Fragonard. Billet doux (1770s)
Course Information

Course objectives
Textbooks
Grading plan
Policies
Gradebook
Class notes
Class e-mail
Resources
Chatroom

Week of:

January 10
January 17
January 24
January 31
February 7
February 14
February 21
February 28
March 7
March 21
March 28
April 4
April 11
April 18
April 25
May 2

In Government & Business Correspondence (ETWR 1373), focuses on business correspondence delivered through common media (business letters, memos, e-mail, and reports), across organizational hierarchies (work associates at lower, same, and higher organizational levels), and based in typical situations (good news, bad news, policy and schedule changes, information requests, reprimands, rationales, denials, and other tricky business-communication situations). Emphasizes clear, tactful, succinct, direct, well-structured writing that gets the job done.

See the Course Calendar for a calendar-style view of semester due dates.

Note: This is a new course and a new book. Therefore, we just can't be certain of the timings. The essential part of this course corresponds to Chapter 8 through 11 of the textbook. Below, you'll notice quite a few projects listed in relation to these chapters. Our plan will be to select a few to group-write during class times and have you select one of each type to write outside of class. That's the plan anyway . . .

Instructor David A. McMurrey
Class meetings Mon/Wed 12:00-1:15 pm
Office Northridge 4225
Office hours Mon/Wed. 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and by apptmt. (Always call before driving all the way out to Northridge Campus.)
Phone 512-223-4804
E-mail hcexres@prismnet.com

Week of January 10

Getting organized. In our first class meeting, we'll discuss the schedule, policies, objectives, and requirements for this course. Let's find out whether we want to cover reports, proposals, and oral presentations. It's your class, but my inclination is not. I'll ask you to fill out an online questionnaire and write a brief get-acquainted memo that will be posted on our course website so we can all get know each other!

Readings ——
Activities
Fill out the questionnaire due Jan. 11
Write the get-acquainted memo
See the get-acquainted memos
due Jan. 11
Set up your open journal. To see what we all think on the issues
covered in this course, create and keep notes in an open journal.
Your open journal, like a blog, will be open to others in this
course—but only to those of us in this course.
due Jan. 13
Take the Grammar and Mechanics Diagnostic Test due Jan. 13

Introduction to business correspondence. Let's see what Mary Ellen Guffey thinks about the importance of business communications skills in careers and in the workplace in general, about the new workplace, about the communication process and barriers to it, and about communicating in organizations.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 1, "Communicating at Work"
Your Communication Style: Questionnaire (More at www.meguffey.com, page 13)
Out-of-class
Chapter 1 quiz due Jan. 12

Take notes and discuss questions on the following in your open journal. As for the items on communication style and skills—be honest!
1.1 Information Overload: Dangerous to Employees?
1.2 Communication at Work: How Do You Stack Up?
1.4 Getting to Know You
1.9 Workplace Writing: Separating Myths from Facts
1.13 Workplace Ethics: Where Do You Stand?


due Jan. 16
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

1.10 Document Analysis: Barriers to Communication
1.12 Communication Process: Avoiding Misunderstanding
CLUE Review 1

Week of January 17

During the week of January 17 when there is no class January 17 and when I am out of town January 19, here's what to do:
  1. Read my summaries of chapters 2, 3, and 4 in the Guffey book. (These summaries are provided in links below.)
  2. Take the quizzes for these three chapters, and send me e-mail about which items you missed. (Don't worry about low scores!)
  3. Do the three CLUE reviews (chapters 2, 3, and 4).
  4. Study the Problem International Letter in Guffey 4.9, and describe the problems you find in it.

I hope this will keep you busy until I see you again, January 24. — David

Communicating in teams. This week let's dig into Guffey's discussion of groups and teams and the nature of communication within them.

I acknowledge this this week may be a lot of work, but we need to push to get to the units where we start writing letters, memos, and e-mail.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 2, "Communicating in Small Groups and Teams"
Chapter 2 Summary
Out-of-class
Chapter 2 quiz
due Jan. 17

Enter your notes and thoughts about the following in your open journal:

2.7 Teamwork: Moving from "Me" to "We" Thinking
2.14 Making Meetings Count
due Jan. 23
In-class CLUE Review 2

Workplace listening and nonverbal communication. Is anybody listening . . . ?

