English 3304 adapts the principles of expository writing for use in the workplace. The course teaches students in non-technical fields to write documents commonly used in professional settings. Computer technology is included. (You will be expected to learn the basics of Photoshop and InDesign in order to complete several projects.)
The goal of the course is to prepare students to write effectively in the workplace. Objectives include
(1) developing in students an awareness of rhetorical principles and an understanding of how those principles apply to writing in the workplace;
(2) teaching students to use the steps of the writing process to produce effective documents;
(3) familiarizing students with the conventions and formats of contemporary professional writing, including e-mail, letters, memos, promotional literature, résumés, and portfolios;
(4) introducing students to methods for collaboration and the use of communication technology.
Students’ writing will be evaluated for its clarity and conciseness, appropriateness of tone and style, adherence to stated conventions, grammar, and visual appeal.
The Department of English has adopted student-learning outcomes for general education courses in writing and literature and for degree programs in English. These outcomes are available for your review at http://www.english.txstate.edu. Pull down the Student Resources menu and go to “Learning Outcomes.”
A Pocket Style Manual, Hacker and Sommers, Eds., Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012
Other material will be posted on TRACS.
Though we may not discuss all of the assigned readings in class, you will need to be familiar with this material in order to successfully complete your writing projects and to do well on daily work. _________________________________________
Grammar Review & Testing:
Your daily work grade will be a reflection of two things: (1) your attendance and (2) your grasp of the nuts and bolts of writing—grammar, punctuation, word choice, and the like. Each week you will be assigned pages to read in A Pocket Style Manual, and each week you will be tested on that reading. These short quizzes will be given at the beginning of class, so it’s important for you to arrive on time.
This will not be a typical lecture class. Granted, I will spend time explaining assignments and going over the computer skills you will need to complete them. On the whole, however, you should treat this class as your workplace. This means that you should come in and get to work without my telling you to do so. You will also be expected to do the following:
• Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, don’t merely sit and stew. Instead, speak to me or to the student assistant. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll do our best to find someone who does.
• Work collaboratively. Get to know your classmates, especially those sitting close by. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions if you’re stumped or simply need more information to complete a project.
• Be open to new technology. You may prefer PC to Mac, but you need to learn to use the tools you have. At some point in your career, you may have no choice in the matter, and so the more familiar you are with a variety of technologies, the better.
• Keep a good attitude. Don’t resent having to use software you haven’t used before, such as InDesign or Photoshop. And don’t try to circumvent instructions by using a method that is simpler than the one I’ve assigned. For example, I will be asking you to use InDesign to create a brochure, even though the Internet and Word offer myriad templates that would make the task easier. One goal for this assignment is to teach you something about InDesign, so using a downloaded template would defeat the purpose. This may be the case with other assignments as well.
• Use your time in class wisely. There is no reason you can’t complete your assignments during class—or, at the very least, in another Mac lab on campus. Why does this matter? For starters, it means that I’ll be nearby to answer any questions you might have. It also means that you’ll have access to the technology you’ll need. We’ll be using Adobe CS6, which you probably don’t have on your computer at home. And even if you do have Photoshop and InDesign on your own computer, you will need to have access to the most recent versions to open anything you bring home from class. Also remember that some documents—PowerPoints in particular—look different on Macs than on PCs.
These are the types of documents/presentations you will be creating this semester.
The weight each assignment carries is in parentheses.
1. Letter of introduction (5%)
2. Letter of complaint (5%)
3. Memo (summary of research on
4. Proposal (10%)
5. Letter of inquiry (5%)
6. Brochure (10%)
7. Résumé (13%)
8. Letter of application (7%)
9. PowerPoint presentation (collaborative project)
10. Portfolio, with table of contents (10%)
11. Final exam (format to be announced) (5%)
12. Daily work (10%)
Format for Completed Work:
A cover page that includes your name, the date, and the document number should accompany each assignment. If you are submitting a revision, please indicate that fact on the cover page as well. _________________________________________
You will have the option of revising two of your first eight documents. Revisions should be turned in within two weeks of the date the graded document is returned. (I expect you to keep track of these dates.) If the grade on the revised document is higher than that on the first, it will replace the lower grade. _________________________________________
Remember that turning assignments in on time is a reflection of professionalism and is expected. If you have a legitimate reason for missing class—this will be determined on a case-by-case basis—your assignment must be turned in one class day following your return. If your absence is not excused, your work will be penalized 10 points for each day it is late. Daily work cannot be made up.
Please take advantage of this time. I hope to see each of you in my office at some point during the semester.
