ENGL 3040: Business Writing (Fall 2019)

PDF: ENGL 3040_Syllabus_Fall2019_POST


ENGL 3040: Business Writing                                            Clemson University

Section# 009 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:00A-12:15P, DAN 210                                          Fall 2019

Section# 021 Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30P-1:45P, DAN 210



INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jennifer Forsberg

EMAIL: jforsbe[at]clemson.edu

*Please email me directly, not through Canvas which delays delivery and notifications


OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays & Thursdays

9:30AM-10:30AM, Wednesdays 2:00-4:00PM,

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. The goal is to provide practical writing strategies in an effort to make your business communications both effective and efficient.



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.



You need to select the Digital Option for Peter W. Cardon’s Business Communication: Developing Leaders For A Networked World, 3rd edition

that includes access to Connect, the E-Book, and the SmartBook à


Go to the URL for your section to register for Connect. You will then be prompted to purchase access:



This course requires the use of computer technologies and digital materials inside and outside of class. You should bring your laptop to class with batteries fully charged to participate in informal activities, note taking, and to have access to the e-book. 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 hold office hours on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:30-10:30AM and on Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00PM in Strode 502. Please come by and utilize the help I am ready to offer. During busy times of the semester (near major assignments and the final weeks) I suggest that you contact me for a scheduled appointment so I can 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 need to plan accordingly if you have questions about an upcoming deadline or reading.


While I am happy to help you brainstorm via email (no attachments please), I only review drafts in person during office hours. Please plan accordingly if you would like detailed feedback in advance of our deadlines.




Grading System:

Clemson University’s grading system is described in the 2019-2020 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. Connect will import grades directly to Canvas but 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 incur a 50% deduction for each day. Assignments more than 48 hours late can earn no credit.


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. Please upload .DOC or .PDF files to Canvas for easy peer review and/or feedback. If using GoogleDocs, save as a PDF before uploading to secure your formatting.




Attendance and Participation:

To earn credit under this heading you must not only attend class at the designated times and be prepared to discuss that day’s materials, but also engage with in-class tasks, including but not limited to: grammar practice, group activities, peer reviews, and/or group discussions. In addition, you will have 3 grammar pop-quizzes throughout the term. With the exception of a grammar quiz, these points cannot be earned on days you are absent and cannot be made up except for prearranged exceptions at my discretion. Participation and peer review grades will be updated twice in the term, once at midterm and once in the final week of class.

Attendance and participation are worth 20% of your grade.


LearnSmart/SmartBook Modules via Connect

Each assigned chapter should be accessed via the SmartBook feature on Connect which helps you focus on important parts of the textbook and implements individualized study programs. You should read the chapter and work through the LearnSmart module questions before approaching assignments or practice activities. LearnSmart activities have as many attempts as necessary to achieve your desired score. LearnSmart/SmartBook = Content Delivery and Study Practice, Practice Activities= Application of Concepts, Major Assignments= Assessment.

LearnSmart Modules are worth 15% of your grade


Homework and Practice Activities via Connect and Canvas:

Connect activities and chapter assignments (Canvas) provide you the opportunity to practice skills and apply techniques related to chapter content. For Connect activities you can have as many attempts as necessary to achieve your desired score. For chapter assignments you will be building toward larger assignments and getting regular feedback to improve your writing skills. These submissions should be approached formally and with thoughtful consideration of organizational method and format structure. When required, your work should be uploaded as a .doc or .pdf for easier peer review in class and instructor feedback. While there are several tasks under this heading, Connect activities tend to be brief and your overall progress here reaffirms the content development from other areas of the course.

Homework and Practice Activities are collectively worth 20% of your grade.


Career Portfolio

The career portfolio contains revised versions of an expanded job ad analysis, a cover letter, a resume, and prepared answers to 10 potential interview questions. Each of these elements will have a prior submission wherein you will expand your analysis and get feedback for final revisions, including a Mock Interview Activity wherein you will get the opportunity to brainstorm answers to potential interview questions. Please submit the final portfolio of revised materials as a single file containing all required parts.

The Career Portfolio is worth 15% of your grade.


