ENG 301 Writing for the Professions

ENG 301 Writing for the Professions

Course Syllabus

ENG 301 Writing for the Professions

Fall 2012

MWF 1:30-2:20 (#70476)

Instructor: Dr. Adelheid Thieme

Office: LL 547D

Office Hours: MWF 9:55-10:20; 11:25-11:50; 12:55-1:20

W 2:45-3:15, and by appointment

Phone: 480-965-2810 (leave message)


Blackboard site: http://my.asu.edu

Writing Programs URL: http://english.clas.asu.edu/writingprograms

Required Text and Materials:

  • Alred, G. J., Brusaw, C. T., & Oliu, W. E. (2011). The Business Writer’s Companion. Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. (Spiral-bound)

Course Description: ENG 301 is designed to introduce you to writing within your desired profession. Every profession is its own unique discourse community. In this class, you will begin to explore and become familiar with the discourse community of your desired profession. ENG 301 is not an academic writing course. Rather, students will examine rhetorical issues related to documents found in their chosen professions; particularly how differing rhetorical situations alter purpose, audience, writer, and text. Students will discover those documents, examine the, report on them and model their own writing on them as well as complicate the nature of the documents, formats, arrangements, and stylistic choices found in the textbook and in the professional writing represented by the student groups findings. Throughout this discovery process, students will engage in the writing process, including invention activities, drafting and revising, peer evaluation, group discussions, editing, and project collaboration.

Course Objectives:

  • To transition from academic to professional writing.
  • To understand how a writer adapts to a discourse community.
  • To understand and use strategies appropriate to a particular professional discourse.
  • To question the strategies appropriate to various professional discourses.
  • To develop methods of inquiry allowing you to continue to research, question, read, write, and reflect on professional discursive practices within your chosen profession.
  • To strengthen writing skills through revision of your own writing projects and through editing the work of others.

Major Assignments

Unit 1: Correspondence: Emails, letters, memos 30%

(Complaint Email = 5%, Adjustment Email = 5%, Persuasive letter = 10%,

Bad news memo = 10%)

Unit 2: Professional Employment Packet 10%

(résumé, letter of application, thank-you note)

Unit 3: Professional Online Portfolio 10%

Unit 4: Proposal 10%

Unit 5: Formal Report

(Group research project on chosen topic: Executive Summary 10%,

15-20 minute oral group presentation 10%) 20%

Homework (Drafts for in-class workshops) and

Oral Participation 10%

Reflection Letter/Portfolio 10%

Standard Writing Programs Policies

1. Policy on class attendance

Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Because Writing Programs courses incorporate frequent small - and large - group activities into lessons, students who are absent affect not only their own learning, but that of their fellow students. Therefore, only two weeks’ worth of absences (see below) will be allowed for the semester, regardless of reason, including documented illness or emergency. Students who exceed two weeks’ worth of classes will fail the course, unless they withdraw (see http://students.asu.edu/withdrawal).

For Fall and Spring semesters, classes that meet three days a week (MWF, for example), the maximum number of allowed absences is six (6); for classes that meet two days a week, the maximum number is four (4); for classes that meet once a week, the maximum number is two (2). For classes that meet on other schedules, the number of absences allowed should reflect a similar ratio (two weeks’ worth of class meetings).

Note: Students who participate in university-sanctioned activities and/or who will be unable to meet the attendance requirements for a particular section should move to another section where their activity schedules will not interfere with their classroom obligations (students can freely switch sections during the first week of the semester). To accommodate students who participate in university-sanctioned activities, ASU Writing Programs offers sections of many courses online and at various times of the day and week. We have asked advisors across campus to help students enroll in appropriate sections. If you think that this course may conflict with a university-sanctioned activity in which you are involved—athletics or the debate team or another—please see me immediately.

During the semester, I will cancel classes for individual conferences. If you miss your conference, you will be counted absent for the same number of classes that were canceled in order to hold conferences. For instance, if we cancel class for two days to hold conferences and you miss your conference, it "counts" as two absences.

Be on time to class. I understand that you may occasionally have legitimate reasons for coming to class late. If you are late no more than two times during the semester, there will be no consequences. However, once you have exhausted your allowed number of “tardies” (a “tardie” is defined as being more than 5 minutes late), two tardies will be counted as one absence.

2. Attendance: first week of classes

According to university policy, students who are registered but do not attend any of the first week of classes may be dropped.

3. If I am absent

If I need to cancel class for any reason, I will contact you via e-mail. If possible, I will also try to get someone to post a sign. However, if you come to class and I have not arrived by the time 15 minutes have elapsed (from when class is to start), please assume that class is cancelled, and check e-mail frequently afterwards for further instructions.

