ENGL 3040: Business Writing (Fall 2018)

Syllabus and Schedule in PDF: Forsberg_ENGL3040_Fall2018


Clemson University Fall 2018

ENGL 3040: Business Writing

Section# 020 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30-1:45PM, DAN 211

Section# 019 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 2:00-3:15PM, DAN 211



INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Forsberg

EMAIL: jforsbe [at] clemson.edu

*Please email me directly, not through Canvas

OFFICE: Strode 502

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays & Thursdays

8:00AM-9:15AM and by appointment



Business Writing is intended to be an introduction to the concerns of audience, context, and purpose for texts common in professional business settings. This course focuses on writing strategies for varied rhetorical situations in common business forms such as: memoranda, letters, reports, and proposals.



After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of clear, concise communication in business communications.
  • Gain familiarity and apply audience-based compositional strategies that are appropriate in form, tone and style to the business world.
  • Utilize varied writing strategies and revision practices for effective communication across business formats, especially in digital compositions.
  • Construct arguments and take positions that are supported with evidence and consider the complexity of business ethics within communication practices.
  • Develop and apply precise and purposeful written communication in the pre-employment stage and as required by potential employers.
  • Anticipate the needs of a business environment and attend to them through precise language and documentation in routine messages, customer service, staff management, proposals or reports, and employment messages.



  • Master critical thinking skills and rhetorical concepts as they apply to professional environments and the ethical considerations within them (LO1)
    • Explore the dynamics of professional communities and the nuances of communicating within them.
    • Research and evaluate information from professional, academic, and governmental resources that are appropriate for workplace genres and rhetorical situations.
    • Analyze data from research and incorporate it into assigned writing to achieve clear, concise, and logical communication, properly cited.
    • Analyze and evaluate information for quality and validity that effectively responds to the purpose, audience, context, and genre.
    • Pinpointing the risks associated with different writing strategies and making deliberate writing decisions to compose effective texts.


  • Apply effective communications strategies to targeted readers (LO2)
    • Study and understand the ethical, international, social, and professional constraints of audience, style, and content for writing situations internal to the organization and external to it (i.e. other companies and/or the public).
    • Practice writing for targeted audiences and implementing the stylistic, mechanical, and organizational strategies that will effectively reach them.
    • Pinpoint and analyze the challenges that accompany writing in the workforce (addressing sensitive situations, targeting broad audiences, planning for the uncertainties associated with targeted readers, navigating the nuances of relational dynamics amongst various readers) and developing strategies for effective communication.


  • Compose effectively in a variety of forms and media appropriate to the discipline (LO3)
    • Practice writing specific genres of business communication appropriate to the contexts and audiences. These genres may include white papers, recommendations reports, analytical reports, proposals, memorandums, web pages, wikis, blogs, business letters, and promotional documents.
    • Produce documents in writing processes that include peer review, revision, and production of a variety of genres.
    • Practice editing professional documents for precision, clarity, professionalism, and heightened style.
    • Practice communicating effectively in staged performance contexts appropriate to the professional world, such as proposals, pitch presentations, client interactions, and progress reports.
    • Develop writing styles that are concise, clear, accurate, without ambiguity, or wordiness.



Cardon, Peter W. Business Communication: Developing Leaders For A Networked World, 3rd edition (no code or disc required) ISBN: 978-1259694516.  Please consider renting this book for the most affordable option!



This course requires the use of computer technologies inside and outside of class. You should bring your laptop to class with batteries fully charged. You are expected to use your technology effectively and responsibly. When class tasks do not require a laptop it should be put aside.





You may miss 3 classes without penalty. Starting with the 4th absence, each missed class reduces your attendance and participation grade by 2%. Students missing more than 10 total classes forfeit all attendance and participation points and may be dropped from the class at the instructor’s discretion.


If you miss important information regarding assignments or exams please check with your peers or look to Canvas for announcements or updates.


Course Disruptions

Any exam scheduled at a time that class is cancelled due to inclement weather will be given at the next class meeting. I will announce all extensions or postponements of assignments or exams via Canvas within 24 hours of the weather related cancellation.


