English 330: Business Writing Online
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  • 1. Smith OBW: 1/10 English 330: Business Writing Online Intersession 2007 Dr. Terry Smith NOTE: This is a preliminary draft based on my previous Intersession syllabus. I will be making minor changes and giving you a new copy during orientation, but I’m providing this now, so you’ll have a strong sense of what the class entails. The text, the expectations, and the general workload will remain the same. 10/24/06 Required Orientation Sunday, 12/10, from 6pm to 8:30pm in Dunkle Hall 124 at the FSU campus Contact Information Office phone: (301) 687-4241 Secretary phone: (301) 687-4221 Cell phone: I will share this at orientation Email: tsmith@frostburg.edu Blackboard website: http://blackboard.frostburg.edu Text website: www.meguffey.com http://websites.swlearning.com/cgiswlearning/course_products_wp.pl? fid=M20bI&product_isbn_issn=0324313926&discipline_number=401 Catalog Description Basic writing for business and para-professional occupations. Writing résumés, job applications, memos and reports, and other kinds of business writing. Intersession Online Class Description Want immersion in the genres and conventions of writing for the professional workplace? Take Business Writing Online this Intersession. You’ll work intensively in a community of writers learning to write résumés, letters, memos, and reports. Expect to spend the same amount of time on this class that you are supposed to spend on an Intersession face-to-face class: 25–30 hours a week. You can complete some of your work on weekends when there are no due assignments, but plan to spend about 4 hours daily M–F offline completing assignments and another 1–2 hours daily M–F online posting assignments and participating in class discussions. All work is asynchronous, and you should distribute your online time throughout the day for maximum benefit from the high level of interaction in the class. In addition to meeting the prerequisites, you need experience with and access to Word XP or 2003, FSU email, Blackboard, and Research Port. Satisfies GEP. Learning Outcomes This course is designed to help you do the following: • develop critical thinking skills about business communication; • communicate effectively in a variety of business situations; • refine process writing skills including planning, organizing, revising, and editing in business writing contexts; • generate various types of business documents such as memos, letters, informal and formal reports, and job application materials; • work well collaboratively with other business professionals; • become proficient at using online media for business communication.
  • 2. Smith OBW: 2/10 Required Text and Materials • Guffey, M. E. (2007). Essentials of business communication. (7th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western. (ISBN: 0324313926) • Readily available and reliable internet access • MS Word XP or 2003: the standard for both FSU and most professional workplaces • Acrobat reader: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html • FSU ID card activated at the circulation desk of the library for Research Port access Communication Phone • Since this is an online section of the course, we will communicate almost exclusively via email and Blackboard. I’ve listed my FSU phone numbers at the top of this syllabus since it is policy to do so, but please do not call me at FSU since I’m not working from there over Intersession. I will also give you my cell number during orientation, but please call me only in an emergency. This is, after all, an online course, so communicating online is most appropriate. Email • Because of limitations of other email programs, you are required to use your FSU email for all email communication during the course. I will send messages to your FSU account, and it is your responsibility to make sure you read them. Please do not forward your messages to another account because it creates certain limitations. One advantage of FSU email is that it allows us to request viewed receipts. • I will check my email and respond to messages multiple times daily, Monday through Friday. However, since I need time to prepare materials for and evaluate assignments from the class and since I won’t spend every waking hour on the class, please be realistic about when you expect my reply. Although I’ll usually reply to emails sent weekdays between 8a.m. and 8p.m. within a few hours, I guarantee a reply only within 24 hours. I will try to reply to emails on weekends and will usually do so, but there is no time guarantee then. Remember: professors of f2f Intersession classes are available only during the 2 ½ hours each weekday of the class meeting, and, though I’ll work many more hours, I simply can’t be available 24 hours a day all 7 days of the week. NOTE: Some internet service providers (ISPs), such as AOL, do not support direct access to FSU email. However, this problem is resolved easily: just log on to the web using your ISP, minimize the ISP’s window, open Internet Explorer (IE), and proceed to log on to FSU’s email via IE. Blackboard These are the sections of Blackboard (BB) I’ll be using and how I’ll be using them: • Announcements: I use this section extensively to communicate messages to the entire class. Make sure you read all announcements at least once a weekday; you are responsible for all material there.