4. Grading

Grading for Writing Projects will follow English Department standards, which are based on content, organization, expression, and mechanics. To compute final course grades, the following values are assigned to the standard letter grades of A through E:

  • A = 3.5 - 4.0 B = 2.5 – 3.49
  • C = 1.5 - 2.49 D = .5 – 1.49
  • E = .49 and below

5. The public nature of class writing and discussions

Please consider every piece of writing you do for this class to be "public property." Remember that you will often be expected to share your writing with others, so avoid writing about things that you may not be prepared to subject to public scrutiny, or things you feel so strongly about that you are unwilling to listen to perspectives other than your own. This does not mean that you are not entitled to an opinion but that you adopt positions responsibly, contemplating the possible effect on others. This course may contain content (assigned readings, in-class discussions, etc.) deemed offensive by some students. If you have concerns about any course content, please bring these concerns to the attention of your instructor.

6. Technological Distractions

Please refrain from any unauthorized usages of technology during our class sessions. In this usage, ‘unauthorized’ means unrelated to the tangible learning activity or activities taking place during the class period. Please put all hand-held electronic devices away. I will expect computers and laptops to be used for classroom activities only. Failure to abide by these guidelines may have a negative impact on a student’s participation grade. Repeat offenders may be seen as disruptive and asked to leave class.

7. Late Writing Projects

Note that if you do not have a copy of your Writing Project on the day it is due, you will lose one letter grade from your final Writing Project grade per class day that the project is late.

8. All writing for this class must be written for this class

To pass this class, all major writing assignments must be submitted, and note that all writing for this class must be written for this class. Reusing a paper from another class or elsewhere constitutes academic dishonesty. If you wish to further pursue a research project begun in another class or develop ideas you have written about in another class, please discuss your plans with me first.

9. Academic Dishonesty

Students are expected to write and submit original work in Writing Programs classes, and to incorporate others’ words, images, or ideas into their writing using correct attribution practices. Academic dishonesty in any form (see http://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity/policy/StudentObligations) will not be tolerated, and students are expected to be familiar with all relevant university policies. The Academic Integrity Policy is located at http://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity.

10. Disruptive, Threatening, or Violent Behavior

Students, faculty, staff, and other individuals do not have an unqualified right of access to university grounds, property, or services. Interfering with the peaceful conduct of university-related business or activities or remaining on campus grounds after a request to leave may be considered a crime. A disruptive student may be withdrawn from a course with a mark of “W” or “E” when the student’s behavior disrupts the educational process. Disruptive classroom behavior for this purpose is defined by the instructor. Disruptive behavior in any form (see http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/safety/definitions.html) will not be tolerated, and students are expected to be familiar with all relevant university policies. ASU Student Rights and Responsibilities are located at http://students.asu.edu/srr/code.

11. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities may be eligible to receive academic support services and accommodations. Eligibility is based on qualifying disability documentation and assessment of individual need. If students wish to request accommodation for a disability, they must be registered with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and submit appropriate documentation from the DRC in advance of the request. Additional information can be found at the DRC website: http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/ed/drc/.

12. End-of-Semester Portfolio Collection

All students will submit a portfolio of their work to the Writing Programs Portfolio Archive at the end the semester. This portfolio will consist of the final drafts of all major writing projects. This portfolio will be submitted digitally as a single PDF containing the major project final drafts in chronological order. Additional information and instructions for submission will be provided before the end of the semester.

Tentative Course Outline

Reading assignments are based on The Business Writer’s Companion = BWC

Week 1

Class Discussion / Homework
8-24 / Course overview / Read BWC xxix-xxxvi.

Week 2

Class Discussion / Homework
8-27 / Achieving success through effective business communication.
Introduction to professional correspondence: format of emails. / Read BWC Chapter 1: The Writing Process (2-35).
8-29 / Introduction to professional correspondence: format of emails (continued).
Diagnostic Test / You have the opportunity to revise your diagnostic test before 8-29 at midnight and re-post it on the Discussion Board.
8-31 / Writing Assignment #1: Complaint email.
Review of Diagnostic Test. / Write draft of Writing Assignment #1 and bring hard copy to class (with number, not name).
Read BWC 188-189.

Week 3

Class Discussion / Homework
9-3 / Labor Day
9-5 / Workshop on complaint email.
Style, diction, and mechanics workshop / Polish draft of Complaint Email and bring hard copy with your name to class.
9-7 / Writing Assignment #1 (Complaint Email) due.
Mechanical correctness exercises.