Readings Guffey, Chapter 3, "Workplace Listening and Nonverbal Communication"
How to Decipher Body Language (More at www.meguffey.com, page 79)
Chapter 3 Summary
Out-of-class
Chapter 3 quiz
due Jan. 19


Enter your thoughts about the following in your open journal; and tell us how you scored on the quiz (be honest!):

3.4 How Good Are your Listening Skills? Self-Checked Rating Quiz
3.19 Defining "Business Casual"
3.18 Backlash Against Business Casual Dress
due Jan. 23

In-class CLUE Review 3

Cross-cultural communication. Stop being such a creepy pushy North Americans and be nice to the peoples of the world!

Readings International Business Etiquette and Culture (More at www.meguffey.com, page 109)
Guffey, Chapter 4, "Communicating Across Cultures"
Chapter 4 Summary
Out-of-class
Chapter 4 quiz
due Jan. 19
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

4.9 Analyzing a Problem International Letter
CLUE Review 4

Projects
Guffey revisions (Documents for analysis 4.9, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3. due Feb. 7
Week of January 24

Planning business communications. In this unit, take a look at how Guffey thinks we should prepare to write business messages.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 5, "Preparing to Write Business Messages"
Tutorial on Plain Language (More at www.meguffey.com, page 144)
Out-of-class
Chapter 5 quiz due Jan. 24

Enter your thoughts about the following in your open journal:

5.2 Selecting Communication Channels
5.11 Instant Messaging: Valid Business Channel
due Jan. 30
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

5.4 Reader Benefits and the "You" View
5.5 Language Bias
5.6 Positive Expression
5.7 Courteous Expression
5.8 Familiar Words
5.1 Document for Analysis
CLUE Review 5
Business-letter revision

Projects
Guffey revisions (Documents for analysis 4.9, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3. due Feb. 7

Organizing and writing business messages. Now let's see if Mary Ellen Guffey can help us with the drafting of business letters, memos, and e-mail.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 6, "Organizing and Writing Business Messages"
Outlining techniques, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 160)
Jumpstarting your writing, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 166)
Out-of-class
Chapter 6 quiz
due Jan. 24
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

6.7 Outlining
6.10 Sentence Length
6.11 Active and Passive Voice
6.12 Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers
6.13 Transitional Expressions
6.14 Paragraph Organization
6.1 Document for Analysis
CLUE Review 6

Projects
Guffey revisions (Documents for analysis 4.9, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3. due Feb. 7

Finalizing business messages. Let's take a look at the third phase of developing business messages, as presented by Mary Ellen Guffey.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 7, "Revising Business Messages"
Importance of proofreading, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 195)
Out-of-class
Chapter 7 quiz
due Jan. 24

Take notes in your open journal on the following that really seemed useful or interesting to you (if any):

Proofreading
7.5 Making You a Better Writer
due Jan. 23
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

7.3 Computing Fog Index
7.8 Clarity
7.10 Conciseness
7.11 Vigor
7.12 Parallelism
7.13 Highlighting
7.14 Proofreading
7.1 Document for Analysis
7.2 Document for Analysis
7.3 Document for Analysis
CLUE Review 7

Projects
Guffey revisions (Documents for analysis 4.9, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3. due Feb. 7

Week of January 31

Routine e-mail and memos. Practice using business correspondence to provide information, explain procedures, reply to requests, and confirm receipt of information.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 8, "Routine E-Mail Messages and Memos"
Importance of memos, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 208)
Out-of-class
Chapter 8 quiz
due Jan. 31

Enter your thoughts about the following in your open journal:

Career importance of memos due Feb. 14
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

8.1 Openers for E-Mail and Memos
8.2 Subject lines for E-Mail and Memos
8.3 Graphic Highlighting Techniques for E-Mail and Memos
8.4 Document for Analysis: Information E-Mail
8.5 Document for Analysis: Request Memo
8.6 Document for Analysis: Confirmation E-Mail
CLUE Review 8

Projects Choose the most interesting and challenging of these types: information e-mail/memo, procedure memo, request memo, reply memo/e-mail, and confirmation memo. You are welcome to use similar business-correspondence projects at your work.

