Syllabus Entrance
Printer Friendly
Email Syllabus

EN 306B Prof Writing in the Disciplines:Business Communications
Smith, Judith M.


Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

Course

EN 306 Professional Writing in the Disciplines: Business Communications

Semester

F2T 2009 DLE

Faculty

Smith, Judith M.

Title

Assistant Professor of Communications/Senior Faculty

Degrees/Certificates

Ph.D. Educational Technology from The American University
M.S. in Education from Trinity University
B.A. in Journalism from Mississippi State University

Office Location

Online

Office Hours

9-5 Eastern Daylight Time

Daytime Phone

301-907-9287  -- please, no calls after 7 pm unless it is an emergency.

E-Mail

Judith.Smith@park.edu

jsmith@sitetrainer.com

Semester Dates

October 19 to December 13, 2009

Class Days

Every day; the online class is open to work around your schedule.

Class Time

TBA

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:

        Business Communication Essentials, by Courtland Bovee and John Thill (4th Edition - With Software), Prentice Hall

Click Here For Park University Online Bookstore

        

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Below are good resources for use in our online classroom. Please check them out when you have an opportunity.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.


Course Description:
This course will emphasize knowing and preparing various kinds of communications in business and related fields: business letters, reports, proposals, surveys, field studies, visual aids, group presentations, public lectures.

Welcome to Business Communications (English 306B), on line! This course focuses on the special communication needs of today's global, diverse, and high-technology workplace. It is designed to produce students who can demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for substantive, clear, and correct business communications, with emphasis on writing skills. Because it is a writing course, Business Communications focuses on helping you develop effective written communication skills for the workplace.

In the course, you will analyze, discuss, and perform writing tasks familiar to most businesses, such as memos, letters, reports, and proposals, and you'll learn how to perform research for these writing tasks using the extraordinary resources of the World Wide Web.

We also cover documents that are important for individual career progression, such as resumes. Finally, we'll present topics and resources to help you understand more about the overall communication process within organizations.

Each week we'll focus on different writing situations, issues, or problems encountered in the workplace through our online conferencing discussions; these are reinforced and expanded in readings in our text, Business Communication Essentials, by Bovee, Thill, and Schatzman.



Educational Philosophy:
 As a teacher, my philosophy has been one of interactiveness as the key to success in online learning classes (particularly communication classes). Lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, tests, writing samples, and other activities/resources together make for a good learning experience, and so it is important for all participants (faculty and adult learners) to stay as connected in the class as possible.

It is fine to discuss different viewpoints on issues here in class; in fact, I encourage sharing many different views, with tact, understanding, and the view that we may agree or disagree from time to time...that is the essence of learning.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze and explain techniques and standards for effective and efficient written communication with audiences in today's high-tech, globally-oriented, and diverse business and government environment.
  2. Develop business documents applying systematic processes for the steps of planning; designing; researching; organizing; drafting; revising; and proofing.
  3. Integrate research findings into business documents, using effective techniques for evaluating, verifying, and documenting information.


  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. State and explain the requirements for communicating effectively and ethically in a globally-oriented, technological economy.
  2. Discuss and apply techniques of project management - through the development of an Information Plan and other activities - necessary for effective business writing tasks.
  3. Apply techniques of traditional and online research necessary for effective business writing.
  4. Apply techniques of analysis and decision-making necessary for effective organizing of written business documents.
Core Assessment:

Analytic (Problem-Solution) Business Report.  The core assessment requires a business report focused on a topic appropriate for a business or organizational setting. The report will incorporate sources from online and other research using standard business document design elements and documentation formats. The report be more fully developed than previous assignments.  The report must provide research findings, conclusions, and recommendations sufficient for decision making in a business or organizational setting.  

Weight: No less than 20% of the final course grade.
 

Learning Rubric

Competency

Exceeds Expectation (3)

Meets Expectation (2)

Does Not Meet Expectation (1)

No Evidence (0)

Intent/Purpose: clear? (Synthesis)  
Outcomes 1, 2
 

The document’s intent and purpose are both explicitly and clearly stated. 