In the event that I am late for class, please check Canvas for an update and wait 10 minutes before dismissing yourself.


Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

The following is Clemson’s official statement on “Academic Integrity”: “As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of this institution as a ‘high seminary of learning.’ Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.”

The instructor will deal with plagiarism on a case-by-case basis. The most serious offense within this category occurs when a student copies text from the Internet or from a collective file. This type of academic dishonesty is a serious offense that will result in a failing grade for the course as well as the filing of a formal report to the university. See the Clemson site below for information about Academic Integrity and procedures regarding the violation of Clemson policies on scholastic dishonesty: http://www.clemson.edu/academics/academic-integrity/




The Writing Center (307 Academic Success Center building)

The Writing Center is a free tutoring service available to the entire student body, regardless of major or academic standing. It provides students opportunities to discuss questions or problems related to academic writing—from generating a topic and thesis to organizing a draft and integrating appropriate citations. The Writing Center’s goal is to help Clemson students become confident and effective writers. You can make an appointment with a tutor by visiting the Writing Center’s website (http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/writing/), by calling them at 864-656-3280, or by simply stopping in.


Students with Disabilities

It is university policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact Student Disability Services to discuss their individualized needs for accommodation. For more information visit http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/sds/index.html


Title IX (Sexual Harassment) Statement

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/access/title-ix/. Mr. Jerry Knighton is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator and is also the Director of Access and Equity. His office is located at 111 Holtzendorrf Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.565.0899 (TDD).


Office Hours

I will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Strode 502. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of my availability and the help I am ready to offer. Please let me know in advance if you plan to stop by so I can schedule you in my calendar and guarantee you time. I check my email Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM. You should not expect to hear from me outside of those times and must plan accordingly if you have questions about an upcoming deadline or reading.




Grading System:

Clemson University’s grading system is described in the 2018-2019 Undergraduate Announcements, p. 25-27.  Grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, P, NP and W may be given in accordance with academic regulations. For more information on this grading system, please see the Registrar’s web site at http://www.registrar.clemson.edu/html/finalGrades.htm.


Every point matters. I aim to provide you timely and detailed feedback and opportunities to improve your score throughout the term. For that reason I do not entertain requests to round your final grade at the end of the term, but do have a policy to award students who stand at 69.5, 79.5, 89.5 and above the next letter grade.


Grading Policy

Canvas Grade Book is a helpful tool for keeping watch on your overall grade in real time throughout the course. It is your responsibility to keep up with your grades and contact me if you believe there is has been an error in your earnings. Any concerns must be addressed within 2 weeks of that score’s release.


Due Dates and Late Work Policy

All assignments are due to Canvas the start of class on the due date (per your section) unless otherwise specified. If work is submitted after the deadline it will be considered late and will be worth a maximum of 50% within 24 hours, but will earn no credit after 24 hours.


Written Assignments

Each assignment has a grading rubric to ensure that you are meeting the course objectives and the learning objectives across the chapters we are covering. These rubrics should serve as a checklist before you submit assignments in addition to a detailed explanation of how your work will be assessed.


All assignment uploads should be formatted with 1” margins, be DOUBLE-SPACED, and have a heading that includes your FULL NAME, THE DATE, THE ASSIGNMENT and ENGL3040. Uploaded files should always be labeled with your LastNameFirstNameAssignmentName. Ex: SmithJoeMR4. No Google Docs or other formats requiring authentication or sign-in will be accepted.




Group Facilitations and Presentations:

Note: Students absent on the scheduled date of their group facilitations/presentations can earn no more than half-credit for the assignment based on the formal submission


Group Facilitation 1 (GP 1): Ethics Discussion

Each group will be responsible for facilitating an ethics discussion in class. To do this effectively, the group should prepare a Spark Video (1:30-2:00 minutes) introducing the ethical dilemma. The link to this video should be posted to Canvas Discussions in advance of the class session. After playing the video for the class, the group will encourage professional and respectful discussion, debate and analysis of the situation for 6-8 minutes arriving at a conclusion. Facilitators are also responsible for providing a group submission that surveys the responses from the class session (100-125 words), and reflects on the discussion (75-125 words) before the next class meeting. [LO 1, 2 & 3)

The facilitation and survey of responses is worth 6% of your grade.


