EN306B Prof Writing in the Disciplines:Business Communications

for U1T 2012

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EN 306 Prof Writing in the Disciplines:Business Communications


U1T 2012 DLB


McGee, Nancy J.


Ph.D., English Composition, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
M.A., English Literature, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
B.S., Secondary Education, Edinboro State University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Daytime Phone

(586) 722-4204



Semester Dates

June 4 - July 29, 2012

Class Days


Class Time



EN105, EN106, passing the Writing Competency Test and 60 credit hours. 3:0:3

Credit Hours



Kitty O. Locker and Donna S. Kienzler. Business and Administrative Communication, 9th edition (customized). (Required).

William A. Sabin. The Gregg Reference Manual, 11th (Tribute) edition. (Required)

ISBN: 9780077910228  The ISBN contains the Locker custom book, Gregg Reference Manual and the website access.

Additional Resources:
Additional Resources:  Course webliography, online job aids; manuals and other documents in the Document Sharing area of the course.

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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Course Description:
EN306B Professional Writing in the Disciplines-Business Communications: 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. B. 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 and 60 credit hours. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Learning to write well is more than a means of getting good grades: it can mean the difference in the life that the student and his or her family will have, given the importance of good communication skills in the workplace and as a means of protecting oneself as a consumer. I thus approach the teaching of writing as a key component for every student's preparation. Students will vary in the initial skills that they bring to the courses, but everyone can always improve in his or her communication. Because I believe that credibility is of vital importance in getting ideas accepted, I hold student writing to high standards of correctness and organization, since these are the elements that instructors, employers, and others will use to judge the writer. I enjoy the way that online classes provide an opportunity for all students to become instructors, as they share their experiences and perceptions, and I think this aspect adds a richness and immediacy to the 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.

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:
Each week you will submit a minimum of two postings on each discussion board. (Some weeks have more than one discussion board.) One posting is a well-developed response to the discussion question (250 or more words). The other posting is a substantive reply to one other person.

You will keep journal postings in a separate MS Word file during the semester and submit this in week eight.

In addition to these recurring writing tasks, there are nine writing assignments:

Week one (due June 10): a short memo and project #1
Week two (due June 17): a letter with research
Week three (due June 24): a research proposal
Week four (due July 1): a presentation
Week five (due July 8): a cover letter and resume
Week six (due July 15): a progress report
Week seven (due July 22): a business report
Week eight (due July 29): the final exam and journal

Weekly participation: 100 points total (10%)
Journal: 50 points (5%)
Short memo: 50 points (5%)
Project #1: 50 points (5%)
Memo with research: 50 points (5%)
Research proposal: 100 points (10%)
Presentation: 100 points (10%)
Cover letter and resume: 50 points (5%)
Progress report: 50 points (5%)
Business report: 200 points (20%)
Final exam: 200 points (20%)

Total: 1,000 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Please try to  routinely turn work in early and not run into situations in which emergencies cause you to turn work in late. However, if an emergency does occur, please contact me to work out an extended deadline prior to the regular due date. Since some of the writing assignments build on each other, it's important to avoid late work whenever possible. Papers must be turned in within one week of their initial deadline to receive credit. If you turn papers in late without having received permission for an extended deadline, there will be a ten percent grade penalty.

The discussion boards are group work. To avoid asking that the class return to a previous week's discussion, I give credit only for postings that are submitted no later than midnight Central on Sundays (between Sunday and Monday) each week. The initial responses to the discussion board questions are due by Thursday each week in order to help the class members have time to build on each other's postings. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
You are encouraged to challenge each other's ideas and make suggestions to each other, but this must always be done in a professional and respectful manner.

In order to receive best benefit from the class, expect to sign in and participate (through reading and/or writing) at least five days per week. Read all of the postings on the discussion board. Often I will post responses to other students that call for ideas from any student in class or that provide answers to common questions.

Please use the instructor's office area to ask general questions regarding the assignments or class policies. If you want to ask about your specific papers, please use email.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Week one (June 4 - 10): Read chapters one and two; turn in project #1 and the first short memo
Week two (June 11 - 17): Read Locker chapters three and four; Gregg 417-419; submit the letter with research
Week three (June 18 - 24): Read Locker chapters five and six; skim proposals section in Locker fifteen; submit the research proposal
Week four (June 25 - July 1): Read Locker chapters seven and eight; submit presentation
Week five (July 2 - 8): Read Locker chapters nine and ten; submit cover letter and resume
Week six (July 9 - 15): Read Locker chapters eleven and twelve; skim progress reports section in Locker 15; submit progress report
Week seven (July 16 - 22): Read Locker chapters thirteen, fourteen, and sixteen; submit business report
Week eight (July 23 - 29): Submit final exam and journal

Most of the papers in the class reflect one context, that of researching details regarding a country outside of the United States in order to recommend or not recommend that it be used as the site of a new site for a hypothetical company that you create.

Week one: You begin by researching basic facts about a country that you choose, such as what the political and economic situations ares. For example, if you find out that the country is in the midst of a civil war, you probably wouldn't want to recommend it for a new business.

Week two: You continue the research, this time on the cultural aspects of the country to see how favorable these would be for the hypothetical company you create. If, for instance, you want to propose a doggie daycare center and you discover that dogs are regarded as unclean animals and are never kept as pets in this country, that also would make you reject this as a good site.

Week three: You make plans for the final report on this project with a research proposal. In this, you determine what additional research is needed and sketch out who will be using the report that you create.

Week four: You create a presentation about the country, using the information found that will be most useful. You will narrate the presentation also. This gives you a chance to try out visuals that might be useful for the final report as well as narrow down the topics that will be presented.

Week five: In this week the focus shifts a bit, as you do a cover letter and resume. These are for your own background and a job that you might apply for in real life, so these are not related to the context used for the other papers.

Week six: You do a progress report on your work on the final report. This is designed to help you make final scheduling plans for getting the report done.

Week seven: You submit the business report. This is a formal report (and so includes a cover letter, executive summary, and other elements of formal reports). You show that you were able to find and select information that is related directly to the central question of whether this country is a good fit for your hypothetical company and what actions the company should do in order to ensure success.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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:5/16/2012 8:23:03 PM