You will be asked to sign an attendance sheet at the beginning of each class. In addition, when you are absent, you will lose the opportunity to receive credit for any in-class work that I might assign. (I also check the roster aloud, primarily to learn your names and to ensure that everyone attending is actually enrolled and receiving credit for the class.)
The Texas State University Honor Code states, “We do our own work and are honest with one another in all matters. We understand how various acts of dishonesty, like plagiarizing . . . conflict as much with academic achievement as with the values of honesty and integrity.”
Plagiarizing is submitting work that is in any way not your own. Any case of verifiable plagiarism, whether deliberate or accidental, will result in a failing grade on the assignment.
Students with Special Needs:
Students who require accommodations for successful completion of this course must notify both the TSU Office of Disability Services and the instructor by no later than the end of the first week of classes so that accommodations can be made. _________________________________________
The Writing Center:
If you have problems with your writing, I may recommend or require individual counseling in the English Department Writing Center. You may also seek help from the Center on your own. The Writing Center is located on the bottom floor of ASB, across the breezeway from the Den. Please note that it has extended its hours and is now open on Sunday nights. _________________________________________
Grades for Individual Assignments:
You will be creating 11 documents, including the final exam. You will also have a daily grade that will be based on attendance and in-class work. Each of these assignments will be weighed according to the scale I described earlier.
In assigning grades, I will use the following criteria, which are adapted from the TSU First-Year English Syllabus and from Debra Villas’s Instructor’s Resources for The Handbook of Technical Writing:
A (90-100 points) A indicates outstanding work. An A document does an exceptional job of expressing and developing an idea or point in a clear, logical way. A-level writing is highly polished and generally contains no errors in the use of English. The professional appearance of A work firmly establishes the writer’s credibility and allows the reader to grasp the point of the document quickly and easily. A manager reading such a document would be highly impressed and would recall the work during job review and performance consideration.
B (80-89 points) B indicates superior work. A B document does a good job of expressing and developing an idea or point in a clear, logical way. B writing contains few or none of the common errors in the use of English. The professional appearance of B work is generally neat and polished. A manager reading such a document would be fully satisfied with the job.
C (70-79 points) C indicates competent work. A C document does an adequate job of expressing and developing an idea or point in a clear, logical way. C writing generally avoids serious errors in the use of English. The professional appearance of C work is acceptable. A manager reading such a document would probably ask the writer to revise, polish, or redesign the document before sending it outside the department.
D (60-69 points) D indicates unsatisfactory work. A D document is flawed by one or more of the following: insufficient attention to the assigned task, inadequate development of an idea or point, inaccurate information, errors in the use of English, inattention to document design. A manager reading such a document would be troubled by the poor quality of the work.
F (0-59 points) F indicates unacceptable work. An F document is flawed by one of more of the following: failure to follow the assigned task, failure to conceive or develop an idea or point, serious errors in the use of English, inappropriate or confusing document design. A manager reading an F document would consider replacing the author. Repeated Fs would warrant a pink slip.
English 3304—Spring 2015
20 Discuss course goals and requirements. What is “professional writing”? How does it differ from academic writing? Introduction to the principles of rhetoric as they apply to this course Assign Doc. 1: Letter of Introduction
22 Continue discussion; assign Chapters 10-16, PSM (A Pocket Style Manual)
27 Assign Doc. 2: Letter of Complaint
29 Bring draft of Doc. 1 to class; writing workshop
3 Bring draft of Doc. 2 to class; writing workshop
5 Docs. 1 & 2 due; grammar review & quiz: Chapters 10-16, PSM
10 Assign Doc. 3: Memo; assign Chapters 17-21, PSM
12 Work on Doc. 3
17 Assign Doc. 4: Proposal; Doc. 3 due
19 Work on Doc. 4; demonstrate Photoshop
24 Assign Doc. 5: Letter of Inquiry; work on Docs. 4 & 5
26 Grammar review & quiz: Chapters 17-21, PSM; assign Chapters 22-24, PSM
3 Assign Doc. 6: Brochure
5 Docs. 4 & 5 due; work on Doc. 6
10 Work on Doc. 6
12 Work on Doc. 6
24 Grammar review & quiz: Chapters 22-24, PSM; assign Chapters 1-5, PSM
26 Doc. 6 due; assign Docs. 7 & 8: Letter of Application and Résumé
31 Work on Doc. 7 & 8
2 Grammar review: Chapters 1-5, PSM
7 Work on Docs. 7 & 8; assign Doc. 9: PowerPoint Presentation
9 Work on Doc. 9
14 Work on Doc. 9
16 Docs. 7 & 8 due
30 Last day of class; review for final exam; do evaluations
3304.253 (8TTH) – May 7, 8-10:30 a.m.
3304.254 (9:30TTH) – May 12, 8-10:30 a.m.