8.7 Information E-Mail: Incentives for Trip Reduction
8.10 Reply Memo or E-Mail: One Sick Day Too Many
8.11 Information Memo: Retirement Questions
8.12 Information Memo or E-Mail: Wilderness Retreat
8.14 Information Memo or E-Mail: Sweet Rewards
8.15 Procedure Memo: Ticket-Free Parking
8.16 Procedure Memo: Countdown to Performance Appraisal Deadline
8.17 Procedure Memo: Hot Calls in August
8.19 Request Memo: Protecting the CEO from Prying Eyes
8.20 Request Memo or E-Mail: Smokers vs. Nonsmokers
8.21 Reply Memo or E-Mail: Enforcing the Smoking Ban
8.23 Reply Memo: Rescheduling Interviews
8.24 Request Memo or E-Mail: Dress-Down Day for US?
8.27 Reply Memo: What Is This USPS Electronic Postmark?
8.28 Confirmation Memo or E-Mail: Looking Over the Employee's Shoulder
8.30 Confirmation Memo: Verifying a Job Severance Package
5 memos or e-mails due Feb. 23

Week of February 7

Routine e-mail and memos — continued. Let's keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Routine-message set (5 memos or e-mails) due Feb. 23

Week of February 14

Routine e-mail and memos — continued. Keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Routine-message set (5 memos or e-mails) due Feb. 23

Week of Feb. 21

Routine letters and goodwill messages. Practice requesting information, making claims, replying to claims, and maybe even recommending people.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 9, "Routine Letters and Goodwill Messages"
Out-of-class
due Feb. 21
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

9.1 Direct Openings for Routine Letters
9.2 Subject Lines Routine Letters
9.5 Document for Analysis: Claim Request
9.6 Document for Analysis: Favorable Adjustment
9.13 Order Letter: Camera Jumble (analysis)
9.22 Direct Reply: Scannable Resumes (analysis)
CLUE Review 9

Projects Choose the most interesting and challenging of these types: information request, direct claim, direct reply, and claim response. You are welcome to use similar business-correspondence projects at your work.

9.7 Information Request: Touring Europe on a Shoestring
9.8 Information Request: Reducing Junk Mail
9.9 Information Request: Las Vegas Meeting at Mandalay Bay
9.11 Information Request: Backpacking Cuisine
9.12 Information Request: Online Microbrewery
9.15 Direct Claim: Free Samples Are Surprisingly Costly
9.16 Direct Claim: Deep Desk Disappointment
9.17 Direct Claim: Earth First Runs Dry
9.18 Direct Claim: Undersized French Doors
9.21 Direct Reply: McDonald's Goes Green
9.23 Direct Reply: Tell Me about Your Major
9.24 Direct Reply: Backpacking Cuisine
9.25 Direct Reply: MicroBeer Online
9.26 Direct Reply: Bank's Privacy Policy
9.28 Letter of Recommendation: Recommending Yourself
9.30 Claim Response: Undersized French Doors
9.31 Claim Response: Pigeon Poisoning Must Stop
9.32 Claim Response: Deep Desk Disappointment
9.33 Claim Response: Earth First Runs Dry
4 letters, memos or e-mails due Mar. 23

Week of February 28

Routine/goodwill messages — continued. Let's keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Routine/goodwill-message set (4 letters, memos or e-mails) due Mar. 23

Week of March 7

Routine/goodwill messages. — continued. Keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Routine/goodwill-message set (4 letters, memos or e-mails) due Mar. 23

Week of March 21

Persuasive and sales messages. Examine what Mary Ellen Guffey has to say about business correspondence that is essentially persuasive. In class, let's decide whether we want to address sales letters—either in terms of concepts or projects.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 10, "Persuasive and Sales Messages"
Writing letters to the editor, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 285)
Writing press releases, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 307)
Out-of-class
due Mar. 21
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

10.1 Document for Analysis: Weak Persuasive Invitation
10.2 Document for Analysis: Weak Persuasive Memo
10.3 Document for Analysis: Weak Adjustment Request
CLUE Review 10

Projects Choose the most interesting and challenging of these types: persuasive favor/action request, persuasive internal memo (or persuasive internal request), claim request, news release. You are welcome to use similar business-correspondence projects at your work.

