Sunday Week, Peer Review, Objectives, Discussion Topic, Assignments, Wednesday Week, Professional Communication, final drafts, Rough Draft, negative messages, Professional Writing, effective writing, Standard Written English, Positive and Negative, due date, Sakai, Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents, Discussion, written assignment, Lawson Hall Office hours, Sakai Message, Lyn Smith, professional context, Christopher Lee, home Faculty, formal reports, formal report, rhetorical argument, Rocky Mountain Mutual, Final Assignment, Persuasive Messages, TeknoSport, academic accommodation, medical documentation, Scholastic Offences, University Senate, Medical Illness, missed tests, non-medical, medical grounds, Students, accommodation
Writing 2111: Introduction to Professional Writing Winter 2014 (September 4--December 3)
Instructor Christopher Lee [email protected]
Office Floating in virtual space
+ physically in 3270 Lawson Hall office hours
Email anytime; online chat , phone call or Skype by appointment
The Canadian Writer's Handbook
Author: Messenger, de Bruyn, et al.
Course Objectives This course aims to introduce you to the basic grammatical and stylistic principles of good, clear, Written English
within a specific context. That context is professional writing. You will be introduced as well to basic theories and concepts in professional writing, given opportunities to develop skills applicable to writing in a professional context, and encouraged to read about and apply findings from research in professional writing. More generally, the course aims to help you develop "the ability to communicate information, arguments, and analyses accurately and reliably, orally and in writing to a range of audiences" (Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents' statement on `University Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations' 24 October 2005). To provide the context for the Course Assignment
s, this course makes use of case studies
. You will read a chapter about concepts of professional writing in the textbook, and then either create or read in Case study
materials a case study in which those concepts are operational. After group discussion of the cases, you will be asked to complete a written assignment that incorporates those principles (see `Final course grades
2 course requirements
Assignment #1--Audience Analysis Final Draft: Sep 21 (5%)
Assignment #2--Job Package (10%)
Final Draft: Oct 5
Assignment #3-- (approx. 350-500 Rough Draft: Oct 19
Final Draft: Oct 26
Assignment #4--(approx. 750 words; 20%)
Rough Draft: Nov 2 Final Draft: Nov 9
Assignment #5-- (Final Assign-
Rough Draft: Nov 16
ment; approx. 1250 1500 words; Final Draft: Dec 3
Sentence Grammar/Structure Test Week 8 (complete by Nov 2) (on Sakai;10%)Discussion Board
In addition to handing in final drafts on the due date for each assignment, you are required to submit a DRAFT of Assignments 3, 4, and 5 for peer review
as noted on the syllabus. I will assess these drafts for completeness; students who do not submit a complete draft for peer review as scheduled and participate in peer review will lose 10% from the earned grade for that assignment. `Completeness' here means that the draft you submit is `complete' enough to allow meaningful comment by another student. By participating in peer review you gain another reader's comments on how you have handled the assignment, learn how someone else has handled the assignment, and have an opportunity to offer criticism (in the best sense of that term) to someone else. Peer reviewing will take place in the online discussion forum. You'll submit a draft there on the due date and review two classmates the following week. Course Policies Assignment Format Essays are to be typed and double-spaced. All assignments must have your name on the first page and be submitted as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format. Do not use a cover page, as these are particularly unnecessary for online submissions. When using sources in the final report, you will be expected to follow MLA, APA, or Chicago-style citations, which will be discussed in class and which are detailed in The Canadian Writer's Handbook section 37. Assignment Submission Assignments are due on the dates specified on the schedule. Late essays will be penalized by 3% per day unless I have permitted an extension on the due date. You must speak to me ahead of time for an extension and provide a suitable reason. Weekly class sessions will run from Monday to Sunday, so writing assignments
for a particular week are due by Sunday night at 11:59PM, Eastern Time. If they're submitted a little past midnight, say before I wake up the next morning, there won't be any penalty. All this is designed to help last-minute, weekend editors.