  • 3. Smith OBW: 3/10 • Documents: I use this section extensively to post both necessary and supplemental materials. Unless I tell you explicitly not to, you should print all documents posted here since they are meant to be read on paper, not online. Most will contain a great deal of detail that you can’t remember from an online reading. • Email: Use this tool to send messages to your classmates and me without having to type in any addresses; just check the appropriate box. • Discussion Forums: This is where you’ll find Discussion Forums (DFs). Think of this as where we’ll have class meetings. You are responsible for all material in all DFs. Review all new postings at least once each weekday. • Dropbox (DB): Use this tool to submit final drafts of all assignments. When you use it to submit a final draft, make sure you select “Send.” The “Add” choice places a document in YOUR dropbox; the “Send” choice places the document in MINE. • Homepage: Use this tool to create your homepage. • Roster: This is where you can access the Homepages of your classmates. Just select the “LIST ALL” tab followed by the “List All” button, and you’ll see all their names as hyperlinks to their Homepages. • Grades: I’ll record grades here usually within a day or two of submission of an assignment, and you should check regularly to make sure your grades are accurate. It’s probably a good idea to print your grades occasionally to have a hard copy record of them. You can check your overall average at any time by dividing the number of points you’ve earned by the number of points possible. Check Your FSU Email and Blackboard Every Weekday • You are required to check both accounts daily, and you will be much more effective in the class if you check several times daily. NOTE: Occasionally, you will find the FSU email or Blackboard server down when you try to log on. If so, please try again at later times. If the problem persists for several hours, I’ll probably know about it, but, let me know anyway, and I will make any necessary accommodations. Communication is even more important in an online course than in a traditional one, so I encourage you to communicate with one another and with me regularly so that this class will be an especially successful one! Participation Your active and enthusiastic participation in this course is extremely important. Successful online classes are inherently student-centered, and you need to take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your own learning experience.
  • 4. Smith OBW: 4/10 Academic Dishonesty Although it should go without saying, I’ll say explicitly that you must complete all writing for this class yourself. You may and should get feedback, in the form of oral or written commentary on your writing, but you must do all the actual writing. The following is the statement on Academic Dishonesty from the Pathfinder that the English Department faculty members include in our syllabi: Academic dishonesty is defined to include any form of cheating and/or plagiarism. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, such acts as stealing or altering testing instruments, falsifying the identity of persons for any academic purpose; offering, giving, or receiving unauthorized assistance on an examination, quiz or other written or oral material in a course; or falsifying information on any type of academic record. Plagiarism is the presentation of written or oral material in a manner which conceals the true source of documentary material; or the presentation of material which uses hypotheses, conclusions, evidence, data or the like in a way that the student appears to have done work which he/she did not, in fact, do. In summary, you may not use material from a source other than yourself without properly citing and documenting that source. For documenting sources in this class, you should use the American Psychological Association (APA) style, 5th ed., which is easily available to you. This style manual is available in our library, I post under Documents the relevant pages from the manual, and our text contains a good summary of the manual. I require APA because it is the most commonly used style manual in business writing, and the skills learned in using it are easily transferable to whatever style guide is required in your professional workplace. IMPORTANT NOTE: Any instance of academic dishonesty in this class will result in failure on the assignment, may result in automatic failure of the class, and may result in additional punitive action. MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: English Department policy requires instructors to refer students guilty of intentional plagiarism for Judicial Board disciplinary action, which may result in sanctions as severe as expulsion. MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: These sanctions are not limited to this semester: they can be imposed at any time during or after the semester in which the academic dishonesty/ plagiarism occurs. Grading The grades for this course for the official transcript are the following:  A 90-100%  B 80-89%  C 70-79%  D 60-69%  F below 60%  CS Continued Study Required. In order to receive a CS grade, you must be taking the course to meet the Basic University Requirement in the General Education Program. In addition you must complete and submit all assignments on time, and you must fulfill any other criteria stated in this syllabus.