Group Presentation 2 (GP 2): International Business Cultures

Each group will be responsible for researching and presenting details regarding an international business culture. The presentation to the class should be interactive, multimedia, and 10-12 minutes long. The submission to Canvas should be stand-alone and able to be followed in accordance with writing rules covered in class. This means that the in-class presentation and the presentation submission should be unique to their audience and situation. [LO 1, 2 & 3]

This presentation and group submission is worth 8% of your grade.


Group Presentation 3 (GP 3): Trade Show Proposal and Slide Report.

This multi-part assignment should be designed for compelling and easy electronic presentation in a slide-show report format that includes, at a minimum, the following elements: a) a cover page and table of contents (this should include your name in lieu of an official heading); b) an introduction to your product/service and the tradeshow; c) a clear proposal indicating why the trade show is the right place for your product/service and the potential gains; d) 3-5 slides that provide summary reports and analysis of secondary research supporting the proposal (use a minimum of 3 outside sources), e) a preliminary budget that details both the expenses the cost of the booth, products, travel, marketing staffing, etc. and potential profit., and f) a works cited/consulted page. Presentations should aim to be 15-20 minutes. [LO 1, 2 & 3]

This presentation and group submission is worth 12% of your grade.


Individual Submissions and Contributions:


Attendance and Participation: (A&P)

To earn credit here you must not only attend class at the designated times and be prepared to discuss that day’s materials, but must also engage with in class tasks including in-class activities, peer reviews, and/or group discussions. These points cannot be earned on days you are absent and cannot be made up. Participation grades will be updated twice in the term, once before midterms and once in the final week of class. [LO 1, 2& 3]

Attendance and participation are worth 16% of your grade.


Chapter Activities: (CA #)

Chapter activities provide you the opportunity to practice skills and techniques from the textbook, as well as get regular feedback to improve your writing skills. Submissions should be approached formally and with thoughtful consideration of organizational method and format structure. Your work should always be uploaded as a .doc or .pdf for easier peer review in class and instructor feedback. [LO 1, 2 & 3]

Chapter Activities are collectively worth 30% of your grade.


Formal Projects (FP #)

These longer, formal assignment submissions are milestone assessments of your mastery of Chapter Activity skill sets and the Learning Objectives in this syllabus. Your work should always be uploaded as a .doc or .pdf for easier peer review in class and instructor feedback. Formal projects include:


  • Formal Project 1: Dirty Dozen Grammar Diagnostic and Reflection. [LO 1 & 3] (4% of your grade)
  • Formal Project 2: Mission Statement and Code of Conduct Spark Page or Video (2 min).           [LO 1, 2 & 3] (5% of your grade)
  • Formal Project 3: Electronic Communication Position Spark Video (3 min). [LO 1, 2 & 3]          (5% of your grade)
  • Formal Project 4: (16.9) Job Ad Analysis (of chosen job for resume, cover letter and FP 5).          [LO 1, 2 & 3] (4% of your grade)
  • Formal Project 5: Professional Digital Portfolio with Revised Cover Letter. [LO 1, 2 & 3]      (10% of your grade)


Course Schedule






* denotes in-class submission

Thursday, 8/23






In-Class Activity: Listening Exercise (2.22)


Ethics Group Meet & Greet; Intro to FP #1


Tuesday, 8/28


Last day to

add a class


Chapter 1: Credibility

(pp. 2-6; 8-12)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 168-169; 177-185)


Formal Project 1: The Dirty Dozen: Grammar Diagnostic and Reflection




Group Discussion, Facilitation Expectations


In-Class Activity: (1.16) Media Interview



Thursday, 8/30



Chapter 1: Credibility (pp. 7-8; 14-17)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 170-177; 182-189)



