English 607

ENGL 607
Business Writing & Editing

1. Catalog Entry

ENGL 607
Business Writing & Editing

Credit hours (3)

An online course that focuses on rhetorical strategies for writing and editing common, short-form business documents intended for internal and external audiences to an organization.

2. Detailed Description of Course

A practical skills course grounded in rhetorical theory, English 607 teaches students how to compose effective business communication documents for audiences both external and internal to an organization. Successful business writing meets the expectations, needs, and abilities of various audiences, not only in terms of its content, but also in relation to its organization, formal conventions, method of delivery, and design. Students will learn to identify the various stakeholders in communication situations and then anticipate and respond to their unique and sometimes divergent expectations, needs, and abilities. The course emphasizes developing positive, negative, informative, and persuasive messages within a variety of genres, including letters, memos, emails, job application materials, and executive summaries. Genres essential to managing business communication processes also will be explored (e.g., meetings, performance reviews, editorial reviews, collaborative writing projects). The course assumes that editing and proofreading are important parts of the document production process; therefore, students will receive instruction in grammar, mechanics, and style in isolation and context. In addition, the course may provide instruction in understanding ethical and cross-cultural communication practices; delivering business presentations; and incorporating data and graphics.

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course aims to increase students’ awareness of the effects of good and poor communication practices in the workplace. Students will learn to better gauge how written communication practices affect the productivity and reputation of an organization and its employees, managers, and stakeholders. Social media’s role in compounding the effects of good and bad communication practices also may be addressed.

Along with cultivating an appreciation of writing’s importance in the workplace, English 607 fosters keener rhetorical awareness. Students learn to measure and meet the varied, sometimes contradictory expectations of various audiences. Formal, generic conventions of business communication documents will be taught; however, the course focuses on helping students determine the best genre, medium, and method of delivery for a message, given its audience and purpose. Students may apply some of these skills to genres related to the internal promotion and/or job application process (e.g., cover letter and resume).

Understanding what constitutes good business writing at the level of language also is a central part of the course. Students will learn to adjust tone; handle jargon; and efficiently correct grammar, mechanics, and usage errors during the appropriate moment of the document production lifecycle.

English 607 utilizes a variety of instructional strategies, such as video lecture, online discussion board, case studies, and problem-based learning, to help students improve their understanding and composition of short-form workplace documents. Students will have multiple opportunities to improve their writing in response to instructor and peer feedback. Finally, because English 607 is a graduate-level course, students will be expected to assume more responsibility and agency in their own learning. To this end, collaborative projects and presentations may be assigned. In completing such projects, students might be asked to write reflectively in order to foster metacognition and learning transfer; some of this reflective writing may be part of a major, end-of-term assignment for the course. This assignment most likely would feed into the E-Portfolio capstone course for the certificate program as a whole.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Given that enrollees are post-baccalaureate students who likely have some professional experience, the course aims to improve students’ abilities to communicate effectively in writing. Planning, writing, improving, and delivering short-form genres receive the bulk of attention in English 607. By the end of the course, students will be able to:
    1) Identify the needs, abilities, and concerns of various stakeholders/audiences in a
        communication situation
    2) Distinguish what information and details are appropriate for their intended
    3) Choose an appropriate communication genre (e.g., memo or letter), medium (e.g.,
        print or digital document), and delivery method (e.g., email or intra-office
        mail), given the document’s primary audience and purpose
    4) Select a rhetorically effective organizational structure that is appropriate for the
        audience and purpose of a document
    5) Use the right tone and style to achieve their communication goals
    6) Revise, edit, and proofread their work with an acceptable level of correctness and
    7) Understand the differences among revising, editing, and proofreading and know
        when during the document lifecycle to deploy each of these techniques
    8) Work effectively in a team to produce group-authored documents  (e.g., managing
        interpersonal differences; creating an equitable work plan)
    9) Write reflectively about the document production process by describing what
        one has written, why one has written, and what one has learned in the process

5. Assessment Measures

Knowledge and application of course principles will be assessed in a number of ways. Students will plan, write, revise, edit, and/or proofread business documents from various sources. Students also will analyze the rhetorical, content, design, formal, and other features of real-world business documents, including those they may have produced as part of their professional duties. Grammar, mechanics, and style exercises and brief assessments (e.g., multiple choice quizzes) may be assigned; however, editing and proofreading skills mainly will be evaluated in context. Students may, for example, be asked to edit and proofread a memo; some of these editing and proofreading scenarios may be timed. At key moments in the course, students may be asked to engage in metacognitive exercises (e.g., short, reflective writing exercises) to facilitate learning transfer.

6. Other Course Information