Intent or purpose not explicitly stated, but understandable to the target audience. 

Intent and purpose not stated and not clear. 

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Audience: targeted? (Analysis)  Outcomes 1,2
 

Audience’s needs and expectations are fully addressed. 

Audience’s needs or expectations are partly addressed. 

Audience’s needs and expectations not addressed. 

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Focused on a single controlling idea? (Synthesis)  
Outcomes 1,2
 

A sharply-focused controlling idea is clearly stated at the beginning. The writer keeps the reader focused on the controlling idea throughout the document.  

Controlling idea is stated at the beginning; focus on the controlling idea may not be clear throughout the document, but is re-stated in the conclusion.  

Controlling idea not stated; reader does not know where the writer is headed.  

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Scope is clearly delineated? (Analysis)  
Outcomes 1,2
 

Scope is clearly stated. 

Reader must infer the of the scope covered by the document. 

Scope is vague or not stated. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Perspective is appropriate?  
(Synthesis)

Outcomes 1,2
 

Writer’s perspective is clear, and accommodates the audience’s perspective. Document evidences understanding of cultural and organizational diversity. 

Writer’s perspective clearly implied; may not (or may only partially) address the reader’s perspective. 

Writer’s perspective is vague or does not take into account the audience’s needs and expectations. 

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Controlling Idea: sufficiently developed?

(Synthesis) 
Outcomes
 1,2,3

Controlling idea fully developed with external documented evidence, concrete examples and illustrations, and both inductive and deductive analysis/explanation.  

Controlling idea developed with concrete examples as evidence and inductive or deductive analysis/explanation 

Controlling idea not fully developed. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Analysis: are facts and opinions explained?

(Synthesis)  
Outcomes

 1, 2, 3
 

All opinions and facts are explained or confirmed to meet the reader’s needs and expectations.  

Essential opinions or facts supporting the controlling idea are explained or confirmed. May have some minor lapses. 

Opinions and facts are not explained or confirmed.  

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Evidence: detailed and convincing?

(Synthesis)  
Outcomes

1, 2, 3
 

Evidence is convincing, clearly documented and verifiable. Writer has clearly evaluated sources.   

 Evidence is limited but generally convincing. May be somewhat outdated or lacking in depth.

Writer does not provide evidence to support assertions. Document is not credible.

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Critical Thinking  
(Synthesis) Outcomes
1, 2, 3 

Consistently applies effective critical thinking techniques. Considers other perspectives, including cultural, professional, and personal. Considers both pro and con. Applies deductive and inductive logic, as appropriate. 

Considers pros and cons to the degree that the document is credible.  

Document is one-sided and contains logical flaws and fallacies. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Main Supporting Parts: clearly defined and simple?  
(Synthesis)

Outcomes

1,2,3
 

All main supporting points stated early, and in appropriate sequence.

Main points are partially or incompletely stated, or may be inferred by the reader. 

Main supporting points are not stated, and the reader cannot tell what is to follow after the introduction.

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Introduction

(Synthesis)  
Outcomes
 1,2,3

Sets stage, fully gives reader sense of purpose, and what is to follow; states controlling idea and major parts, Provides transition to body. Addresses needs and expectations of the target audience. States intended goal and objectives of the document. Transitions effectively to the next section of the report.

States purpose or controlling idea clearly, but not major parts. Partially addresses the goals and objectives of the document. Partially addresses the needs and expectations of the target audience.

Does state the purpose or address the needs and expectations of the target audience. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Transitions

 (Synthesis) 
Outcomes
 2

Transitions provide continuity and emphasis, and move the reader smoothly towards the document’s conclusion.

Transitions are present at critical places, such as between paragraphs. 

No 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Conclusion  
(Synthesis) Outcomes
 1,2,3

Memorable conclusion. Returns to controlling idea, reviews ideas, provides closure to enable effective decision making. 