3 Submitting Assignments (continued) Under policies adopted by the Program in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, final drafts of all assignments in 2100-level writing courses must be submitted through Turnitin.com (see Scholastic Offences, including Plagiarism below). Consequently, you will find Turnitin submission links for each of Assignments 1 to 5. You will upload your final version of each assignment through its link, as a single file (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .wpd, or .pdf), titled to identify you as author. Your graded assignment, with comments (in most cases, recorded MP3 audio as well), will be returned to you in the same format via Sakai. In addition to your final drafts, complete preliminary drafts of Assignments 3, 4, and 5 must also be submitted through separate submission links. Again, submit only a single Word (.doc or .docx extension) file, titled to identify you as author. I will assess your draft for completeness, and forward it (via Sakai Message) for comment (peer review) by another student and return (by that student) to you, also via Sakai Message. You are responsible for keeping copies of all assignments submitted in case we need to discuss your writing and if you want to submit it for the annual Marie Smibert Writing Program student achievement
Prizes in April. Attendance/Participation Obviously, we do not meet formally in a Distance Studies course. Therefore, attendance and participation on the Discussion Board are intertwined. While online classes are generally asynchronous, they are not correspondence or self-paced. You must attend class (defined as logging into our Sakai section and interacting, posting questions and thoughts to the set Discussion topics
) on at least three separate days as indicated on this syllabus (Note that there is no graded Discussion during Weeks 7, 10, and 12). This means at least three separate posts per week (a week is defined as running from Monday to Sunday), at least one of which must be a reply/ response to another student and at least one of which must be a `new' post. Extended absences, defined as a failure to post into the Sakai classroom for more than five consecutive days, must be coordinated with the instructor. All posts on the Discussion Board must Contribute something meaningful to the board. Support your opinion with sufficient reasons or evidence. Display good grammar and organization. Postings should not Contain disrespectful, insulting, or offensive language. Be excessively long (more than one screen length) or excessively short. Be unrelated to the forum topic. Only say things like "I agree with you" or "Nice comment!" that do not contribute any substance. Absence Policy Attendance at class is required to improve as a writer. Here is the Writing Studies attendance policy in this class: You may miss up to three hours (the equivalent of one week of class) of class meetings
during the term without explanation: that means that the first three class hours
you miss will be recorded as absences but excused provided you don't miss any more. However, if you miss a total of four to nine class hours (the equivalent of up to three full weeks of class), your final grade
will be reduced by 10% (e.g. an earned final grade of 80% will be reported as a final grade of 72). If you miss a total of more than nine hours of class meetings (the equivalent of more than three weeks of class meetings) your final grade will be reduced by 15% (e.g. an earned final grade of 80% will be reported as a final grade of 68). This policy will be waived only for medical or compassionate reasons. If you have good reasons for waiving an absence of one class meeting (e.g. if you've missed three hours, and need or want to miss another class meeting) discuss these reasons with your instructor within one week of that absence. If your absence is extended and prolonged (over one week of continuous non-attendance), then you should discuss it with your academic advisor in your home faculty, who may require documentation. That advisor may then contact all of your instructors. See also: `Medical Accommodation Policy' below.
4 Medical Accommodation Policy For UWO Policy on Accommodation For Medical Illness, see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/ appeals/accommodation_medical.pdf. To download a Student Medical Certificate (SMC), go to http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/appeals/medicalform.pdf. Students seeking academic accommodation on medical or other grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments worth 10% or more of their final grade must apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation on medical grounds cannot be granted by the instructor or the Program in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, and the Program requires students in these circumstances to follow the same procedure when seeking academic accommodation on non-medical (i.e. non-medical compassionate or other) grounds. Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments worth less than 10% of their final grade must also apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Where in these circumstances the accommodation is being sought on non-medical grounds, students should consult in the first instance with their instructor, who may elect to make a decision on the request directly, or refer the student to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty. Students should also note that individual instructors are not permitted to receive medical documentation directly from a student, whether in support of an application for accommodation on medical grounds, or for other reasons (e.g. to explain an absence from class which may result in a grade penalty under an `Attendance' policy in the course). All medical documentation must be submitted to the Academic Counselling office of a student's home Faculty. Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to [email protected]
: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. Special Requests: Special Examinations, Incompletes, Aegrotat Standing Please refer to the "Information for All Students in a Writing Course" for more detailed information. Briefly, remember that I do not have the discretion to initiate, consider, and grant (or deny) such requests; you must go directly to the Dean's office of your home faculty.
Scholastic Offences, including Plagiarism The University Senate requires the following statements, and Web site references, to appear on course outlines: "Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site: http:// www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf. Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage of text from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks
where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence (see Scholastic Offence Policy as above). All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection
software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com (http:// www.turnitin.com)." Prerequisites The University Senate requires the following statement to appear on course outlines: "Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites."
Remember: A `Week' in this course runs Monday to Sunday
Introduction: Writing/Rhetoric in a Professional Context
In general, the aim of this Unit is to provide you with an overview of the course, to elucidate some of the assumptions on which the course is predicated, and to introduce you to an historical context
within which you can think about the processes and products of `writing.' Following this discussion, we will take a brief look at Chapter 1 of our text, Locker/Findlay, and establish some key terms and concepts.
Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 1 (and 2)
Discussion Topic: In this first Week's (ungraded) Discussion, introduce yourself to the class, and post any initial thoughts, comments, and questions you may have both general, and/or as prompted by the Unit 1 lecture.
