English 202D: Business Report Writing - Spring 2012

Instructor: Jim Manis
Office: Memorial Bldg, Rm 105
Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. and by appointment
Phone: 450-3189 (includes voice mail)
E-mail: jdm12@psu.edu
Web Site: http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis
Text: Successful Writing at Work, 9th ed., Philip C. Kolin

Attention: Make sure your email account is up to date; you will be required to use it in this course.

Purpose: Because the most crucial activity in business (and government) is communication of ideas and because most of that activity takes a written form (even oral communication and non-verbal visual communication more often than not ends up in writing), English 202D aims to help you write effectively to different audiences on the job. This course will introduce you to a variety of typical business writing situations that ask you to respond with comprehensive, organized documents. Ultimately this course will help you make an easier transition from business student to business person, whether in the private or the public sector.

NOTE: You should be in your fourth semester or beyond and have completed English 15, or the equivalent, with at least a grade of C. The university expects most students to take this course during the final semester of their senior year, although it is technically a sophomore level course. Work and course experience within the student's major are very important to facilitate the successfull completion of this course.

Required text: Successful Writing at Work, Philip C. Kolin. 9th ed. (SWAW)

Students are expected to comport themselves in a professional manner at all times.

SPECIAL NOTE: All work must be submitted on time. No late work will be accepted after the final day of regular classes. In order to successfully complete the course, all course work must be turned in. NO exceptions will be permitted. If you find that you are unable to complete the course during the regular semester, but you have attended all classes and turned in all but ONE assignment, you may ask for a deferred grade, and that grade may be allowed by the instructor. If you find you are not able to attend class and cannot complete the course work, you MUST withdraw from the course. If you do not attend class, your papers will NOT be accepted for grading. In order for an assignment to be considered "turned in" it MUST be placed directly in the instructor's hands by the student who is responsible for the paper. If you find that you are unable to do this, you MUST contact the instructor immediately and explain why you cannot do so, and at that time the instructor will decide whether the paper will be accepted or not and in what manner it might be considered acceptable.

All documented papers must employee MLA style parenthetical documentation. The use of another person's words, statistics or ideas MUST BE DOCUMENTED PROPERLY. This material should be learned in English 015 or its equivalent. If you do not know how to document your written work in accordance with this standard, you are expected to learn to do so outside of class. It is recommended that you avail yourself of the services provided at the Learning Center.

Assignment #1 Résumé ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #2 Job Application Letter ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #3 Memo ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #4 Letter of Inquiry ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #5 Sales Letter ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #6 Customer Relations Letter ˇˇˇˇˇˇ 1%
Assignment #7 Questionnaires ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 4%
Assignment #8 Instructions ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 10%
Assignment #9 Proposals ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 10%
Assignment #10 Short Report ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 10%
Assignment #11 Long Report ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 50%
Participation, exercises, etc. ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 10%
Totalˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ 100%

All graded work is to be typed, following appropriate formats from our text.

NOTE: Late papers not otherwise approved by the instructor will cause the grade to be reduced by one letter grade for each class period that they are late. No more than one late paper will be accepted by the instructor during the last week of class. NO late papers will be accepted after the last regularly scheduled class without PRIOR approval by the instructor. If a student finds that he or she is unable to complete the course on time, he or she should drop the course or be prepared to accept a failing grade in the course. ALL assigned work MUST be completed in order to receive a passing grade in the course.

January 10: Introduction to course; writing sample.

January 12: Chapters One, Two, and Seven in SWAW; rough draft of résumé.

January 17: Chapter Eight in SWAW; final draft of résumé; rough draft of letter of job application.

January 19: Discussion of the long research paper project; final draft of job application letter due.

January 24 - 26: Chapters Four, Five and Six in SWAW;  rough draft of memo.

January 31 - February 2: Final draft of memo.

Februar 7 - 9: Bring to class a limited working bibliography for your long report (five (5) books and five (5) journal or Web sources. (These last can be mixed to equal five.) Chapter Eleven and Twelve in SWAW; rough drafts of letter of inquiry, sales letter and customer relations letter.

February 14 - 16: Final drafts of sales letter, customer relations letter and letter of inquiry (due on Tuesday of this week); annotated bibliography for long report of six sources, must include three books or journals, not all Web pages (due on Thursday of this week).

February 21-  23: Chapter Twelve in SWAW; discussion of questionnaires; note: this assignment will be a collaborative assignment. Students will work in small groups and be equally responsible.

February 28 - March 1: Rough draft of questionnaires due in class on Monday; Chapter Thirteen in SWAW; final drafts of questionnaires due Friday.

March 5 - 9: Spring Break

March 13 - 15: Rough drafts of instructions due on Thursday of this week

March 20 - 22: Chapter Fourteen in SWAW; final drafts of instructions due on Thursday of this week.A

March 27 - 29: Rough drafts of proposals due on Friday Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen in SWAW

April 3 - 5: Final drafts of proposals due on Thursday.

April 10 - 12: Short reports due on Thursday; note: this assignment will be a collaborative assignment; students will work in small groups and be equally responsible; rough drafts of long reports due.

April 17 - 19: Presentations; Long reports due Thursday

April 24 - 26: Finish Presentations as necessary.

April 30 - May 4: Final Exam Week; Graduation Friday evening

Note: Additional information can be obtained from the Web:



Assignment #1: Write your résumé following one of the formats in our text. See the course agenda for due dates. Keep in mind that your résumé will be produced on paper and as an html page. The paper version must be easily machine readable. Following one of the examples from our text book, prepare your résumé.

In your résumé, make sure you indicate skills that you have acquired in any previous work situations, and skills that you have acquired within courses that you have taken. Remember, the résumé is a tool with which you will sell yourself to your employer. It must indicate skills that will be valuable to him/her.