Chapter Activity 1: (6.20) Revising a Message for Readability




Group 1: Ethics Facilitation


Group Discussion: (6.5) Be Specific & (6.6) Be Accurate


Tuesday, 9/4


Last day to

drop a class


Chapter 2: Interpersonal (pp. 26-36; 57-61)



Formal Project 2: (1.17) Mission Statement and Code of Conduct (Spark Page or Video)



Group 2: Ethics Facilitation


In-Class Activity: (2.3) The Personal Part of Employees*



Thursday, 9/6



Chapter 2: Interpersonal (pp. 37-56)


Chapter Activity 2: (2.10) Assess Your Emotional Intelligence and (2.13) Assess Your Active Listening Skills


Group 3: Ethics Facilitation


Group Discussion: (6.8) (Avoid Redundancy)


In-Class Activity: Emotional IQ and Active Listening Spark Video Creation*


Tuesday, 9/11



Chapter 3: Team Communication

(pp. 70-83)


Chapter Activity 3: CA (3.5) Being Friendly, Not Being Friends


Group 4: Ethics Facilitation


Peer Review Expectations


Peer Review: CA (3.5) Being Friendly, Not Being Friends


Group Discussion: (6.9) Avoiding Empty Phrases & (6.10) Avoid Wordy Prepositional Phrases


Thursday, 9/13


Chapter 3: Team Communication

(pp. 84-93)



Group 5: Ethics Facilitation


Group Meet & Greet: Culture Presentations


In-Class Activity: (3.11) Team Charter and Culture Proposals (top 3 choices)*


Tuesday, 9/18



Chapter 4: Communicating Across Cultures (pp. 100-130)



Chapter Activity 4: (4.10) Magazine Article about Global Business



Group Discussion: (6.7) Short Sentences & (6.11) Use Action Verbs

Receive Culture Assignment


In-Class Activity: (3.13) Create an Agenda for Completing Culture Research and Planning Presentation*

Thursday, 9/20



Chapter 14: Planning Presentations (pp. 444-462)


Chapter 15: Delivering Presentations (pp. 475-484)


Chapter Activity 5: (14.3) Using Stories for Presentations and (14.4) Overcoming ‘Death by Powerpoint’



Peer Review: (14.4) Overcoming ‘Death by PowerPoint’


In-Class Activity: (14.14) Create a Storyboard


Tuesday, 9/25



12: Research and Business Proposals, Reports (pp. 368-395)




Chapter Activity 6: (12.6) Developing Research Objectives (corresponds to culture project)


Group Activity: (15.3) Evaluate an Effective Presentation


Peer Review: (12.6) Developing Research Objectives (in culture teams)


Group Discussion: (6.12) Use Active Voice



Thursday, 9/27



Chapter 5: Business Messages (pp. 138-149)


Group 1: International Business Cultures


Group Discussion: (5.8) Displaying a Can-Do Confident Tone, and (5.9) Focusing on Positive Traits



Tuesday, 10/2



Chapter 5: Business Messages (pp. 150-162)


Chapter Activity 7: (5.12) Respecting Time and Autonomy of Others




Group 2: International Business Cultures


Group Activity: (5.3) Worst Words to Say At Work



Thursday, 10/4



Chapter 9: Routine Messages (pp. 268-274; 278-285)


Chapter 13: Completing Proposals and Reports (pp. 406-420)




Group 3: International Business Cultures


Group Meet & Greet: Trade Show


In-Class Activity: (9.18) Changing Vacation Policy at APECT Consulting* with peer review




Tuesday, 10/9



Chapter 9: Routine Messages (pp. 275-277; 286-289)

Chapter Activity 8: (9.4) Evaluating Routine Expectation Messages, (9.10) Evaluating Routine Apologies


Group 4: International Business Cultures


In-Class Activity: (9.13) Requesting A Letter of Recommendation*


Thursday, 10/11


Midterm & Participation Grades Posted Tomorrow


Chapter 7: Email

(pp. 200-217)


Chapter Activity 9: (7.5) Evaluating Emails (refers to figures 7.2 & 7.3)