Summarizes the document and re-states the controlling idea. 

Ends abruptly or ambiguously.  

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Document Design

(Application)

Outcome

2

Text design uses correct fonts, headers, white space, and other elements to 

Uses basic design elements that are conventional to a business report.

Document design causes reader fatigue.

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Paragraphs  
(Synthesis)

Outcomes
 2

Suitably brief and focused. Clear topic sentences. Unified and coherent. Fully developed with a balance of facts and explanation. 

Each paragraph generally covers a separate topic.

Paragraphs lack consistent structure.

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Sentences

(Synthesis)  
Outcomes
2

Varied, and of a suitable style for the audience; not excessively long or short. Coordinated. Complex when appropriate. Appropriately short to fit the needs of a busy workplace reader. No fragments, fused sentences, or comma splices.

Generally coordinated. Minimal fragments, fused sentences, or comma splices.

Uncoordinated; coherence problems. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Readability and Economy of Style

(Synthesis))

 

 

Style is easily understandable in a single rapid reading. Minimizes passive voice, smothered verbs, and bureaucratic and academic language.

Style is understandable to a busy workplace reader, with a minimum of stylistic distractions.

Style is difficult to read

Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Tone  
Outcomes
 2

Suitable for audience; not ambiguous. Uses personal pronouns as appropriate.

Appropriate for setting.  May occasionally come across as impersonal or bureaucratic.  

Ambiguous, inappropriate, or offensive tone for situation and audience. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Vocabulary  
Outcomes
 1,2

Concise and appropriate for the needs and expectations of the target audience. No jargon or language to impress rather than express.  Complex terms are defined. Abbreviations and acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used. Fluent yet not pretentious. 

Generally understandable – reader may need to consult references.

Inappropriate, confusing. Usage is nonstandard.

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

Grammar and Mechanics  
Outcomes

1,2
 

No distracting errors in grammar, mechanics, usage, punctuation, or spelling. 

Only occasional errors; not distracting. 

Errors distract the reader and erode writer’s credibility. 

 Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 

 

Class Assessment:

Students are responsible for clicking on the link below and thoroughly reading each Online course policy.  If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.

Online Course Policies

Because this information is important, it is repeated in the grading policies, as I do not want it to be overlooked during the term of the class. This is to avoid any misunderstandings as we get started.

Also:

1. Attendance -- You are expected to sign in to our conference discussions each week AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK ON MONDAY OR TUESDAY. Park checks to see whether each and every student has been to class and when. If you have not signed in to the conference or participated in class, Park sends me a note to let me know. Your absence and Park's red flag sets off a chain of events that can be complicated, and it means more work for me as I have to track you down and notify Park that you are indeed still among us. For you, it may mean that you get dropped from your class for administrative reasons. Please just sign in once a week at the beginning of the week and save us all the hassles. Your signing in will count towards your required four (4) hours a week on the Internet.

2. Late Papers -- I am not lenient about due dates. Your papers and conference postings all have due dates and I plan my work around them. So when an assignment is due on Sunday, midnight your time, I plan to begin grading papers and postings on Monday of that week. My goal is always to get your papers back to you with useful feedback within a few days of receiving them. I am always happy to grade papers early if you turn them in to me early. Just drop me a note to notify me that you have submitted early. All papers should be submitted to the Dropbox.

3. Revisions of Assignments – No revisions are permitted in this class unless I request that you revise an assignment. That means you have to submit the best paper you are able to write. I will give detailed feedback that you can use for the next paper.

4. Mechanical errors -- These are defined as spelling errors, punctuation errors, formatting errors, grammatical errors, representations of numbers in written documents, and so on. The most common errors I have seen on most assignments are mechanical errors. Mechanical errors can cost you one letter grade or more, depending on their severity. Get yourself a handbook and review comma and semi-colon usage, as these are the most common punctuation errors I see. Do this BEFORE you turn in your first paper. Here is an online website to help you with writing:

http://dianahacker.com/writersref/

Please note that if it is apparent that a paper has **not** been proofread before it was submitted for a grade, it will earn an automatic zero. This is a standard criterion for excellence in a business writing class and in the workplace; we will meet this with every assignment. 