Multimedia Proposal

Since not all writing occurs in a traditional sense, this task requires you to utilize Adobe Spark (Video or Pages) or another Multimedia platform of your choosing to create a proposal. The proposal should be formal but attend to a general audience (administration, faculty, students and the community at large), and identify a product or service that could/should be brought to Clemson University. Include effective multimedia elements (visuals, audio, video) as well as adequate persuasive content (data, figures, research) to fully articulate your proposal and rationale without speaking or presentation accompaniment.

The Multimedia Proposal is worth 5% of your grade.


Group Report and Presentation

This group task draws from the multimedia proposal by selecting 1 group member’s proposed product/service and developing a full, researched report including data to support conclusions and recommendations for implementation. The audience for this report is more specialized, and should be directed at either Clemson’s directors or the company’s directors (but not both). The report should follow the slide-deck format (see pp. 432) and include: a title page, an executive summary, an introduction, data and analysis of data, a recommendations, and an accurate works cited. You should draw on a minimum of 4 sources in your research. In addition to the report, you will prepare and deliver a 6 minute presentation of your findings to the class wherein you should create modified slides appropriate for both an audience of colleagues and for overhead projection.

The Group Report and Presentation is worth 10% of your grade.


Message Portfolio

The Message Portfolio includes 5 documents: revised versions of your bad news message (11.13), routine policy message (9.18), and a revised memo version of a recommendations from (5.13). You will also create new compositions for a message providing directions (9.19) and a persuasive message (10.18). Design at least 2 for electronic delivery and 2 for hard copy (formal with letterhead). Please submit the final portfolio of revised materials as a single file containing all required parts.

The Message Portfolio is worth 15% of your grade




Course Schedule

This schedule is subject to change. I will notify you in advance via Canvas if it does.


Important Dates to Note:

August 27th: Last day to add a class

August 29th: E-Learning Day; all classes meet online

September 3rd: Last day to drop without a W

October 15th: Fall Break

October 29th: Last day to drop without a final grade

November 28th: Thanksgiving Holiday


Date Admin Notes What To Read For

Class Session                                       

Activities to Submit

By the start of class

Thursday, 8/22


Introduction to class, digital textbook and Connect components, schedule and policies


Group Activity: Meet and Greet


Tuesday, 8/27


                                                                              Tomorrow is the last day to add a class Chapter 1: Credibility

(pp. 2-17)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 170-174)

Click and Drag: Credibility as a Communicator (Connect)


Video Case: Credibility for a Young Manager (Connect)




Thursday, 8/29


E-Learning Day: No classroom instruction


All classes

held online



Chapter 2: Interpersonal (pp. 26-44)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 175-179)


Ch 1 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Video Case: The Interpersonal Communication Process in a Charged Negotiation (Connect)


Book Exercise (2.3) The Personal Part of Employees, p. 64 (Canvas)


*Today’s deadlines are pushed to the end of class period to allow for e-learning during scheduled meeting time



Tuesday, 9/3


Today is the last day to drop a class without a W


Chapter 2: Interpersonal (pp. 44-60)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 180-185)


Click and Drag: Behaviors Associated with Emotional Intelligence (Connect)


Self-Assessment SA 2.1: Listening Self-Assessment (Connect)


Thursday, 9/5


Chapter 10: Persuasive Messages

(pp. 296-310)


Chapter 6: Readability (pp. 185-189)


Ch 2 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Book Exercise (10.12): Creating a Message to Promote Joining a Student Club, p. 331(Canvas)


Tuesday, 9/10


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



Click and Drag: Methods of Influence (Connect)


Click and Drag: Getting the Tone Right for Persuasive Messages (Connect)



Thursday, 9/12


Chapter 16: Employment Communications (pp. 496-514) Ch 10 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Post a job ad of interest and identify 5 key things that make it appealing (Canvas Discussions)


Tuesday, 9/17


  Chapter 16: Employment Communications

(pp. 515-524)


Case Analysis: Identifying Key Selling Points (Connect)


Submit a draft of your resume (Canvas)


Thursday, 9/19


Chapter 16: Employment Communications

(pp. 524-534)




Submit a draft of your cover letter (per the job ad posted 9/12)(Canvas)


Video Case: Talking About Strengths and Weaknesses: Interview 2 (Connect)




