ENGL394/1401: BUSINESS WRITING: FALL 2015 Instructor: Dr. Thomas Lowderbaugh Office: Tawes 1220A Office Hours: TU: 11:00 – 12:00. TH: 3:15 – 4:15 Telephone: 301/405-3774 (the worst way to reach me) E-mail: [email protected] (the best way to reach me). Note: This e-mail address automatically forwards all correspondence to my personal Gmail account, from which I will respond to you. Teaching Assistant: Mr. Jacob Knippel E-mail: [email protected] Office Hours: Available by appointment Class Sessions: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. Fall 2015: Academic Calendar Class Locations: Tawes 0232 Please continue to check Testudo for at least the first two weeks, because room assignments often change. Pre- or Co-requisites: You must have earned junior status (a minimum of sixty credit hours) before you may register for this course. Course Description: English 394: Business writing satisfies the Professional Writing requirement for undergraduates. The course gives students both a theoretical background in rhetoric and a practical understanding of the common genres that they will employ in professional settings. Students learn to write with clarity, style and correctness, having practiced the tools for revising and editing. Assignments parallel the writing demands that students will face in a business environment where workers produce texts both individually and collaboratively. Core assignments include business correspondence (e-mails, letters, and memos), a major course research project (for example, a promotional package, a proposal, a business plan, a publicity campaign), collaborative projects (for example, a research report, an evaluative report, or a policy analysis), and oral presentation. Other assignments may include instructions, press releases, brochures, and speeches. Assignments mirror the kinds of writing that office work requires. Our course work models itself on the ways that professionals draft, revise, rewrite, polish, and publish work. The instructor’s role in the course is to function both as supervisor and instructor, giving assignments, evaluating papers and guiding students to meet the assignments’ goals. The teaching assistant’s role is to provide students with hands-on guidance both with an overview of the course’s requirements and its intellectual arc and with one-on-one tutorial support as students write and revise assignments. The students’ role is to function much like professional staff by responding to a supervisor’s assignments. Participating in class work is much like participating in the work of an office. And such participation presumes that: 1. Students attend all class sessions (see attendance policy below), arriving on time 2. Students arrive in class with the day’s assignment, ready to work Course Goals: English 394 is designed to help students master the skills of workplace writing, the kind of writing that gets students a job interview, leads to a change in program or policy, or secures funding for a project. By the end of the course you will be able to do the following: Analyze a variety of professional rhetorical situations and produce appropriate texts in response Understand the stages required to produce competent, professional writing through planning, drafting, revising, and editing Identify and implement the appropriate research methods for each writing task Practice the ethical use of sources and the conventions of citation appropriateness to each genre Write for the intended readers of a text, and design or adapt text to audience who may differ in their familiarity with the subject matter Demonstrate competence in Standard Written English, including grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, coherence, and document design (including the use of visuals) and be able to use this knowledge to revise texts Produce cogent arguments that identify arguable issues, reflect the degree of available evidence, and take account of counter arguments The course assignments are constructed to develop that broad range of skills. Those are high goals, but UMCP students achieve them semester after semester. Class Format, Practices and Expectations Working through revisions is the basic process that we use in this course. Therefore I will not accept any assignment for which I have not previously seen a working version. For the same reason, changing topics at the last minute is not allowed. The basic principle that guides this course: Make all your mistakes, solve all your problems for free. The final version that I grade should reflect the work that you’ve accomplished before submitting the paper. Three Important Notes 1. Most of our classes will involve working on your revisions. Failure to bring a substantial, credible version to class is failing to meet the course requirements. Not bringing a credible version for us to work on in class has the same effect as missing the class session: your body may be here but your work and your brain are not. Such a failure is equivalent to deciding on a whim not to go to work for a week but to spend a week at the beach. Upon your return you might discover not only that you no longer had a job but also that your last boss would make sure that any prospective employer would be warned about your problematic attitude. 