Writing 310: Writing in Professional Contexts

Catalog Listing

Computers on Desk

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Writing 310 is designed to prepare students to communicate effectively in the workplace, offering instruction on the basics of professional style and document design. In addition, through readings, class discussions, and guest lectures (when possible), students are introduced to topics pertaining to pre- and post-employment (e.g., interviewing strategies, salary negotiation, professional networking, conflict management, etc.) to better prepare them for successful careers.

Students will practice writing common genres of professional correspondence that include memos, reports, proposals, letters, and résumés; integrating secondary and primary research into their compositions; and tailoring their communication to meet differing purposes and audience needs. Students will also learn to collaborate effectively in teams to draft, review, and revise documents as well as to deliver effective presentations.

Projects and Deliverables

Throughout the semester students will complete reading responses that require them to practice different genres of professional writing and engage with resources informing them on workplace issues. Other major assignments may include the following:

  1. Professional Document Design Analysis – This project requires students to analyze the organization, typography, color, and images of a professional document for how they may shape audience response.
  2. Cover Letter and Résumé – This project requires students to select an ad for a position they could apply for now or immediately upon graduation and to prepare appropriate application materials for the position.
  3. LinkedIn – This project requires students to create an account on the professional networking site and to develop their profiles. For those students who already have accounts, they must continue to strengthen their profiles.
  4. Bad News Letter – This project requires students to prepare a letter of complaint regarding an unsatisfactory product or service.
  5. Business Plan – This project requires students to collaborate in small teams to develop an idea for a business startup and to prepare an accompanying business plan targeted to an investor.
  6. Mock Business Card with Design Rationale – This project requires students to collaborate in the same teams as for the business plan assignment to produce an effective business card for their startup. Students must also prepare a short memo explaining their choices regarding the design of the business card.
  7. Product/Service Commercial – This project requires students to again collaborate in the same teams to prepare an effective, brief commercial for their startup.
  8. End-of-semester Reflection Letter – This project requires students to reflect on the course outcomes and their development in relation to them.

Textbooks

Required

Ramsey, J. (2016). Business writing scenarios:  Writing from the inside. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Recommended*

Cutts, M. (2013). Oxford guide to plain English (4th ed.). New York, NY:  Oxford University Press.
*This book is available for free through J.D. Williams Library as an eBook.

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