Rhetoric: The Concept of `Audience'; Building `Goodwill'
Objectives: To understand the importance of `audience' as a primary rhetorical consideration in professional writing;
To learn how analyze potential audiences for a message;
To understand the concept of `multiple audiences' (primary and secondary)
To understand how that analysis can help us shape, structure, and organize a message in order to maximize its potential effectiveness;
To define the concept of `Goodwill' (including `You-attitude,' `Positive Emphasis,' bias-free language, and tone) and explore the relationship of these concepts to effective writing
Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 2, and Case: `Globe' (in `Create' case pack) Assignment #1: Audience Analysis (Memo. to Instructor; 5%); due by 11:59PM on midnight Sunday Week 2
Actions Required this Week: Assignment #1 FINAL Submission due by 11:59PM on Sunday Week 2
Discussion Topic: Are there qualities in Lyn Smith's letter that might (wrongly) tempt you to be dismissive and/or condescending in your reply? What other qualities or features might you notice that would help you avoid falling into that trap?
7 Unit/Week Three Writing Clearly: Introduction to the Grammar and Conventions of `Standard Written English' Objectives: To encourage you to develop a critical self-awareness of your writing practice To understand the distinction between grammatical `conventions' and `rules' To understand the notion of `Standard Written English' To articulate some basic revision principles answering the question "How can I ensure that my document as a whole will clearly communicate my intended message?" Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 3 and Appendix `A' Actions Required this Week: Preparation for Week 4: Find an advertisement for a job/position you could realistically apply for now with your existing skills/qualifications. Discussion Topic: apply the principles articulated in the Unit 3 lecture notes
to the following example. Post a revised version
, and explain why you made the changes you did. "In spite of the fact that the educational environment is a very significant facet to each and every one of our children, some groups do not support reasonable and fair tax assessments that are required for providing an educational experience at a high level of quality." Unit/Week Four Employment Communications: Resumes and Cover Letters Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion, you should be familiar with the following topics: The basic rhetorical principles underlying job applications The significant differences between resumes and letters of application The difference between solicited and prospecting applications Some guidelines for drafting resumes The distinction between the two basic kinds of resume Guidelines for content and organization in letters of application Tone in letters of application Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 13 Assignment #2: Prepare an `Application Package' in response to the advertise- ment you have chosen (10%); due by 11:59 PM Sunday Week 4 Actions Required this Week: Assignment #2 FINAL Submission: `Job Package' (letter and resume) due by 11:59 PM on Sunday Week 4 Discussion Topic: Take a look at no. 6 in Exercise 13.6 (page 356) in your text. How many lapses in tone/other errors can you find in this one example? Discuss those errors, and suggest ways in which this example might (if at all!) be improved.
8 Unit/Week Five Writing Positive and Negative Messages Objectives: Through the discussions and readings for these two related Units, you should be familiar with the following topics: The basic rhetorical principles underlying the drafting of informative, positive, and negative messages The formatting of letter, memorandum, and Email messages
The basic principles applicable to trying to take an essentially `negative' message and give it a `positive' spin The background to, and preliminary analysis of, `Statstar' and Assignment #3 Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 7 and 8, and Case: `Statstar' (pdf on `Assignments' page) Assignment #3: `Statstar' (Negative Message; 15%). Draft due on Sunday Week 6; Peer Review of Assignment #3 commences Monday Week 7 and closes Wednesday Week 7; FINAL due by 11:59 PM on Sunday Week 7 Discussion Topic: As discussed in the Unit 5 lecture, assume that in the `Globe' scenario you are instructed to write a purely `negative' message to Lyn Smith, turning down all her requests. What kind of intangible but positive `alternative' (`reader benefit'), that might override her obvious anticipated negative response to the main message, can you come up with? Your answer will be contingent in large part on your analysis of her as your `primary' audience. Unit/Week Six Writing Positive and Negative Messages (cont.) Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 7 and 8, and Case: `Statstar' Actions Required this Week: Assignment #3 Draft Submission: `Statstar' due by 11:59 PM on Sunday Week 6 Discussion Topic: refer to Exercise 8.5 on pages 193-4 of your text. As instructed there, compose a brief message to your boss correcting the figures. Use `correct numbers' (b) on page 193, and assume variation (ii) on page 193. Post your message, and explain why you wrote it the way you did!
