Syllabus

English 202D: Business Writing

Instructor: Leslie Robertson Mateer

Contact:  LRM155@psu.edu

Welcome!

English 202D teaches writing strategies and tactics that business managers and executives will need in order to write successfully on the job. In this course you will be expected to read a great deal of material, conduct research, and write and revise different kinds of business documents.

Together, we will:

  • discover and understand the discourse features that distinguish their disciplinary and institutional communities from others;
  • develop a range of writing processes appropriate to various writing tasks;
  • reveal the organization of their communications by using forecasting and transitional statements, headings, and effective page design;
  • observe appropriate generic conventions and formats for letters, resumes, memoranda, and a variety of informal and formal reports;
  • design and use tables, graphs, and business illustrations; and
  • collaborate effectively with peers in a community of writers who provide feedback on each other’s work.

Textbook


Bovee, Courtland L. and John V. Thill. Business Communication Essentials.  Seventh ed.  Upper Saddle River, N.J.:  Pearson Education, 2016. (Required)

Attendance/Participation


Attendance Policy University policy (Policies and Rules, 42-27) states that a student whose absences are excessive “may run the risk of receiving a lower grade or a failing grade,” regardless of his or her performance in the class.

For this class, however, you will receive a score (Participation, 10%) for your attendance.  For a MWF class, you can take up to 3 absences over the course of the semester with no penalty, grade-wise.   If you miss more than three classes, your participation score will be affected.

For this reason, this class does not issue  “excused” absences.  If you have good reasons to miss class (and many seniors do), you can take up to three absences with no penalty to your participation score.   Therefore, plan your three “free” absences accordingly.

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class period.  If you arrive after attendance has been taken, it is your responsibility to inform me after class.

However: perfect attendance receives extra credit.

Important: Please let me know in advance if you find yourself in an extreme situation or emergency.   I can usually work with you if I’m kept informed.

Draft Workshops/Peer Reviews


Be sure to be prepared for in-class draft workshops and peer reviews.    The more prepared you are for the workshops, the more you will benefit from them.  For our peer reviews, you will make high quality, truly helpful comments on your classmates’ work and consider their comments in revising your own work.   I could go on and on about the benefits of in-class workshops and peer reviews on the quality (and grades) of student work, but I suspect you will discover those benefits soon enough.

If you must miss a peer review, take your draft to Penn State Learning | Writing.   The tutors there will inform me of your session.

Important: I am unable to accept a “final” assignment unless I’ve seen your rough draft.

Conferences


Office hours are drop-in or you can email me for an appointment.  You can also email me with any questions.

Draft Feedback is In-Person Only: I am happy to go over your rough drafts with you before they are due – in person.  I am unable to give feedback on your rough drafts via email (unless the circumstances are extraordinary).

You can also take your writing to with Penn State Learning | Writing.  Trained tutors are available to help.  This service is free.

Assignments and Grading


Your final grade will be determined by the grades you receive on course assignments, according to the following weighting:

AssignmentsWeight
Proposal10%
Short Writing Portfolio20%
Social Media Portfolio30%
Oral Progress Report10%
Formal Report20%
Class Participation10%

Grading Scale

Letter GradeMinimum Percent/Points
A94
A-90
B+87
B84
B-80
C+77
C70
D60
F0

 

The Penn State grading scale does not allow the option of awarding final grades of C-, D+, or D-.

The grades of A, B, C, D, and F indicate the following qualities of academic performance:

A = (Excellent/Superior) Indicates exceptional achievement
B = (Good/Very Good) Indicates extensive achievement
C = (Satisfactory) Indicates acceptable achievement
D = (Poor) Indicates only minimal achievement
F = (Failure) Indicates inadequate achievement necessitating a repetition of the course in order to secure credit

Note on Grades: English 202D is a rigorous course, based on directives from the dean of our college.  Fulfilling the requirements of an assignment will be considered acceptable or extensive (good or very good) achievement.  “A” quality scores will only be applied in cases of exceptional achievement – demonstration of sophisticated understanding and finesse.