  • 5. Smith OBW: 5/10 These are the evaluated elements that will determine your final grade: Writing Assignments • Electronic résumé (ER) 100 points • Cover letter (CL) 100 points • Informal progress memo (PM) 100 points • Formal consultant’s report (CR) 300 points Reading Assignments • Response journals 10 points each • Journal discussions 5 points each Class Discussion • Non-journal DFs 100 points Total Homepage 20 points I will post the grades for each assignment on Blackboard soon after evaluating it, so you will have current information on how you are doing in the course. At any point in the semester, you can go to “My Grades” in BB and check your average by simply dividing the # of points you’ve earned by the # of points you could have earned. If you ever notice a mistake in a grade I post for you, please inform me immediately. It is your responsibility to keep copies of all of your evaluated materials and all of your grade- related email communication with me in case there is a dispute about your grade. Additional detail about each component of grading follows. Writing Assignments Since the primary emphasis in this course is on writing, your writing assignments will be the primary element determining your grade. All writing assignments must be computer-generated in Word. They will be evaluated with consideration of 4 areas: (1)content; (2)organization; (3)style, grammar, punctuation, mechanics; and (4)design. You will receive an additional Assignment Document for each writing assignment giving specific expectations for that assignment. Since they comprise such a significant portion of your semester grade, I accept late writing assignments, but I impose a penalty of 5% for each 12 hours or portion thereof the assignment is late, and I will not accept any writing assignment more than 48 hours after it is due. Please understand that there must be some time as the deadline, and a writing assignment is late immediately after the deadline of 11:59pm. Since you will be submitting via the Dropbox (DB) e-copies of various versions of these writing assignments, it is very important that we use standardized file names and dropbox titles. Use the same name for both: your last name, underscore, your first name, underscore, the writing assignment abbreviation—all in lower case. The abbreviations for each writing assignment are next to them in the section on grading above. I would name my first submission smith_terry_er. Reading Assignments
  • 6. Smith OBW: 6/10 It is very important that you read the chapters and read them thoroughly as preparation for discussion of the materials and, more importantly, successful completion of the writing assignments. Therefore, you will complete a reading-response journal for each chapter that you read. A document containing details about completion of journals and related discussion will be posted in Documents before the first journal is due. As with my traditional, face-to-face classes, I will not assign credit for any late journals or discussions. I have both short-term and long-term reasons for this policy. The short-term reason is practical: journals must be posted before discussions can be posted, and students rarely return to these DFs after making their last postings. The long-term reason is that you will be expected to meet deadlines in your professional lives after college, so you should practice meeting them while in a college professional writing class. Please do not ask me to make exceptions to this policy for any reason; it is not appropriate. There are many graded assignments in these two categories, and each one counts relatively little. Therefore, not receiving credit for a single assignment in these categories does not pose a serious problem. In order to avoid problems with meeting deadlines, my advice is not to wait until the last minute to complete and post assignments. Rewrite Policy Since we will not be practicing peer response during the drafting process, I’m going to let you rewrite any 2 of the first 3 writing assignments--the ER, CL, or PM--for up to an additional 5 points on the grade for that writing assignment. Your rewrite should show significant revision based on all my comments and your own additional reconsiderations.
