Government and Business Correspondence: Course Overview

This online course focuses on business/government letters, memos, e-mail, and reports. the correspondence that is delivered through common media, across organizational hierarchies (including work associates at the lower, same, and higher organizational levels), as well as correspondence based in typical situations (such as good news, bad news, policy and schedule changes, information requests, reprimands, rationales, denials, and other tricky communication situations). ETWR 1373 emphasizes clear, tactful, succinct, direct, well-structured writing that gets the job done and that makes every word count.

Government and Business Correspondence: Course Objectives

Successful completion of ETWR 1373 requires

  • Analyzing correspondence situations effectively, especially in terms of organization hierarchy
  • Formatting letters, memos, and e-mails properly
  • Applying appropriate strategies for difficult rhetorical situations in business/government correspondence
  • Managing tone in correspondence—carefully, tactfully, and effectively
  • Using proper content, organizational, and filing strategies for e-mail
  • Demonstrating awareness of the special problems involving e-mail
  • Applying the principles of good writing and document design in business/government correspondence
  • Meeting reading, assignment, and other coursework deadlines on time


Eighth Edition of Guffey and Loewy.s Business Communication: Process & Product. "With Access," which provides Premium Online Resources, will not be required for this semester.


Your final grade is calculated as follows:

Category Points
Journals (14) 21
Grammar reviews (11) 11
Quizzes (11) 11
Writing projects (11) 33
Final project (1) 24

In this course, you receive a grade of A, B, C, D, or F. For the meaning of these letter grades:

A-Level The document fully and skillfully fulfills the objectives of the assignment, is properly formatted, and is relatively free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. The project is complexly crafted and builds on several appropriate textbook activities and ideas; also shows inventive critical thinking related to the topic and/or reading assignments.
B-Level The document fulfills the objectives of the assignment, is properly formatted, and has some grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. The project is competently crafted and builds on some appropriate textbook activities and ideas; also shows critical thinking related to the topic and/or reading assignments.
C-Level The document fulfills most objectives of the assignment and may be well formatted but contains several. The project is reasonably full but builds on too few textbook ideas and activities.
D-Level The document fulfills some of the objectives of the assignment but needs improvement in style, organization, development, and/or grammar/spelling/punctuation. The project is reasonably full but is unclear/ungrammatical.
F-Level The document does not fulfill the assignment's objectives. The project is minimal or is unclear/ungrammatical.

Because ETWR 1373 is a 12-week class that meets from 2/13 through 5/14, you must dedicate at least 12 hours each week, for assigned coursework.

Other Course Details & Policies

  • Word-processing software. Use any text-editing or word-processing software you prefer. If you're looking for suitable free software, I suggest
  • Work load. Be forewarned that this is a writing-intensive course; assignments are due every two weeks in the 16-week semesters, almost every week in the 11- and 12-week semesters, and sometimes two in a week in 6-week summer semesters.
  • Sending assignments. Send your files by e-mail attachment to me—do not use Blackboard.

    Note: When I receive your files, you get automatic e-mail confirmation. If not, contact me. It is your responsibility to ensure that I receive readable, usable files.
  • Reviews. I will review, comment on, grade your assignments in the actual documents you send, and then send them back to you by e-mail.
  • Revisions. You will be able to revise any of your documents for a higher grade, but be careful not to throw some words into a file and send to me. Also, be careful to address every comment or red highlight I make. Allowing for revisions of all documents causes people to rely upon the instructor as editor when they themselves should learn to revise and correct their writing on their own. Address all my comments. If you don't agree or understand some of them, address that in the document. If I see unaddressed comments, I'll get mad and stop reviewing.
  • Online quizzes. Many of the chapters have "reading quizzes," which you use to test your understanding of what you've just read. If you don't do well on a writing project, I'll check the dates on the related quizzes. Look out!
  • Assignments: There are no optional assignments in this course. Everything counts. Furthermore, reading quizzes assignments must be done on time, or it will show in your related assignments.
  • Withdrawals & incompletes. If you fall behind in the course and miss more than two consecutive assignments, I may withdraw you from the class (but don't count on it).
  • Late papers: I will accept a late written assignment—with a penalty of one letter per day. If you know that a paper is going to be late and have a reason for the lateness, don't remain silent about it. Tell me in advance and I will consider what accommodation to make.
  • Plagiarism: The extensive use of secondary sources is expected in this course. Indeed, it is required. However, you must be very careful not to misuse sources. The general rule is: If you are conscious of borrowing material, whether you are quoting actual words or not, you must cite the source of the material. We will be studying how to document sourses in accord with a number of different style guides.APA, MLA, IEEE, and maybe the Chicago Manual. We will also have an exercise during the course on identifying the types of plagiarism. The penalty for plagiarism: If you plagiarize once and I detect it, the course is over for you; I will give you an F and report your scholastic dishonesty to the ACC authorities.
  • Style & format requirements. In this course, we care about producing professional-looking documents. Therefore, assignments will typically have precise style and format requirements. You'll be asked to use a specific format for numbered and bulleted lists, headings, graphics, cross-references, citation of borrowed information, notices (like cautions, warnings, or dangers), and so on.
  • Final report: topic and preliminary draft. Toward the beginning of the semester, you write a proposal in which you propose to write a technical report for a real or realistic audience and situation. Your technical report described in the proposal must match the technical report you hand in. You are strongly encouraged to send a preliminary draft of your report so that I can give you some general ideas on how it is shaping up.
  • Audience requirement. In writing assignments for this course, write for the nonspecialist audience. This is more interesting and challenging for everybody concerned. If this is a problem, contact me.

General ACC Policies

Austin Community College policies for Academic Freedom, Scholastic Dishonesty, Student Discipline, and Students with Disabilities are as follows:

  1. Academic Freedom Statement: Each student is strongly encouraged to participate in class. In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. These differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor. It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.
  2. Scholastic Dishonesty Statement: Acts prohibited by the College for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework. (See "Student Discipline Policy" in the current version of the Student Handbook). Penalties for scholastic dishonesty will depend upon the nature of the violation and may range from lowering a grade on one assignment to an F in the course and/or expulsion from this institution. See also plagiarism, above.
  3. Student Discipline Statement: Classroom behavior should support and enhance learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being withdrawn from the class. ACC's policy on student discipline can be found in "Student Discipline Policy" in the current version of the Student Handbook.
  4. Students with Disabilities Statement: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester. (See "Students with Disabilities" in the current version of the Student Handbook.)

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