9 Unit/Week Seven Writing Persuasive Messages Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion and readings, you should be familiar with the following topics: The primary and secondary purposes of persuasive messages Choosing a persuasive strategy: direct or indirect? Analyzing a persuasive rhetorical situation: `TeknoSport' Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 9, and Case: `TeknoSport' for discussion (pdf on `Assignments' page) Actions Required this Week: Assignment #3: Peer Review of Assignment #3 Monday to Wednesday. Assignment #3 FINAL submission: `Statstar' due by 11:59 PM on, Sunday Week 7. Unit/Week Eight Writing Persuasive Messages Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion and readings you should be familiar with the following topics: What we mean by `rhetorical argument' The classical model of rhetorical argument Problems with the classical model The Toulmin model of rhetorical argument The distinction between the formal validity of an argument and its persuasiveness in a more general sense The importance of assumptions shared by the sender and receiver of a (persuasive) message Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 9, and Case: `TeknoSport' for discussion Begin preparing for Assignment #4: Case: `Rocky Mountain
' (pdf on `Assignments' page); Assignment: Persuasive Message with visual (20%); Draft due on Sunday Week 9; Peer Review of Assignment #4 commences Monday Week 10 and closes Wednesday Week 10. Actions Required this Week: Download, Write, and Upload sentence structure
/Grammar Test Discussion Topic: Your aim in TeknoSport would be to construct an argument (a case) in which you use reasons and data to support a Claim. Your Claim is that the STP should be retained, in at least more or less its present form. Your Warrant for this Claim will involve some assumptions (`common ground') that you need to define, and that you can reasonably expect Karvinen to share with you. What might these Warrants look like?
10 Unit/Week Nine Overview of Basic Principles of Document Design and Use of Visuals Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion and readings, you should be familiar with the following topics: The importance of `design' The concept of `white space' Robin Williams' `four basic principles of design' The concept of `quadrant design' The ways in which `visuals' can be used to good rhetorical effect When and why to use `visuals' Some criteria for effective visuals An introduction to the `Rocky Mountain Mutual' case and Assignment #4 Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapter 4; and Case: `Rocky Mountain Mutual' (pdf on `Assignments' page) Assignment #4: Work on Draft of Assignment #4 Actions Required this Week: Submit Assignment #4 DRAFT, suitable for peer review, Sunday Week 9 Discussion Topic: As you work on your draft of Assignment #4, consider the question of what kind of visual (Table? Chart? Graph? Photographic illustration?) you intend to use, and why. Post some thoughts on this issue, considering the relative merits of various forms given the hypothetical rhetorical context in which and the hypothetical purpose for which you are writing, and the kinds of data you will be attempting to represent. Unit/Week Ten Overview of Issues in Cross-Cultural Communication; Introduction to Assignment #5: Final Assignment: A Formal Report Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion and readings, you should be familiar with the following topics: The concept of `cultural difference
' and its significance for communication The importance of recognizing cultural variations cultural context
as part of the rhetorical context of any message Mapping `difference' in cultural context: six key categories Defining `cultures' as high- or low-context The importance of a clear sense of `purpose' in Assignment #5 Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 5, 10, and 11; and Cases: `L.A. Silks' and `American Electrical' (pdfs on `Assignments' page) Assignment #5: begin working on draft of Assignment #5 (Final Assignment: Formal Report; 30%) for Sunday Week 11 Actions Required this Week: Assignment #4: Peer Review of Assignment #4 Monday to Wednesday Week 10. Assignment #4 FINAL submission: `Rocky Mountain' due by 11:59 PM on, Sunday Week 10.
11 Unit/Week Eleven Writing Proposals and Reports Objectives: Through this Unit's discussion and readings, you should be familiar with the following topics: General rhetorical considerations for writing formal reports The difference between causation and correlation Patterns of organization common in formal reports Stylistic expectations in formal reports The individual components of a formal report Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 10 and 11, and Case: Either `L.A. Silks' or `American Electrical' Actions Required this Week: Assignment #5: draft (minimum required: report `body') due on Sunday Week 11; Peer Review of Assignment #5 commences Monday and ends Wednesday Week 12 Discussion Topic: All organizations, projects, university courses(!) ... anything can be `improved'. Think a little bit about your experience of Writing 2111F/G Online (this course!), and compose/post a short preliminary `purpose statement' for a report proposing some improvements to the course (from your point of view as a student). Remember: your subject is the course itself, not your particular instructor! Use the criteria for `purpose statements' set out in Locker/Findlay Chapter 10 at page 234. Don't be afraid to be (constructively and politely!) critical. Unit/Week Twelve Writing Proposals and Reports: A Few Notes on Excutive Summaries, and Final Comments Read: Locker/Findlay, Chapters 10 and 11, and Case: Either `L.A. Silks' or `American Electrical' Actions Required this Week: Peer Review of Assignment #5 Monday to Wednesday Week 12 *Assignment #5 FINAL (complete): is due by 11:59 PM on the last day of class.