EN306B Prof Writing in the Disciplines:Business Communications

for S2T 2010

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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.


EN 306 Prof Wrtng in the Disciplines:Business Communications


S2T 2010 DLC


Whitesel, Cynthia


Associate Professor of English, Adjunct Faculty


Ph.D. Education Policy Studies
MA Comparative Literature
BA Comparative Literature

Office Location

Nottingham PA

Office Hours

Online daily

Daytime Phone


Other Phone

(cell) 610.613.5653;   fax 866-390-2512




Web Page


Semester Dates

03/15/2010 - 05/09/2010

Class Days

Consistent with Park policy, students should visit the class 4 days per week.

Class Time

Online continually


EN105, EN106, WCT, 60 hours

Credit Hours


Business Communication Essentials, by Courtland Bovee and John Thill (4th Edition), Prentice Hall, 2010. (ISBN-13: 978-0-13-608441-9)

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
 View the Webliography of sources for APA citation style and other resources.

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.
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FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
This course is the third course in the required writing sequence at Park University. It emphasizes professional writing skills and expectations in various disciplines while developing further basic writing skills. Specific departmental courses may be deemed equivalent and will be used to satisfy this course. The course will have three sections.
EN306B - Business Communications: 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. Prerequisites: EN105, EN106, passing the Writing Competency Test (WCT), and 60 credit hours. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

 The instructor's constructivist educational philosophy is one of encouraging students' interaction with lectures, readings, dialogues, examinations, websites, journals, business communication, research papers, including exchanges with other students. The instructor will engage students in Socratic thinking and learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues, and contradictions. The instructor expects that students learn independence in the online classroom and take responsibility for their learning. The instructor is available to answer questions and give guidance as needed.

This course enables the students to bridge the gap between rhetorical theory and practical application related to business communication. Thus, this class gives students opportunities to apply learning immediately in the workplace as well as in other organizations. Additionally, students can connect what they already know with the new material, thus improving learning.
Students should note that business standards will apply for writing style while using APA citation style for citations and references.  

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. 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


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?  

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?


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?


 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?


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?  



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. 



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

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


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

(Synthesis) Outcomes

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




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. 



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. 



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




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. 


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. 


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  


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:
Course Assessments: letters, memos, weekly listening journals, proposals, reports, case studies, workplace documents, problem-solution reporting, and discussions of readings and communication principles.  Meeting all deadlines is considered part of the course assessments. See additional handouts in the class for more details.

  Each student is responsible for:

  • Completing weekly reading assignments.
  • Reading and understanding all course guidelines posted in the class. 
  • Completing weekly discussion questions, assigned activities, and listening journals; submitting the listening journal to the instructor weekly.  
  • Completing six substantial writing assignments, referred to as Papers. 
  • Reviewing rubrics and policies for grading and knowing class expectations. 
  • Completing a proctored Final Examination.

       Each assignment with multiple parts should be submitted in ONE file. No multiple files will be acceptable.



% of Grade

Week Due

Paper #1 (Letter) 



Week 1, Sunday noon

Paper #2 (Memo w/research)  



Week 2, Sunday noon

Paper #3 ( Letter) 



Week 3, Sunday noon

Paper #4 (Proposal) 



Week 4, Sunday noon

Paper #5 (Resume & Cover Letter) 



Week 5, See Guidelines

Paper #6 (Report) 



Wednesday midnight, Week 7

Listening Journal



Saturday noon/Weekly

Class Participation  




Final Examination 



Week 8






A 90%-100% 360-400 pts
B 80%-89% 320-359 pts
C 70%-79% 280-319 pts
D 60%-69% 240-279 pts
F less than 60% less than 240 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submissions of work/missing assignments: Students must contact the professor prior to the assignment due date if they know they will be turning in an assignment late. Late submissions may be penalized one letter grade after 24 hours and up to the first three days late if no previous arrangement is made. Assignments turned in more than three days late may receive a failing grade, unless the student has made other arrangements with the instructor IN ADVANCE. This policy includes the conference discussions as well as the written papers. As in the workplace, it is essential that documents be delivered on time, in final professional formThere is no arrangement for extra credit in this class.