10.5 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Paying Your Tuition
10.6 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Celebrity Auction
10.7 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Inviting the Diva of Retail
10.8 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Cultivating an Internship
10.9 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Dining Gratuity Guidelines
10.10 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Asking Congressional Representative to Listen and Act
10.11 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: How to Spend $5 Million
10.12 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Solving the Problem of Chaotic Service Lines at McDonald's
10.13 Persuasive Favor/Action Request: Improving Security at World Gym
10.14 Persuasive Internal Memo or E-Mail: We Need a Change
10.15 Persuasive Internal Memo or E-Mail: Dallas Cowboys Need Better Grass
10.16 Persuasive Internal Request: Overusing Overnight Shipments
10.17 Persuasive Internal Request: Supporting Project H.E.L.P.
10.18 Persuasive Internal Request: Scheduling Meetings More Strategically
10.19 Persuasive Internal Request: Rapid Reviews Land Top Recruits
10.20 Persuasive Internal Request: Training Telecommuters
10.21 Claim Request: Excessive Attorney Fees
10.22 Claim Request: Kodak Ruins His Round-the-World Trip
10.23 Claim Request: Outrageous Charge for Pancake Breakfast
10.28 News Release: Vintage Nikes Wanted in Japan
10.29 News Release: EarthShell Wants You
10.30 News Release: It's New!
Sick News Release: New Academic Program
News Release Revised: New Academic Program
4 letters, memos or e-mails due Apr. 13

Week of March 28

Persuasive messages — continued. Let's keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Persuasive-message set (4 letters, memos or e-mails) due Apr. 13

Week of April 4

Persuasive messages. — continued. Keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Persuasive-message set (4 letters, memos or e-mails) due Apr. 13

Week of April 11

Negative messages. Let's learn how to say "no"—specifically, refusing requests and claims and handling disappointed customers and employees.

Readings Guffey, Chapter 11, "Negative Messages"
Bad news from the government, (More at www.meguffey.com, page 323)
Out-of-class
due Apr. 11
In-class We'll select and do as many of these as we can in class and decide about the rest:

11.1 Organizational Patterns
11.2 Passive Voice Verbs
11.3 Subordinating Bad News
11.4 Implying Bad News
11.5 Evaluating Bad-News Statements
11.7 Document for Analysis: Request Refusal
11.8 Bad News for Customers
11.9 Saying No to a Job Applicant
11.27 Claim Denial: Depressed Mattress (analysis)
11.30 Credit Denial: Godmother Wants to Cater (analysis)
CLUE Review 11

Projects Choose the most interesting and challenging of these types: request refusal, damage control (or problem with customer order), claim denial, credit refusal, employee bad news. You are welcome to use similar business-correspondence projects at your work.

11.10 Request Refusal: Too Much to Ask
11.11 Request Refusal: Saying No to Under-21 Crowd on Carnival Cruises
11.12 Request Refusal: Mountain Bike Race Regrets
11.13 Request Refusal: Getting Rid of Noisy Tenant
11.14 Request Refusal: Rock Band Banned for Violating Sound Limits
11.15 Request Refusal: Canceling Free trip to Europe
11.16 Request Refusal: Declining Returned Books
11.17 Request Refusal: Dallas Cowboys Owner turns Down New Artificial Turf
11.18 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: J. Crew Goofs on Cashmere Turtleneck
11.19 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: No Credit in Paris
11.20 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: Telephone Company Makes Giant Boo-Boo
11.21 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: Million-Dollar Upgrade Falls Short
11.22 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: Virus Infects Rocket Launcher
11.23 Damage Control for Disappointed Customers: A Mess with King Fisher and Pick Pocket
11.24 Problem with Customer Order: The StairClimber of the LifeStep?
11.25 Claim Denial: Kodak Refuses Customer's Request to Repeat World Trip
11.26 Claim Denial: Please Replace My MP3 Player
11.28 Claim Denial: Long, Hot Summer
11.29 Credit Refusal: The Sports Connection
11.31 Credit Refusal: No Credit for Cordless Phones
11.32 Employee Bad News: Strikeout for Expanded Office Teams
11.33 Employee Bad News: Refusing Christmas
5 letters, memos or e-mails due May 2

Week of April 18

Negative messages. — continued. Let's keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Negative-message set (5 letters, memos or e-mails) due May 2

Week of April 25

Negative messages. — continued. Keep working on what we started last week.

Readings Continued from last week
Out-of-class Continued from last week
In-class Continued from last week
Projects
Negative-message set (5 letters, memos or e-mails) due May 2

Week of May 2

Business reports and proposals. While your poor weary instructor reviews your final set of memos, e-mail and letters and then calculates your final grade, read Mary Ellen Guffey's chapters on business reports and proposals. Don't want to waste good textbook, do you?

Readings Guffey, Chapter 12, "Preparing to Write Reports"
Guffey, Chapter 13, "Organizing and Writing Typical Business Reports"
Guffey, Chapter 14, "Proposals and Formal Reports"
Out-of-class
CLUE Review 12
CLUE Review 13
CLUE Review 14
due May 4
In-class No formal classroom sessions