Policies


Here are some policies that will govern how we approach our class.

Promptness –  All projects are due at the beginning of class on the dates indicated on the syllabus. Assignments turned in late will be penalized one grade level (say, from B to B-) for each day late, beginning immediately after the time due,  unless you have made other arrangements with me in advance.

Promptness applies to class attendance too.  If you come in late be sure to notify me after class, since I often take attendance at the beginning and you were probably marked “absent.”

Grammar, Spelling, Proofreading –  This course assumes you have a strong handle on the English language.  Though we may cover some particularly troublesome grammar issues in class, your work should be grammatically correct from the beginning.

If this presents a problem for you, there is help.  I have provided a number of resources for you.  You may also consider using the Undergraduate Writing Center and Intensive English Services.  I can help set you up with those services.  Come see me.

Documentation –  The good news is that documentation and style guides are free on the web.  Good ones.  For most work, you no longer have to buy a style guide and pore over citations to make sure you are putting the commas and periods in the right places.  In fact, there are some services that will generate your citations for you, with the click of a button.

For this course, you may choose your favorite documentation style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) but you will be expected to use it correctly and consistently.

Revisions – Plan to revise your work before you turn it in, probably multiple times. Feel free to ask me or others for feedback on your writing.  Try to apply the comments to improve not only the particular assignment you are working on at the time but also your strategies for writing in general.

Required Policies


Plagiarism Statement

Plagiarism is a breach of academic integrity that includes but is not limited to the act of presenting another person’s words or ideas as your own without attribution; the act of piecing together multiple unattributed sources to create the illusion of originality; or the act of resubmitting without acknowledgment and permission from the current course instructor significant passages of previously submitted work, even if the work is your own. The College of the Liberal Arts policy on plagiarism is available online at: http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/student-services/academic-integrity. If you have any questions about plagiarism and its consequences (or about any other feature of academic integrity) please ask. Plagiarism indicates disregard for ethical standards, your instructor, and your peers. If plagiarism is discovered in your work, you risk failing the assignment and possibly the course. You will also be referred to the College Committee for Academic Integrity, and may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, which could result in probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Accessibility Statement

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/disability-coordinator. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/applying-for-services. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons.  It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas.  Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Office, 328 Boucke Building.

Late Policy

You are expected to complete assignments on time. Late projects will receive a deduction of one grade level (say, B to B-) per day, beginning immediately after the time due. 

We use this system even in the event of excusable situations, such as minor sicknesses or other unforeseen conflicts. However, any exceptions to this policy are made at our discretion. If you have conflicts, or something unexpected arises, do not hesitate to contact me (your instructor), and we’ll arrive at a solution together.

If you are ill or have a serious problem that prevents you from submitting an assignment on the day it is due, please contact me prior to the due date and we will arrange an alternative date. Additionally, students with incomplete assignments at the end of the course will be given the earned final grade.

Accessibility Statement

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/disability-coordinator. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/applying-for-services. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

 Nondiscrimination Statement

The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons.  It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas.  Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Office, 328 Boucke Building.

 Counseling and Psychological Services

Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office offers residential and distance-based Penn State students non-emergency mental health services in the form of case management, community resource referrals, supportive listening, care giver support and much more.

Students may request assistance from CAPS regarding a variety of common mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties and stress. CAPS services are designed to enhance students’ ability to fully benefit from the University environment and academic experience. Call CAPS at 814-863-0395 (8 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday EST) or submit an inquiry online at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling/contact_form.shtml to schedule an appointment with a mental health advocate, who can help you address mental health concerns that may interfere with your academic progress or social development. This appointment will include a one-on-one session that can be conducted via telephone, teleconference (Skype, FaceTime, etc.), or locally at Penn State University Park. For more information on services provided through CAPS, please visit the Penn State CAPS website.

Reminder:  These services are for non-emergencies only.  If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis situation, please call your local crisis center or 911.

 

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