingly find these skills lacking in today’s work force and college graduates, students who develop proficiency in their written, oral, listening, and technical skills not only improve their success in academic courses, but also in their job searches and intended professions.
The course stresses the principles and strategies that will allow you to address successfully communications tasks and problems, however unusual, however routine.
Since Professional Communications embraces a wide variety of purposes and strategies, the course focuses on accommodating specific audiences for specific purposes and to foster relationships. In addition to addressing foundation skills, as well as the changing demands of communication technology, English 327 creates a dynamic learning environment that expects students to understand, develop, and apply information through effective communication strategies. Accordingly, we will work specifically on the following challenges and educational objectives:
• understanding the importance of effective communication skills in
the workplace and in professional careers
• achieving successful communication in written and oral messages
• identifying and applying communication strategies to professional situations by analyzing the rhetorical context
• simulating professional experience by writing for specific audiences for specific purposes
• understanding and creating clear, precise, organized, and correct forms of writing, as well as employing different styles for professional prose
• composing, structuring, editing, revising, and articulating responses to communication problems
• effecting collective solutions to communication problems by working within groups or teams and using critical thinking strategies
• conducting research, both traditional and electronic, and writing reports through effective analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of data
• accepting responsibility for accurate and appropriate documentation of sources
• appreciating diversity in the workplace and practicing ethical and professional behavior
[See text for individual chapter learning objectives and critical skills.]
Ultimately, each class is unique: as you demonstrate that uniqueness, we will incorporate your needs into our studies. We will adapt our exercises and activities to reflect the changing demands of and network access to communication technology at the University.
Powerful Partnerships: Shared Responsibility for Learning*
This course also endorses the following ten principles about learning principles and collaborative action formulated in a joint report by the American Association for Higher Education, et. al. In the course of our discussions and work, we will elaborate on the fuller meanings of these principles.
I encourage you to consider these as a basis for your work at UNCG and to become advocates of the effort to pursue learning improvements in our academic community. These principles also guide our work in learning teams.
1. Learning is fundamentally about making and maintaining connections: biologically through neural networks; mentally among concepts, ideas, and meanings; and experientially through interaction between the mind and the environment, self and other, generality and context, deliberation and action.
2. Learning is enhanced by taking place in the context of a compelling situation that balances challenge and opportunity, stimulating and utilizing the brain's ability to conceptualize quickly and its capacity and need for contemplation and reflection upon experiences.
3. Learning is an active search for meaning by the learner--constructing knowledge rather than passively receiving it, shaping as well as being shaped by experiences.
4. Learning is developmental, a cumulative process involving the whole person, relating past and present, integrating the new with the old, starting from but transcending personal concerns and interests.
5. Learning is done by individuals who are intrinsically tied to others as social beings, interacting as competitors or collaborators, constraining or supporting the learning process, and able to enhance learning through cooperation and sharing.
6. Learning is strongly affected by the educational climate in which it takes place: the settings and surroundings, the influences of others, and the values accorded to the life of the mind and to learning achievements.
7. Learning requires frequent feedback if it is to be sustained, practice if it is to be nourished, and opportunities to use what has been learned.
8. Much learning takes place informally and incidentally, beyond explicit teaching or the classroom, in casual contacts with faculty and staff, peers, campus life, active social and community involvements, and unplanned but fertile and complex situations.
9. Learning is grounded in particular contexts and individual experiences, requiring effort to transfer specific knowledge and skills to other circumstances or to more general understandings and to unlearn personal views and approaches when confronted by new information.
10. Learning involves the ability of individuals to monitor their own learning, to understand how knowledge is acquired, to develop strategies for learning based on discerning their capacities and limitations, and to be aware of their own ways of knowing in approaching new bodies of knowledge and disciplinary frameworks.
*These principles are unique to this syllabus at the University. Procedures for implementing TeamComm© concepts in class are also unique and protected by Copyright.
**Students must complete all assignments to pass the course.
1. Submit all assignments on time, online, and as specified by the syllabus
or on dates revised at my discretion.
2. Read, edit, and revise all documents for spelling, grammar, style, format, and word-processing errors.
3. All assignments must be neat and look professional, as if submitted to a supervisor or an employer.
4. Any assignment that fails to meet the specifications in format, organization, or style will receive an F. Errors in usage, punctuation, spelling, and standard grammar will reduce your grade.
5. Keep your assignments in electronic and hard copy forms.
6. Revisions on all assignments improve most documents as an important part of the writing process. The quality of revisions may help determine your overall success at the end of the course—by improving your writing skills in a comprehensive way.
7. Plagiarism will result in an F in the course—as well as the University’s maximum punishment. Understanding the rules of copyrighted materials and citing information from the Internet is particularly important.
8. Individual and group oral presentations follow a schedule set in advance. If you miss your assigned presentation date, you forfeit that score. If an emergency should prevent your attendance, notify me by e-mail.BEFORE class.