Group Discussion: (7.4) Internet Communication Taking Over)


Group 5: International Business Cultures


Peer Review: (7.5) Evaluating Emails



Tuesday, 10/16



Chapter 7: Email (pp. 218-224)



Formal Project 3: Electronic Communication Position (Spark Page or Video)




Group Discussion: (7.10) Responding to Digital Messages and Managing Your Time


In-Class Activity: 7 Tips for Writing Killer Emails to Your Boss (Fortune)


Thursday, 10/18


Chapter 8: Social Media (pp. 230-244)  






Group 1: Formal Presentation, Trade Show


Group Discussion: (8.3) Social Media, Online Expression and Collaboration


In-Class Activity: (8.5) Social Media Use and Interpersonal Skills*


Tuesday, 10/23



Chapter 8: Social Media (pp. 244-259)


Chapter Activity 10: (8.13) Evaluate the Tweets of Business Leaders in Spark Pages



Group 2: Formal Presentation, Trade Show


Group Discussion: (8.15) Evaluating Your Online Reputation


Peer Review: (8.13) Evaluate the Tweets of Business Leaders



Thursday, 10/25


Tomorrow is the last day to drop without a final grade



Chapter 10: Persuasive Messages

(pp. 296-310)





Group 3: Formal Presentation, Trade Show


In-Class Activity: (10.18) Message Do-Over for Persuasive Message to Colleague*


Group Discussion: (10.7) Analyzing Better Horizons Promo Message


Tuesday, 10/30



Chapter 11: Bad News Messages (pp. 334-347)



Chapter Activity 11: (11.4) Analyze a Bad News Message from Microsoft


Group 4: Formal Presentation, Trade Show


In-Class Activity: (11.13) Message Do-Over Bad News Message (re: 10.18)


Peer Review: (11.14) Analyze a Bad News Message from Microsoft


Thursday, 11/1



Chapter 11: Bad News Messages

(pp. 348-358)




Group 5: Formal Presentation, Trade Show


In-Class Activity: Trade Show Presentation Reflection in Spark Pages*

Group Discussion: (11.8) Persuasion Self-Assessment

Tuesday, 11/6: Fall BREAK                              

Thursday, 11/8



Chapter 16: Employment Communications (pp. 496-502)


Chapter Activity 12: Locate an unsuccessful job ad and successful job ad and post them to Canvas Discussions.



In-class Activity: Job Ad Analyses


Tuesday, 11/13


Chapter 16: Employment Communications

(pp. 503-514)


Formal Project 4: (16.9) Job Ad Analysis of the position you plan to apply for in resume, cover letter and FP5.



In-Class Activity: Digital Portfolio Assignment Strategies



Thursday, 11/15



Chapter 16: Employment Communications

(pp. 515-523)


Chapter Activity 13: (16.11) Create a Polished Resume that relates to FP #4


In-Class Activity: (16.8) Evaluate Your Key Selling Points in Spark Video*


Peer Review: Key Selling Points



Tuesday, 11/20


  Peer Review of Chapter Activity # 13: Resume due to Canvas by the start of class
Thanksgiving Holiday

Tuesday, 11/27



Chapter 10: Persuasive Messages (pp. 311-327)


Chapter Activity 14: Cover Letter Draft Due


Peer Review: Cover Letter


In-Class Activity: (10.5) Character and Persuasion


Thursday, 11/29


Chapter 16: Employment Communications

(pp. 524-534)

Chapter Activity 15: Submit Link to FP 5 Draft by start of class Portfolio Peer Review


Sign Up for Instructor Conferences


Complete Course Evaluations

Tuesday, 12/4



Instructor Conferences: Discuss FP 5 and Get Feedback Before Final Submission

Location: Office Strode 502

Thursday, 12/6



Instructor Conferences: Discuss FP 5 and Get Feedback Before Final Submission

Location: Office Strode 502

                                                                                             Participation Grades Awarded tomorrow

Revise Based on Feedback and Submit

FP 5: Digital Portfolio with Attached, Revised Cover Letter by Friday, 12/7 @ 11:59PM