We will work on the rough draft in class and you will turn in the final draft the following class meeting.

Assignment #2: Select a "position available" advertisement from the Internet, for which you will be qualified beginning fall semester, regardless of your present standing in school, and write an appropriate job application letter to accompany your résumé. Turn in a copy of the ad along with the letter. Have the ad in hand on the date the rough draft is due for the job letter.

Assignment #3: Choose one of the exercises ( 1-6 only) on pages 150-151 in our text to write a paper memo and send me an e-mail outlining your progress to date, including any problems you are having, on your long report.

NOTE: For the paper memo you may create your own employer or use one you have worked for in the past (or presently work for) or you may use the one you wrote your letter of application to.

Assignment #4: Write a letter of inquiry to a real estate agency in another town where you intend to relocate due to a change of employment. Are you seeking to buy or rent? Are you married, single, have a roommate? Pets? Are you seeking a private home? Town house? Apartment? What are your transportation requirements? Proximity to schools? Shopping centers? Do you wish to live in the city? Suburbs? Country? New development?

Assignment #5: You are a sales representative for the A. W. Why Co., Inc. of America. Your company manufactures and sells widgets. It is your job to write a sales letter in an effort to increase sales of widgets. You decide what widgets are, who you want to sell them to and how much they cost. Once you have done this, write your sales letter. Attach the description to the final draft of the sales letter. NOTE: "Widgets" is a term meaning "thing." Your "thing" may either be a product or a service.

Assignment #6: Again you are the sales representative for the A. W. Why Co., Inc. of America. Your oldest and best client, Mr. Carl Jung of Jung Enterprises, is three months overdue on payment for his last shipment of widgets. He wishes to order an even larger amount, and you must inform him that you cannot fill the order without his either paying in advance for the new order or sending you payment in full for the previous order. You most certainly do not wish to lose this account.

HINT: Your company has a cash flow problem and probably Mr. Jung has a cash flow problem. However, you must not indicate any such problem to Mr. Jung nor can you directly suggest to him that you are in any way speculating about his financial situation.

Assignment #7: Questionnaire: We will determine the precise topic of your questionnaire at a later date. You will have a minimum of ten questions and you will circulate the questionnaire after it has been graded and write a short report based on the results you receive. This report will constitute your short report assignment. You will work in groups of three people in order to complete this assignment. Grades will be shared.

Assignment #8: Instructions: Choose a procedure form your major or your work experience to write a set of instructions for someone who will replace you in doing the procedure. The instructions must be complete enough for the person who is replacing you to complete the procedure without asking any questions.

SCENARIO: A woman works in a large banking concern. She receives a promotion, which requires her to move from one building to another. Her supervisor requires her to write a set of instructions for her replacement to follow. The person replacing her must be able to perform the functions of the person she is replacing WITHOUT contacting that person. In addition, the person writing the instructions cannot assume that her replacement has ever performed the procedure before.

Assignment #9: Proposals: Following the example from our text for writing a proposal to your teacher (617-620), you will propose a topic for your long report on some aspect of your major. See assignment #11.Your focus within the long report will be to illustrate a problem area or areas. In other words, if you are majoring in accounting, your long report will focus on specific problems within the field of accounting, reporting them, and examining proposed fixes. As is appropriate, you will also argue for the best resolution to problems you report.

Assignment #10: Short Reports: Following the memo format in your text, write a short report based on the result you get after you distribute your questionnaires. See assignment #7. Once again, you will work in the same group as you did for assignment #7 and submit the report as a committee. Grades will be shared.

Your short report should address responses to each of the questions from your questionnaires, and it should include an analysis of your findings. Finally, appropriate recommendations based on your findings should be included.

The short report should be addressed to the same person/people/organization that you are doing the questionnaire for - NOT TO ME.

Assignment #11: Long report: Because you may not have taken many courses in your major and you may not know much about your major, we are not considering you to be an expert; we do not expect you to argue for a particular stance, action or point of view. What we want is quite literally a report on what you have discovered about some aspect of your major in the limited time you have. You must have a minimum of five sources and the paper will be 7-12 pages, double spaced, in length. Neither your works cited page nor your bibliography count toward the page limitations. You will follow the example in our text. See assignment #9.

NOTE: This assignment requires you to give a "presentation."

Statement of Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity: All students are expected to act with civility,  personal integrity; respect other students' dignity, rights and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their own efforts.  An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for self and others and a civil community.

Academic integrity includes a commitment to not engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception.  Such acts of dishonesty include cheating or copying, plagiarizing, submitting another persons' work as one's own, using Internet sources without citation, fabricating field data or citations, "ghosting" (taking or having another student take an exam), stealing examinations, tampering with the academic work of another student, facilitating other students' acts of academic dishonesty, etc.

Academic dishonesty violates the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromises the worth of work completed by others.  A student should avoid academic dishonesty when preparing work for any class.   If charged with academic dishonesty, students will receive written or oral notice of the charge by the instructor.   Students who contest the charge should first seek resolution through discussion with the faculty member or the campus Director of Academic Affairs.  If the matter is not resolved, the student may request a hearing with the Commonwealth College Committee on Academic Integrity at the campus.

Sanctions for breaches of academic integrity may range (depending on the severity of the offense) from F for the assignment to F for the course. In severe cases of academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to, stealing exams or "ghosting" an exam, students may receive a grade of XF, a formal University disciplinary sanction that indicates on the student's transcript that failure in the course was due to a serious act of academic dishonesty. The University's statement on Academic Integrity from which the above statement was drawn is available at:  http://www.psu.edu/dept/oue/aappm/G-9.html

This page created and maintained by Jim Manis; last updated January 3, 2012.