5. Incompletes -- Park discourages our giving Incompletes, but there are occasions when they must be given. Park's reasoning here is sound. Most students don't complete their Incompletes and the "I" turns to an F.

Here are the rules before I will consider an incomplete. (1) You must have been contributing weekly in the conference discussion without fail; (2) you must have completed ALL written assignments but one; (3) you must request the Incomplete in writing and have a legitimate reason for needing it; (4) your incomplete work must be accomplished within two weeks of finishing the course or I will simply submit the grade you have earned at that point.

Park has paperwork for each of us to fill out and I will send you the form to fill out. So please plan your work so that you don't have to ask for an Incomplete.

Submission of Original Work

All work submitted must be written for this course during the term in which the course is being completed. Work from other courses or from other academic or non-academic settings, past or present, is not acceptable and may be subject to immediate failure.

Grading:

1. Attendance -- You are expected to sign in to our conference discussions each week AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK ON MONDAY OR TUESDAY. Park checks to see whether each and every student has been to class and when. If you have not signed in to the conference or participated in class, Park sends me a note to let me know. Your absence and Park's red flag sets off a chain of events that can be complicated, and it means more work for me as I have to track you down and notify Park that you are indeed still among us. For you, it may mean that you get dropped from your class for administrative reasons. Please just sign in once a week at the beginning of the week and save us all the hassles. Your signing in will count towards your required four (4) hours a week on the Internet.

2. Revisions of Assignments – No revisions are permitted in this class unless I request that you revise an assignment. That means you have to submit the best paper you are able to write. I will give detailed feedback that you can use for the next paper.

3. Mechanical errors -- These are defined as spelling errors, punctuation errors, formatting errors, grammatical errors, representations of numbers in written documents, and so on. The most common errors I have seen on most assignments are mechanical errors. Mechanical errors can cost you one letter grade or more, depending on their severity. Get yourself a handbook and review comma and semi-colon usage, as these are the most common punctuation errors I see. Do this BEFORE you turn in your first paper. Here is an online website to help you with writing:

http://dianahacker.com/writersref/

Please note that if it is apparent that a paper has **not** been proofread before it was submitted for a grade, it will earn an automatic zero. This is a standard criterion for excellence in a business writing class and in the workplace; we will meet this with every assignment. 

4. Incompletes -- Park discourages our giving Incompletes, but there are occasions when they must be given. Park's reasoning here is sound. Most students don't complete their Incompletes and the "I" turns to an F.

Here are the rules before I will consider an incomplete. (1) You must have been contributing weekly in the conference discussion without fail; (2) you must have completed ALL written assignments but one; (3) you must request the Incomplete in writing and have a legitimate reason for needing it; (4) your incomplete work must be accomplished within two weeks of finishing the course or I will simply submit the grade you have earned at that point.

Park has paperwork for each of us to fill out and I will send you the form to fill out. Please plan your work so that you don't have to ask for an Incomplete.


Submission of Original Work

All work submitted must be written for this course during the term in which the course is being completed. Work from other courses or from other academic or non-academic settings, past or present, is not acceptable and may be subject to immediate failure.

Finally, admission that one has overlooked the above grading policy requirements during the term of the class is not an acceptable rationale for a grade challenge. Thank you for your attention to this information.

You will be able to track your average exactly throughout the course. The grading scale is as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. You will know in advance the standards, points, and percentage for each assignment. My goal is to give you prompt, clear, and useful feedback to help you become a better writer and thinker. Each student is responsible for:

    • Completing weekly reading assignments.

    • Completing Weekly Discussion Questions and an Online Journal and submitting the journal to the instructor on dates specified by the instructor. 
       