Papers turned in late may not receive detailed comments and may receive only a grade. Papers with detailed comments and late papers may not be revised for a higher grade.
Conference/Discussion work: According to Park's policies, students are expected to check into class at least four (4) times per week. I expect students to check in on Monday or Tuesday each week to see what is due that week. Note that each week, we will have more than one discussion topic; please check for those topics weekly. Due dates for discussion topics may vary and are announced.

Student participation is based minimally on two responses, one substantive primary response to each of the topics for discussion, carefully and thoughtfully composed, and one thoughtfully composed substantive peer response in each topic. That means minimum participation comprises one primary response and one peer response for each topic unless otherwise noted in the topic.

These responses are evaluated by the participation rubric posted in the classroom. Students should post their own primary responses to the discussion topic(s) by Thursday each week unless otherwise noted. After Thursday, students are expected to respond to one classmate in a well composed substantial response (and preferably more) at some time before the official end of the week, which is Sunday, midnight, Central time. Student responses not in the conference by Thursday will be considered late.

Extraordinary participation may earn extra points. Students who have not posted to the discussion topics by Thursday, midnight, will be counted as late to class. At that time, the discussion posting will be considered late and will be treated accordingly - unless students have contacted me and arranged for a later participation.
In keeping with Park Policy, students who are absent from class (unexcused) more than twice (two weeks) will not be given consideration to turn in assignments late or make up work. Stay in contact with the professor and keep the professor informed of unusual circumstances.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

All students are expected to observe rules of civility and respect with one another and the instructor in the classroom and in all email correspondence. Please address students by name and sign your own name when posting or emailing. If you have urgent questions that may be of interest to all students, post them in the office or use the class email list to send an email to the professor and other students with the question. Students can find our class email list under Email along the top tabs on the class page. Do not hesitate to contact me with your questions. I am available to you.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Please note that I try to adhere to the Syllabus readings as listed here. Changes will be announced in the Class Announcements and in a class email. Due to the nature of accelerated terms, you may find some crossover with some of the reading assignments. Students can refer to the Index of their text book for relevant pages for new concepts.  Please note that in ALL topics, students are expected to respond to at least one other student, with a substantive response, in order to receive full credit for participation. More substantive responses will ensure full credit and may result in additional credit, depending on content.

Please see the EN306B Guidelines under Course Home for descriptions of assignments and course policies.

Week 1: The Requirements for Good Business Communication
  • Readings: Read Chapters 1, 2, and 3; Appendix A for business formats; cover the chapter summaries in the lectures. Read related Lectures for the week.
  • Class Activities:
    • Introduce yourself. Check into class by Monday or Tuesday.
    • Introduction and questions about course objectives, syllabus, and assignment schedule.
    • Course overview: the need for good business communications; economic and ethical requirements of business communications.
    • Discussion and topic responses (first responses due Thursday each week at the latest).
  • Writing Assignments
    • Listening Journal #1 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon. See journal description for details.
    • Paper #1 (Letter) due in Dropbox by Sunday, noon. See Assignment Descriptions for details.
Week 2: Communicating in Organizations  
  • Readings: Read Chapters 4, 5, 10; review Ap. A, Ap. B for citation examples. Cover the chapter summaries in the Content Menu lessons; view Lecture/Virtual Tour #2: "Using Style and Grammar Checking Software," in the Course Home "Lectures" area. Read the related Lectures for the week.
  • Class Activities:
    • Check in on Monday or Tuesday.
    • Communicating with technology, especially e-mail, in organizations. The difference between business and other professional communications. Effective memos.
    • First responses in the conference discussions due by Thursday each week at the latest.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Listening Journal #2 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon.
    • Paper #2 (Memo w/research) due in Dropbox by Sunday, noon. See Assignment Descriptions for details.