2. Some students are temped to bring their latest revisions on their notebook computers instead of on paper. As students eventually discover, this strategy inevitably fails. It severely limits a team’s in-class ability to read and revise papers. Bring a hard copy for every team member. Passing a computer from hand to hand wastes time. If every team member has a notebook computer or a tablet, the team may decide to e-mail each other that latest version. Students soon discover, however, that this practice serves them ill, as they waste time hunting for the right sentence in the right paragraph on the right page. 3. In short, failing to heed this advice has lowered past students’ grades by one or two letters. Students who might have received an A an in the course end up with a C or even a C-. Be warned now how serious this advice is. Budget $20 to $30 for photocopying and printing for this course as well as for paper, toner, Terrapin Express, and CDs. All versions—including the final versions for me to grade—are due at the beginning of the class period. Failing to bring copies (either working copies or final, publishable copies) for class is the same as not submitting the assignment at all. The course will adhere to the standards and policies of the Professional Writing Program. In addition to completing a minimum for 25 pages of publishable copy, students must submit complete portfolios of their papers at the course’s end. Students may claim their folders after a full semester has elapsed. Conferences: Although I invite students to discuss their work with me outside class, I require attendance at conferences that we schedule during or outside class time. Each student should expect to confer with me at least twice during this course. (Note: Failing to keep an appointment with me counts heavily against your professionalism when I tally the final course grade.) Attendance and Lateness: To succeed in this course requires regular punctual attendance. Classroom discussions and in-class work account for a significant part of your grade, and class participation, once missed, cannot be restored. Below are the policies on unexcused absences and excused absences as well as on tardiness. Please note that missing more than three class sessions for any reason may result in a zero for the professionalism/participation portion of your grade and may jeopardize your overall course grade. If you are absent you are responsible for finding out what you missed. Missing more than one week of classes will make catching up difficult, probably impossible. Unexcused Absences. You may take up to two class sessions’ worth of no-questions-asked absences for both the expected reasons (e.g., being the best man in your brother’s wedding) and the unexpected (e.g., replacing a flat tire). If you take a no-questions-asked absence, however, you are still responsible for whatever material was covered in class. If a major scheduled grading event (assignment due, in-class workshop/peer editing, presentation) is scheduled for that class period and you don’t show up and don’t have a university-sanctioned excuse (see below), then you will lose all the points for that exercise. Excused Absences. The university excuses absences for your own illness or the illness of an immediate family member, for your participation in university activities at the request of university authorities, for religious observances, and for compelling circumstances beyond your control. Documentation is required for all excused absences. If you have an anticipated excused absence, you must let me know in writing by the end of the schedule adjustment period or at least two weeks in advance. Students are expected to inform the instructor in advance of medically necessary absences, and present a self-signed note documenting the date of the missed class(es) and testifying to the need for the absence. This note must include an acknowledgement that (a) the information provided is true and correct, and (b) that the student understands that providing false information to University officials is a violation of Part 9(h) of the Code of Student Conduct. The university’s policies on medical and other absences can be found at: http://www.umd.edu/catalog/index.cfm/show/content.section/c/27/ss/1584/s/1540 Prolonged absence or illness preventing attendance from class requires written documentation from the Health Center and/or health care provider verifying dates of treatment when student was unable to meet academic responsibilities. Absence due to religious observance will not be penalized; however, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor within the first three weeks of class regarding any religious observance absence(s) for the entire semester. The calendar of religious holidays can be found at: http://faculty.umd.edu/teach/attend_student.html#religious Tardiness. In the professional world tardiness is not tolerated. However, this campus is large, and another instructor may keep you late. So, if you do arrive late on occasion, do not disrupt the class, and let me know by the end of the schedule adjustment period if you anticipate ongoing conflicts. Remember that you are responsible to catch up on your own time, not the classes. Thus two late arrivals (or unexplained early departures) will convert to one unexcused absence. Class runs for the full seventy-five minutes each day. Do not schedule other events for class time—for example, study groups, mock interviews, organization meetings, interviews with experts needed for the term project. Such activities fail to provide excused absences from class. Late Papers: All assignments and due dates are listed on this syllabus—including assignments due via e-mail. Assignments are due at the beginning of class or at the times specified on the syllabus. Assignments handed in after that time will be accepted, but the grade will be reduced by ten per cent for each day the assignment is late. Please note: You should check your e-mail frequently, even on weekends. Emergency Protocol: Class assignments will continue even if the university closes for inclement weather. I’ll make every effort to stay on schedule; due dates will remain firm, and we will continue to interact with each other via e-mail. Academic integrity: The student-administered Honor Code and Honor Pledge prohibit students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without authorization, buying papers, submitting fraudulent documents and forging signatures. On every examination, paper or other academic exercise not specifically