    • Completing six substantial writing assignments, referred to as Papers. 
       
    • Completing a Final Examination. 

    Course Grading Scale – See next section.

    Late submissions of work/missing assignments: Late submissions of assignments will be handled on a case-by-case basis, though as in the workplace, it is essential that documents be delivered on time, in final formAssignments which are still missing at the end of the term will receive no credit.

    Proctored final examination - An examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location.  For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test.  Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website. 

    Other Information on proctored exams:

    • It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor. 
    • Approval of proctors is the discretion of the Online instructor. 
    • A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval. 
    • Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade. 
    • Some Graduate Online courses may not require a proctored Final Examination.
  • Late Submission of Course Materials:
    Late Papers -- I am not lenient about due dates. Your papers and conference postings all have due dates and I plan my work around them. So when an assignment is due on Sunday, midnight your time, I plan to begin grading papers and postings on Monday of that week. My goal is always to get your papers back to you with useful feedback within a few days of receiving them. I am always happy to grade papers early if you turn them in to me early. Just drop me a note to notify me that you have submitted early. All papers should be submitted to the Dropbox.

    Classroom Rules of Conduct:

    Attendance -- You are expected to sign in to our conference discussions each week AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK ON MONDAY OR TUESDAY. Park checks to see whether each and every student has been to class and when. If you have not signed in to the conference or have been active (i.e. participating in discussions) in class, Park sends me a note to let me know. Your absence and Park's red flag sets off a chain of events that can be complicated, and it means more work for me as I have to track you down and notify Park that you are indeed still among us. For you, it may mean that you get dropped from your class for administrative reasons. Please just sign in once a week at the beginning of the week and save us all the hassles. Sgning in will count towards your required four (4) hours a week on the Internet.



    Submission of Original Work

    All work submitted must be written for this course during the term in which the course is being completed. Work from other courses or from other academic or non-academic settings, past or present, is not acceptable and may be subject to immediate failure.

    Finally, admission that one has overlooked the above grading policy requirements during the term of the class is not an acceptable rationale for a grade challenge. Thank you for your attention to this information.

     

  • A. General. You will be able to track your average exactly throughout the course. The grading scale is as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. You will know in advance the standards, points, and percentage for each assignment. My goal is to give you prompt, clear, and useful feedback to help you become a better writer and thinker. Each student is responsible for:

    • Completing weekly reading assignments.

    • Completing Weekly Discussion Questions and an Online Journal and submitting the journal to the instructor on dates specified by the instructor. 
       
    • Completing six substantial writing assignments, referred to as Papers. 
       
    • Completing a Final Examination.
  • Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

    • Paper One, The Memo. Worth Five points or 5% of your grade. Due:  November 1 (end of week two)
    • Paper Two, The Memo with Research. Worth 10 points or 10% of your grade. Due: November 8 (end of week three)
    • Paper Three, Letters. Worth 15 points or 15% of your grade. Due: November 15 (end of week four)
    • Paper Four, Proposal. Worth 10 points or 10% of your grade. Due: November 22 (end of week five)
    • Paper Five, Resume. Worth 5 points or 5% of your grade. Due: November 29 (end of week six)
    • Paper Six, Report. Worth 20 points or 20% of your grade. Due: December 6  (end of week seven)
    • Journal, worth 5 points or 5% of your grade. Due: December 6 (end of week seven)
    • Class Participation, worth 10 points or 10% of your grade. Taken all semester.
    • Final Exam, worth 20 points or 20% of your grade. Due:  December 6 (end of week seven)
    Total is 100 points for the semester. Grades are cumulative at the end of the term.

    Academic Honesty:
    Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

    Plagiarism:
    Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

    Attendance Policy:
    Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

    1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
    2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
    3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
    4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
    5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
    6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
    ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

    Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

    Disability Guidelines:
    Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

    Copyright:

    This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

    Last Updated:10/12/2009 7:29:54 PM