9. Note: Poor planning does not constitute an emergency. Do not assume because you have sent a voice-mail message or an e-mail that I have received it. If you fail to appear for a scheduled presentation with an organization or a company without reasonable and appropriate notification, you may expect that relationship to end; if you fail to keep your contract with our class, you can expect a similar result.
10. Participation—both written and oral—is an important aspect of professional communication. Team evaluations and peer presentation appraisals also form a substantive element of assessment by presenters and listeners alike.
Professionalism is an important element of course conduct and grading as well and refers to the commitment that a student demonstrates in the classroom and toward course work. It encompasses attendance, on-time class arrival, participation, and respectful attitudes and actions toward class colleagues. Professional conduct in the workplace means taking responsibility for your training and performance; to extend the metaphor, it means understanding all class policies and course expectations through one’s own initiative, without reminders or prodding.
• You cannot communicate fully if you are not here or are not engaged in the material. Active attendance is required, and participation is expected. Please be prepared for class and ready to contribute to discussions or to initiate work at your station.
• More than two absences will forfeit your participation grade (10 points). If you miss class, you are responsible for all material assigned and for a written memo detailing the reason(s) for the absence. Attach supporting documentation (letters, copies of prescriptions, physicians’ notes, etc.) This will help keep track of events and issues affecting your work and provide you with another reality-based writing exercise! (Note: Interviewing during class time is not an excused absence. Illness, religious observations, and natural disasters qualify as excused.)
• Our class meets in a lab, but we may also use other settings to accommodate our assignments, to manage group collaborations, or to adjust for network servers and down- time. Please be prepared to make effective use of class time and bring your disk(s) or CDs to class. Bring back-ups in case of accidents, viruses, or other problems.
Academic honesty is central to UNCG’s mission and necessary to its vision as a “student-centered university, linking the Piedmont Triad to the world through learning, discovery, and service.” Make sure you understand and adhere to the principles of the University’s Honor Policy as described in the Student Handbook and accept your ethical responsibilities as students. Correct documentation is a critical part of successful professional communication. Please review information on citations and attributions in your text and supplementary materials.
Although you may not receive individual scores on assignments, your grade
will be based on performance from the following menu:
External Assignments Percentage of grade
Written work and online exercises 40
Remember that a grade is an estimate of your work and not your worth. You can, however, anticipate your grade through feedback and
the following scale:
• You must complete all assignments to pass the course. No exceptions.
• Assigned grades are not negotiable.
The syllabus proposes a working schedule: this means that we will adjust our pace and due dates according to class skills, progress, and needs. Scheduling difficulties may amend our projected goals and deadlines. In addition, we may occasionally have guests to supplement our discussions on various topics, if appropriate or necessary. Consequently, it is imperative that you stay fully aware of any changes.
As soon as you move one step up from the bottom,
your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others
through the written word.
Key: PC is the main text; assignment due dates are in bold; in-class activities are in green.
Text Organization: At the end of each module, or chapter, are sets of exercises and questions. We will address these in class through quizzes, discussions, and work groups.
Text Support Site: http://www.swlearning.com/bcomm/plung/plung_1e/plung.html
Jackson Library’s reference links: http://library.uncg.edu/depts/ref/bibs/
Blackboard Course Support (new server) and Links: http://blackboard.uncg.edu
Please come prepared to discuss and participate. We will target specific exercise assignments to match classroom issues. Most participants regard my approach as flexible, encouraging original responses and suggestions for assignments and activities. Discussions may invite proposed changes in the agenda if they effectively reflect class interests and needs.
Discussion Area Activities
8/17 Introductions; Course Overview Submissions in class: PIF; CSSA
Course Policies In class: Two-minute dossiers
Course web sites and Bb links Course procedures
8/24 Audiences and Facts Chapters 1-2; 8
In class: Group Exercise 2.1 Listening Self-Assessment
Online briefing sessions
8/31 Organization and Reasoning Chapters 2-3; 8
In class: Group Exercise 2.1 Presentation of 2.1
9/7 Language and Readability Chapters 3-4; 8
In class: Group Ex. 3.3
9/14 Arranging Information: Editorials Chapters 4-5
Individual Assignment Due: 4.1 Chapters 6-7 on your own
9/21 Formal Presentations Chapter 9
In class: Ex. 8.3
Case Research Assignment Discussion: [Report and Presentation due Weeks 12-14]
9/28 Special Session: Steve Cramer, Business Reference Librarian
Meeting place TBA
10/5 EXAM #1 IN LAB Chapters 1-8
Independent Work Sessions
10/19 E-mail Messages Chapters 10-11
Memos and Short Reports
Team Collaborations In-class: 11.3
10/26 Complex Reports: Analyzing Information Chapter 13
11/2 Procedures Chapter 14
Individual Assignment Due: Case Proposals
11/9 Work or Practice Session
11/16 Formal Case Report Presentations As scheduled
Peer evaluations (ongoing) Feedback forms
11/23 Case Report Presentations Continued as scheduled
11/30 Final Issues Course Evaluations
FINAL EXAM SUBMISSIONS: TBA
Grades are available online within 48 hours of the final exam period.