Week 3:
Letters, Memos, and other E-texts; Audience Analysis; Routine, Good-News, and Goodwill Messages
  • Readings: Chapters 6, 7, 8. Review related Lectures. For your letter this week, review chapters 8 & 9 for guidance.
  • Class Activities: How to write clearly. Effective and persuasive letters. First responses due in class by Thursday each week at the latest.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Listening Journal #3 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon.
    • Paper #3 (Letter) due in Dropbox by Sunday, noon. See Assignment Descriptions for details.
Week 4: Persuasion in Business Documents; Planning and Organizing Writing Projects  
  • Readings: Chapters 9 and 10; related Lectures; take a look at proposal format and discussion in chapters 10 and 11 for your proposal due this week; cover the chapter summaries in the Content Menu lessons.
  • Class Activities: Planning, organizing, and drafting effectively. Writing for decision-making. Short reports.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Listening Journal #4 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon.
    • Paper #4 (Short Proposal) due in Dropbox by Sunday, noon. See Assignment Descriptions for details.
Week 5: Writing and Completing Business Documents; Employment Strategies; Reporting  
  • Readings: Review Chapter 2; read Chapter 13; review Ap. A; review related Lectures.
  • Class Activities: Writing and completing business documents. First responses due in class by Thursday each week at the latest.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Listening Journal #5 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon.
    •  Paper #5 (Resume and Cover Letter in one file!) due in Week 5 Dropbox by Sunday, midnight. See Assignment Description for details. Your resume and cover letter will be reviewed first online in the class discussion and will be due in the discussion by Thursday/Friday. After review and feedback, you'll submit your resume and cover letter to the Dropbox for grading by Sunday.
Week 6: Reports (con't); Employment Strategies (con't)
  • Readings: Chapter 14; Appendix B (Documentation of Report Sources). Review problem-solution reporting and reporting for decision makers.
  • Class Activities: Consideration of interviewing strategies; discussions of resume and report writing.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Listening Journal #6 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon. No formal writing assignments due this week. Your paper #6 problem-solution report is due Week 7 on Wednesday, midnight your time. Guidance for this paper is in the Guidelines, and in week 3 and week 7 content.

Week 7: Revising Report, Presenting Reports, and Other Information  

  • Readings: Review Chapter 12; review Ap. A and Ap. B. 
  • Class Activities: See conference discussions for more information.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Paper #6 (Problem-Solution Report) due in Dropbox by Wednesday, midnight CST.
    • Listening Journal #7 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon. ~

Week 8: Review and Final Exam  

  • Readings: Review previously covered materials. Writing improvement plans. Reflecting on learning.
  • Class Activities: Review Guidance for final exam posted in week 6. See discussion of improving writing in the workplace.
  • Writing Assignments:
    • Final Exam to be taken with your Proctor as scheduled.
    • Listening Journal #8 due in Journal Dropbox by Saturday, noon.

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
This class requires the use of APA style and business style for assignments.

My policy is not to accept papers that you have already completed at work and for work or for any other class. My paper requirements are specific to our class. You will need to review the assignment descriptions carefully and follow them.

It is considered unethical and academically dishonest to have someone else write your papers. This violation will result in a failed assignment. I will also file a violation report with Park University.

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
This class requires the use of APA style.

I have an account with plagiarism checking software and will submit for checking any paper that seems questionable to me. I share the results with the student.

Plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment and may result in a failing grade for the class. Please ask questions if you have questions about documentation, how to include a citation, or whether to include a citation. The Webliography lists URLs that give students style and formatting requirements for APA, which is used in this class. I will provide a tutorial to assist you in discovering what you need to know.

Additionally, I do not accept papers written for other classes. It is considered to be academic dishonesty to submit papers from one class to another without instructor permission. You may use your former papers as a reference, but you may not submit them to this class. You are expected to meet the specific requirements for my assignments.

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 .


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Last Updated:3/7/2010 7:05:48 AM