Business English
English 205 (Business English) Spring 2000, Sect. PO3/PO32 (9am and 12noon) T. Th. F.
Professor John McLaughlin (
Stroud 309-0

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, students will:
A: approach business communication tasks as problem- solving opportunities;
B: undertake audience profile analyses as standard aspects of writing and other communication assignments;
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 in syllabus).
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 work.
D: All paper work in the course must be typed in clear black ink. No handwritten out-of-class work can be accepted.

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 this text.

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 A.
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

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.

Grading 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.