  • 7. Smith OBW: 7/10 Course Schedule To maintain flexibility, I reserve the right to make modifications in the Course Schedule (always in your interest) with at least one day’s notice. In addition to the abbreviations for the writing assignments that I explained earlier, I use these abbreviations: DF: Discussion Forum; DB: Dropbox. There is additional detail about assignments in BB; use this Course Schedule as a checklist to make sure you complete all work daily. All assignments are due by 11:59pm on the date they’re listed. WEEK 1 Tuesday, 1/2 Read syllabus closely. OPTIONAL: Participate in DF on syllabus. Print and read “Instructions for Completing Homepages.” Create Homepage in BB. (20 points). Print and read “Instructions for Reading-Response Journals and Discussion.” Read and post journals in DFs for each of the following: Ch. 1, “Building Your Career Success with Communication Skills” (10 points) Ch. 2, “Creating Business Messages” (10 points) Wednesday, 1/3 Discuss Ch. 1 in DF (5 points). Discuss Ch. 2 in DF (5 points). Read and post journals in DFs for each of the following: Ch. 3, “Improving Writing Techniques” (10 points) Ch. 4, “Revising and Proofreading Business Messages” (10 points) Ch. 13, part 1: “The Job Search, Résumés, and Cover Letters” (section on job search and résumés, pp. 376-402) (10 points). Thursday, 1/4 Discuss Ch. 3 in DF (5 points). Discuss Ch. 4 in DF (5 points). Discuss Ch. 13, part 1 in DF (5 points). Print and read Electronic Résumé Assignment Document (ERAD). Review ER examples in Documents. Read all postings in DF on ER and post as needed. Work on ER. Friday, 1/5 Submit ER via DB. Make sure you “send” (100 points).
  • 8. Smith OBW: 8/10 WEEK 2 Monday, 1/8 Read and post journal in DF for the following: Ch. 13, part 2: “The Job Search, Résumés, and Job Application Letters” (section on cover letters, pp. 403–409) (10 points). Optional: Read the following: Ch. 6, “Direct Letters and Goodwill Messages” Print and read Cover Letter Assignment Document (CLAD). Review CL examples in Documents. Begin search for targets. Read all postings in DF on CL and post as needed. Tuesday, 1/9 Discuss Ch. 13, part 2 in DF (5 points). Post targets in DF for your classmates’ responses and my approval. Work on CL. Read all postings in DF on CL and post as needed. Wednesday, 1/10 Submit CL via DB (100 points). Thursday, 1/11 Read and post journal in DF on Ch. 10, “Proposals and Formal Reports” (10 points). Print and read Consultant’s Report Assignment Document (CRAD). Review CR examples in Documents. Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Find and read sources on your topic. Friday, 1/12 Discuss Ch. 10 in DF (5 points). Work on CR. Post proposed topics in DF for your classmates’ responses and my approval. Read all postings in other DFs on CR and post as needed.
  • 9. Smith OBW: 9/10 WEEK 3 Monday, 1/15 No class due to Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday Tuesday, 1/16 Read and post journals in DFs for the following: Ch. 5: “E-Mail and Memorandums” (10 points) Ch. 9: “Informal Reports” (10 points). Print and read Progress Memo (PM) Assignment Document. Review PM examples in Documents. Work on CR. Read all postings in DF on PM and post as needed. Wednesday, 1/17 Discuss Ch. 5 in DF (5 points). Discuss Ch. 9 in DF (5 points). Submit your PM via DB (100 points). Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Thursday, 1/18 Work on CR. Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Friday, 1/19 Work on CR. New DF topics: Title Page, Table of Contents, and Organization Content and SGPM Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed.
  • 10. Smith OBW: 10/10 WEEK 4 Monday, 1/22 Work on CR. New DF topics: CR Documentation, Executive Summary, Formatting, and General Appearance Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Optional: Submit via DB rewrites of any 2 of the first 3 writing assignments: ER, CL, or PM. Submit CR rough draft via DB for my response Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I will respond to them in the order in which I receive them, but it takes about 2 hours per report, so please understand that I might get a little backed up. You will get my response within 24 hours, however. Tuesday, 1/23 Work on CR. Submit your CR rough draft via DB if you’d like my response today. Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Wednesday, 1/24 Work on CR. Submit your CR rough draft via DB if you’d like my response today. Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Thursday, 1/25 Work on CR. Submit your CR rough draft by noon via DB if you’d like my response today. Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. Friday, 1/26 Submit CR final draft by 11:59pm via DB (300 points). Read all postings in DFs on CR and post as needed. I’ll post your CR grades and final grades over the weekend .