English 205 (Business English) Spring 2000, Sect. PO3/PO32 (9am and 12noon) T.
Professor John McLaughlin (email@example.com)
Dates are for Spring 2000
In this course, issues of form and format are subordinate to issues of content
-- solving problems, meeting challenges -- whether you are informing, persuading,
evaluating, or responding to corporate communications. The given audience may
be peers, superiors, or subordinates within the corporate hierarchy; they could
be customers or stockholders, government officials or suppliers outside the chain
of command in your business. In any case, you are hired or are in business to
provide solutions, not problems. That will be the focus of this course. You will
also be provided with word processors, email accounts and access to the Internet
in this class, as you would normally expect to be in the business world today,
and will use this access to prepare memos, reports, letters and other business
communications for this class. Given the above, the following seems a logical
way to arrange such matters as expected course outcomes, the particular instructional
strategies to be used, class requirements, mandatory class text, class and readings
schedule, student assessment and grades.
As a result of taking this course, completing all of the readings and other class
assignments, including the writing of regular papers and regularly attending classes,
A: approach business communication tasks as problem- solving opportunities;
B: undertake audience profile analyses as standard aspects of writing and other
C: distinguish between various informational, evaluative or persuasive problems
to which they will present solutions;
D: utilize various technological facilities, such as the World Wide Web and e-mail,
appropriately in the completion of various business assignments.
Given the range of student background and preparation in this course, it will
be helpful to alternate small-group and full-class discussion of readings, with
direct instruction in the form of lecture where it may also be appropriate. To
provide for student participation to the greatest degree possible, the following
steps will be taken:
A: Following initial orientation to the course and to one another, students will
be grouped into working teams of no more than three students each. These teams
will work separately on assignments as called for in the text, reporting back
to the full class and producing group- written papers for evaluation (see later
B: At specified points in the syllabus, students will be responsible for producing
individually-written papers for evaluation by the instructor, as distinct from
the team-produced papers produced by their working groups.
C: Where appropriate, the instructor will intervene with lectures on supplementary
materials, in addition to the components provided for in the text, including as
much oral questioning and response as possible, to elicit both information and
informed opinion from students.
D: The instructor will welcome questions and comments outside of class, either
in person or by e-mail (note email address at head of syllabus). Some use may
be made of movies and videotapes illustrating common problems in business communication,
with discussion of the proferred solutions to be part of classwork following (either
in teams or individually, as appropriate).
A: Students must bring the class text to all classes.
B: Students must bring a multi-pocket folder to all classes, in order to accomodate
class handouts, group and individual work for ultimate course-evaluation and grading.
C: There will be a signin sheet for all classes; attendance is mandatory and may
become a factor in determining grades, as it will also be an element of group
D: All paper work in the course must be typed in clear black ink. No handwritten
out-of-class work can be accepted.
CLASS TEXT (MANDATORY):
Bovee, Courtland L., and John V. Thill. Business Communication Today. 6th
Edition. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Note that no earlier edition of this text is acceptable;
case-studies and other work has changed considerably since the last edition of
CLASS AND READING SCHEDULE:
All reading should be completed before class on the earliest indicated date (except,
of course, for Week I): that is to say, readings should be completed before Tuesday
of any given week.
Weeks I & II (Jan. 24 & 31st): Chaps 1-3 (Foundations) + Component chapter
Week III (Feb. 7) : Chaps 4-6 (Process) + Appendices I & II.
Week IV (Feb. 14): Chap 7 (Writing Direct Requests).
Week V (Feb. 21): Chap 7 (Good News Messages)
Week VI (Feb. 28): Chap 8 (Bad News Messages)
Week VII (Mar. 6): Chap 9 (Persuasive Messages)
Week VIII (Mar. 13): Chaps 10-12 (Internet Evaluation, Graphics)
Spring Recess, March 17-27
Week IX (Mar. 27): Chap 17 (Resumes & Applications)
Week X (April 3):Chap 18 (Interviewing & Follow Up)
Week XI (April 10): Chap 13 (Reports)
Week XII (April 17) Chap 14 (Planning R & P)+ Comp. Chap. B (Documenting Reports)
Week XIII: (April 24):Chap 15 (Completing R&P;)
Week XIV (May1): Chap 16 (Oral Presentations)
Week XV (May 8-12)Finals Week
ASSESSMENT AND GRADES:
A: Voluntary, active group and individual participation in discussion about materials
assigned for reading will be noted, and may prove decisive in assigning final
grades. Expect this to account for approximately 25% of your grade.
B: Use of e-mail and the Web, as appropriate and assigned, will also be a factor
in class participation. Expect this to account for approximately 25% of your grade.
C: Weekly papers, stemming from the group or individual discussion and from lectures,
will be assigned, to be completed either out of class, or, where appropriate to
the working situation, in class. Expect these to account for approximately 50%
of your grade.
standards for written work are as follows:
A = To the point, non-distracting, informative, precise.
B = Well organized, free of errors, clean and competent, if without the "edge"
of A work.
C = Acceptable, error-free, if not otherwise outstanding or exceptional overall.
D = On notice.
F = If this was a job, fired.
Please keep up with the readings; writing assignments are based on chapter contents
and case studies, which will be discussed in class. If you get in trouble, see
me sooner rather than later. Good luck.