exempted by the instructor, students must write by hand and sign the following pledge: I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (or assignment). Allegations of academic dishonesty will be reported directly to the Student Honor Council: http://www.shc.umd.edu . Students with disabilities: The University of Maryland is committed to providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. Students with a documented disability should inform the instructors within the add-drop period if academic accommodations are needed. To obtain an Accommodation Letter prepared by Disability Support Service (DSS), a division of the University Counseling Center. Please call 301-314-7682, e-mail [email protected], or visit the Shoemaker Building for more information. Copyright notice: Class lectures and other materials are copyrighted and they may not be reproduced for anything other than personal use without written permission from the instructor. Classroom Conduct Policy: Everyone in the classroom is to be treated with respect and courtesy as befitting professional colleagues. You are expected to: Come to class prepared to engage in meaningful discussion, with completed graded and non-graded assignments, including assigned readings Pay attention in class and participate in classroom activities and exercises Avoid side conversations Not e-mail, instant message; read newspapers; surf the Web, and the like. Note: The computer labs contain a program allowing me to see what is on all screens at all times and also to broadcast that screen to the entire class Not eat or drink anything in a computer lab—except bottled water. (The prohibition includes sodas and coffee.) Doing otherwise will result in a substantial decline in the Professionalism portion of your grade. Cell Phone, Laptop Policy: All cell phones and other electronic communications devices must be turned off upon entering the classroom or as class is about to start. Laptops must be turned off for classes that meet in a computer lab. You should plan as well to turn them off in the noncomputer classroom. Work Make-up Policy: Most group exercise, quizzes, and in-class writing assignments missed due to absence cannot be made up unless you have a university-sanctioned excused absence. Terrapin Express Card: In order to print in the computer lab, you must have a Terrapin Express card. Directions for getting one can be found at http://terpexp.umd.edu/. Please make sure that you have money on the card when you come to class. Grading: I use a point system, assigning a maximum number of points for an A paper in that genre: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Reflective essay: Establishing expectations: 10 points Resume and cover letter: 10 points Thank you letter: 10 points Writing team contract: 10 points Resource Review: 30 points Proposal to conduct a study: 50 points Review panel reports: 25 points Reflective memo: Mid-term self-assessment: 10 points Progress report: 10 points Rhetorical situation memo: 15 points Expert proposal: 75 points Oral presentation: 20 points Summary and evaluation of oral presentation: 20 points Evaluation of writing team: 20 points Reflective memo: Revisiting your expectations: 10 points Professionalism: 30 points Grading Scale: The undergraduate catalogue provides a complete definition of the university’s grading system: http://www.umd.edu/catalog/index.cfm/show/content.section/c/27/ss/1584/s/1534 A+, A, A- denotes excellent mastery of the subject and outstanding scholarship. In computations of cumulative or semester averages, a grade of A+ or A will be assigned a value of 4.0 quality points per credit hour. A grade of A- will be assigned 3.7 quality points per credit hour. B+, B, B- denotes a good mastery of the subject and good scholarship. A grade of B+ is assigned a value of 3.3 quality points per hour. A grade of B is assigned a value of 3.0 quality points per credit hour. A grade of B- is assigned a value of 2.7 quality points per hour. C+ C, C- denotes an acceptable mastery of the subject. A grade of C+ is assigned a value of 2.3 quality points per hour. A grade of C is assigned a value of 2.0 points per credit hour. A grade of C- is assigned a value of 1.7 quality points per credit hour. D+, D, D- denotes a borderline understanding of the subject. It denotes a marginal performance, and it does not represent satisfactory progress toward a degree. A grade of D+ is assigned 1.3 points per credit hour. A grade of D is assigned a value of 1.0 quality point per credit hour. A grade of D- is assigned 0.7 quality points per credit. F denotes a failure to understand the subject and unsatisfactory performance. A mark of F is assigned a value of 0 quality points per credit hour XF denotes failure due to academic dishonesty In this course, the grading scale works as follows: A, A+ = 338 – 355 A= 320 -- 337 B+ = 309 – 319 B = 302 – 308 B= 284 – 301 C+ = 273 – 283 C = 266 – 272 C= 249 – 265 D+ = 238 – 248 D = 231 – 237 D= 213 – 230 F = 0 – 212 In a business or office context the grades would translate as follows: A = The supervisor congratulates the writer on exceptional work B = The supervisor returns the document with guidance (usually vague and inadequate) on how to improve it: “Nice start. Fix it!” C = The supervisor asks another employee to fix the document D = The supervisor calls the Human Resources Office to find out what kind of coaching or training might address the employee’s weakness. Or the supervisor might suggest that the employee update his/her resume F = The supervisor calls the Human Resources Office to find out what next steps are possible, including how to fire the employee The Grading Rubric explains my process in grading all papers. Course Materials: The course packet is available only at Bookholders, 7417 Baltimore Avenue, College Park. Phone: 301-209-9313. Recommended Course Textbook: Instead of requiring a handbook, I recommend