Tuesday, 9/24


Mock Interviews (In-class)


Submit Mock Interview Preparations

(5 questions and a brief explanation of what you are looking for in the answers) (Canvas)


Ch 16 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)



Thursday, 9/26


Chapter 3: Team Communication

(pp. 70-93)

Click and Drag: Principles of High-Performing Teams (Connect)


Click and Drag: Principles of Running Effective Meetings (Connect)


Career Portfolio Due (Canvas)



Tuesday, 10/1


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


Ch 3 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Video Case: Demonstrating Cultural Intelligence (Connect)


Click and Drag: Gender and Communication (Connect)



Thursday, 10/3


Chapter 8: Social Media (pp. 230-244) Ch 4 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)




Tuesday, 10/8


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



Book Exercise (8.13) Evaluate the Tweets of Business Leaders in Adobe Spark (Pages or Video) p. 263 (Canvas)


Thursday, 10/10


Midterm Grades Posted Tomorrow Chapter 7: Email

(pp. 200-217)

Ch 8 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)                      


Click and Drag: Responding to Unpleasant Electronic Communications (Connect)


FALL BREAK: NO CLASSES on 10/14 & 10/15



Thursday, 10/17


  Chapter 7: Email (pp. 218-224)


Case Analysis Evaluating an Email (Connect)


Self-Assessment 7.1 Self-Assessment for

Email Practices (Connect)

Tuesday, 10/22


  12: Research and Business Proposals, Reports (pp. 368-385)


Meet with Groups for next assignment

Ch 7 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Case Analysis: Evaluating Charts for a Presentation


Multimedia Proposal Due (Canvas)


Thursday, 10/24


  12: Research and Business Proposals, Reports (pp. 386-397)




Click and Drag: Evaluating Data Quality (Connect)


Click and Drag: Determining Data Quality (Connect)


Tuesday, 10/29


Today is the last day to drop without a final grade Chapter 13: Completing Proposals and Reports (pp. 406-420) Ch 12 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Case Analysis: Ensuring Recommendations are Specific, Actionable, and Justified (Connect)


Click and Drag: Ensuring Recommendations are Specific, Actionable, and Justified (Connect)


Thursday, 10/31



Group Work Day: Meet with Your Groups on Campus (No Classroom Instruction)



Ch 13 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)

Tuesday, 11/5


Group Presentation Day                   Provide Peer Feedback In Class

Thursday, 11/7


Chapter 5: Business Messages (pp. 138-149) Group Report Due (Canvas)


Click and Drag: Using You-Voice, We-Voice, I-Voice, and Impersonal Voice (Connect)



Tuesday, 11/12


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



Click and Drag: Applying Positive Writing Style (Connect)


Book Exercise (5.13): Idea Development by Organizing Facts into Conclusions and Recommendations p. 166 (Canvas)


Thursday, 11/14


  Chapter 9: Routine Messages (pp. 268-277)





Ch 5 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Click and Drag: Making Apologies (Connect)



Tuesday, 11/19



Chapter 9: Routine Messages (pp. 278-289)




Case Analysis: Evaluating a Routine Email (Connect)


Book Exercise (9.18) Changing Vacation

Policy at APECT Consulting, pp. 292-3 (Canvas)

Thursday, 11/21 Course Evaluations (Canvas) Chapter 11: Bad News Messages (pp. 334-347)


Ch 9 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)


Click and Drag: Creating a Bad News Message (Connect)


Click and Drag: Identifying Components of a Bad News Message (Connect)

Tuesday, 11/26


  Chapter 11: Bad News Messages

(pp. 348-358)

Video Case: Delivering and Receiving Negative Feedback (Connect)


Book Exercise (11.13) Message Do-Over for Bad News Message, p. 363 (Canvas)




11/28: Thanksgiving Holiday, Campus Closed


Tuesday, 12/3


  Portfolio Peer Review

(in-class, Canvas)


Portfolio Draft Due(Canvas)


Ch 11 LearnSmart Module Due (Connect)



Thursday, 12/5



Instructor Conferences: Attend only at your scheduled time to receive feedback on your portfolio draft, progress in the course



Submit Message Portfolio (Canvas) by Friday 12/6 @ 11:59PM