Week 4

Class Discussion / Homework
9-10 / Writing Assignment #2: Adjustment Email. / Read BWC 185-188.
Write draft of adjustment email. Bring hard copy to class. Instead of using your name, use a number to identify yourself as a writer.
9-12 / Workshop on adjustment email.
Proofreading Exercise. / Read BWC 213-15.
Polish draft of Adjustment Email and bring hard copy with your name to class.
9-14 / Writing Assignment # 2 (Adjustment email) due.
Composing your message.
Successful Business Communication I

Week 5

Class Discussion / Homework
9-17 / Writing extended persuasive messages.
The format of business letters.
Writing Assignment #3: Drafting a persuasive letter. / Write draft of persuasive letter. Bring hard copy to class. Instead of using your name, use a number to identify yourself as a writer.
9-19 / Workshop on extended persuasive letter.
9-21 / Communicating in a world of diversity (presentation)

Week 6

Class Discussion / Homework
9-24 / Writing Assignment #3 Persuasive letter due.
Writing negative messages.
Practice exercise: Bad News Email / Write draft of negative message in Forum “Bad News Email” on Discussion Board
Read BWC 14-15, 193, 200-203.
9-26 / Workshop on negative message.
Writing Assignment #4: Negative Message.
Drafting a negative message. / Write draft of bad news letter Assignment #4. Bring hard copy to class with number, not name.
9-28 / Workshop I on negative message.
Using appropriate diction in negative messages.
Successful business communication II. / Read 193-95.

Week 7

Class Discussion

/ Homework
10-1 / Workshop II on negative message. / Polish your negative message. Bring hard copy to class with name.
10-3 / Writing Assignment #4 Bad News Letter due.
Introduction to employment packet:
Writing Assignment #5.
10-5 / Writing résumés. / Read BWC 232-248.
Revise your existing résumé.

Week 8

Class Discussion / Homework
10-8 / The letter of application. / Write your letter of application.
Read BWC 220-224.
10-10 / Critiquing application letters. The thank-you letter. / Bring hard copy of thank-you note to class.
10-12 / Samples of opening and closing paragraphs.
Workshop on thank-you letter. / Polish your résumé and letter of application. Bring hard copies of these two documents as well as a corresponding job advertisement to individual conference.

Week 9

Class Discussion / Homework
10-15 / Fall Break
10-17 / Individual Conferences in my office (Language and Literature Building 547D).
Class cancelled.
10-19 / Individual Conferences in my office (Language and Literature Building 547D).
Class cancelled. / Polish final draft of resume, letter of application, and thank-you letter. Bring hard copies to class.

Week 10

Class Discussion / Homework
10-22 / Writing Assignment #5 Résumé, Letter of Application, and Thank-you note due.
Introduction to Assignment #6
Professional Online Portfolio.
Using sites.asu.edu and weebly.com.
The home page. / Write draft of home page to prepare for group workshop.
10-24 / Workshop on classes section and home page of website. / Write draft of classes and skills section to prepare for group workshop.
10-26 / Workshop on skills section of website. / Write draft of additional section to prepare for group workshop.

Week 11

Class Discussion / Homework
10-29 / Polishing online portfolio. / Polish online portfolio.
10-31 / Writing Assignment #7: Short Proposal.
Introduction to proposals.
Samples of short proposals. / Polish online portfolio.
11-2 / Assignment #6 Professional Online Portfolio due.
(Submission of URL takes place at the beginning of the class session).
Invention work and research for short proposal. / Write problem section of proposal. Bring hard copy to class. Use a number to identify yourself as a writer.

Week 12

Class Discussion / Homework
11-5 / Workshop I on rough draft of proposal.
Improving writing techniques.
Grammar Review. / Bring hard copy of entire draft of proposal to class
11-7 / Workshop II on rough draft of proposal / Polish draft of proposal and bring hard copy to class.
11-9 / Writing Assignment #7 Proposal due.
Assignment #8: Formal Report
Finding a topic.

Week 13

Class Discussion / Homework
11-12 / Veterans Day
11-14 / Forming groups for Assignment #8.
Conducting Research in ASU databases. / Do research for formal report.
11-16 / Group Workshop / Do research for formal report.

Week 14

Class Discussion /


11-19 /

Sharing findings from primary and secondary research.

Workshop on Executive Summary.
Successful oral presentations. / Read WBC 295-68.
Continue research for formal report.
11-21 / Developing well-written visual PowerPoints (or Prezis).
Workshop on Executive Summary / Write PowerPoint presentation slides.
11-23 / Thanksgiving Break

Week 15

Class Discussion / Homework
11-26 / Assignment #8: Oral presentations 1 and 2. / Polish Executive Summary and bring hard copy to class.
11-28 / Executive Summary Due.
Assignment #8: Oral presentations 3 and 4.
11-30 / Assignment #8: Oral presentations 5 and 6.
Week 16
Class Discussion / Homework
12-3 / Assignment #8: Oral presentations 7 and 8.
12-5 / Assignment #8: Oral presentations 9 and 10.
12-7 / Writing Assignment #9: The reflection letter (see following paragraph for due date!)
Course evaluation.

Week 17

Class Discussion / Homework
12-10 / Finding your niche in a competitive environment (presentation)

Instead of sitting for an in-class final, you are required to email me your portfolio and reflection letter by Monday, December 17, at 11:00 am. If you choose to rewrite one of your previous assignments (with the exception of the group project) and try for a higher grade, it is also due at this time. You cannot pass this class without turning in your portfolio and the reflection letter.