that students learn how to use an excellent FREE online resource: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ Using this resource will familiarize you with guides that you can use when you are on the job while at the same time saving you the high cost of textbook. I therefore encourage you to bookmark this site for reference long after you have succeeded in this course. SCHEDULE: Please note that all major (i.e., grade-determining) assignments are bolded in this syllabus. September 1 (T) Introduction to the course. Course policies. Rhetoric and argumentation. Term project. Thank you letter. Assignment: Reflective Essay: Establishing your expecations 2 (W) Due: Proposed term project topic. Due via e-mail no later than noon 3 (Th) Due: Resume and cover letter. Term project topics: Q&A. Memos. First reflective essay: Establishing your expectations. Assignment: Team contract 8 (T) Due: Revised resumes and cover letters. Business letters. Thank you letters. Term project: Resource reviews. Publishable First Reflective Essay 10 (Th) Due: Publishable Resume and Cover Letter. Revised resource review. Thank you letter. Draft team contract 15 (T) Due: Publishable Thank You letter. Resource review. Draft team contract 16 (W) Due: Publishable Writing Team Contract. No later than noon via e-mail 17 (Th) Due: Revised resource review 22 (T) Due: Publishable Resource Review. Proposal to conduct a study. 24 (Th) Due: Proposal to conduct a study: problem section 29 (T) Due: Proposal to conduct a study: problem and methodology sections October 1 (Th) Due: Proposal to conduct a study: entire document 6 (T) Due: Proposal to conduct a study: final review before submission 7 (W) Due: Publishable proposal to conduct a study: multiple copies. Due no later than 9:00 a.m. in hard copy 8 (Th) Due: Review panels meet 13 (T) Due: Review panels meet 14 (W) Due: Publishable review panel reports. Due no later than 5:00 p.m. via e-mail 15 (Th) Due: Expert proposal overview. Rhetorical situation memo. Conferences by appointment 16 (F) Due: Conferences by appointment 20 (T) Due: Publishable reflective memo: Mid-term self-assessment. Rhetorical situation memo 22 (Th) Due: Rhetorical situation memo: revised 27 (T) Due: Publishable rhetorical situation memo. Expert proposal problem section 29 (Th) Due: Expert proposal problem section November 3 (T) Due: Expert proposal problem section 5 (Th) Due: Expert proposal problem section 10 (T) Due: Publishable progress report 12 (Th) Due: Expert proposal: problem and solution sections 17 (T) Due: Expert proposal: entire document 19 (Th) Due: Expert proposal: entire document 24 (T) Due: Expert proposal: last in-class revisions. Oral reports 26 (Th) Thanksgiving: no class Important Note: Class will meet on November 24, addressing major assignments. Travel plans should reflect these requirements. 30 (M) Due: Publishable expert proposals. Due no later than 9:00 a.m. in hard copy December 1 (Th) Due: Orals 3 (T) Due: Orals 8 (Th) Due: Orals 10 (T) Due: Orals. Due: Complete course portfolio 12 (St) Due: Publishable final three memos. Due no later than 9:00 a.m. via e-mail 1. Memo summarizing and evaluating an oral report 2. Memo evaluating writing team 3. Third reflective memo: Revisiting your expectations Examinations: This course includes NO EXAMS. (Yes, that means no final exam as well.) Course evaluations are a part of the process by which the University of Maryland seeks to improve teaching and learning. Your participation in this official system is critical to the success of the process, and all information submitted to CourseEvalUM is confidential. (Instructors can only view group summaries of evaluations and cannot identify which submissions belong to which students.) Diversity: The University of Maryland values the diversity of its student body. Along with the University, I am committed to providing a classroom atmosphere that encourages the equitable participation of all students regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Potential devaluation of students in the classroom that can occur by reference to demeaning stereotypes of any group and/or overlooking the contributions of a particular group to the topic under discussion is inappropriate. (See Statement on Classroom Climate, http://www.umd.edu/catalog/index.cfm/show/content.section/c/27/ss/1584/s/1541). Academic Accommodations for Students Who May Experience Sexual Misconduct: The University of Maryland is committed to providing support and resources, including academic accommodations, for students who experience sexual or relationship violence (as defined by the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy). To report an incident and/or obtain an academic accommodation, contact the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct at 301-405-1142. If you wish to speak confidentially, contact Campus Advocates Respond and Educate (CARE) to Stop Violence at 301-741-3555. Disclosures made to faculty are not confidential and must be reported to the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct. For more information visit www.umd.edu/Sexual_Misconduct/. Important Notes: 1. This syllabus—which is subject to change—omits most in-class exercises and other small assignments. 2. The only required textbook is the course packet, published by Linemark and sold only at the Bookholders. 3. This course requires you to write several papers. The English Department requires a minimum of twenty-five publishable pages for every 300- and 400-level writing course. The course includes no examinations. 4. If you encounter problems with the course, raise them with me immediately. I can help you deal with and solve problems as they arise but cannot solve problems after the fact. Problems grow complex as they age. A problem that we could have solved during the course’s first week can become impossible to solve by mid-term and certainly by the last week.