Download a Printable PDF of Your 3771 Syllabus Here!

Section 1264

Dates:  8/28/2013 to 12/23/2013


Instructor:  Dr. Patrick Corbett

Office:  Namm #520
Telephone:  (718) 260-5429

Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Thursdays, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

I will also meet you outside of these official hours at a mutually convenient time.  If more convenient, you can send me your questions (but not assignments) via email, which I check regularly.  If a response is necessary, you can expect it within 24 hours.


English 3771, Advanced Career Writing, will provide you with the opportunity to improve your ability to write business documents through applied study and critique from the professor and your peers.  You will develop the knowledge, skills, and processes necessary to develop common documents under constraints typically found in the workplace.  You will research, plan, organize, write, revise, and present documents and oral communications.

In this course, document content and format are stressed, along with audience analysis, problem-solving, and an awareness of ethical issues and the global impact of business communications. The types of documents that you will compose include, but are not limited to, business letters, memos, and short reports for various purposes, and a more lengthy collaborative research report.

Catalog Description: “An advanced composition course emphasizing writing used in business and industry.  The course will focus on business letters, memos, minutes, process papers, and reports.”

Credits:   3

Course Format:   Face-to-face with web-enhanced components.

Class Schedule and Location:

Section 1264
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Wed.)
Namm #601B

Pre-requisites:  ENG 1121 or ENG 1133

I also recommend that you possess the skills and access to the technology listed below:

  • A PC or Mac with Microsoft Word or Open Office (MS Works will not be sufficient).
  • Cloud drive storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.), or a USB flash drive (1GB or larger).
  • A stable high-speed Internet connection with the ability to hear sound and view video.
  • Moderate to high ability using a computer keyboard and mouse.
  • Basic experience with using the Internet and CUNY library resources for research.
  • Basic experience using the Blackboard and CUNY OpenLab OLSs (online learning system).
  • Access to a printer to print course materials and assignment drafts.

Textbooks:  Locker, K.O., and Kaczmarek, S.K. (2013). Business Communication:  Building Critical Skills, 6th ed. New York:  McGraw-Hill. (available in the bookstore) 

Course Competencies: The following course competencies are determined by the College.

General Competencies: You will practice the competencies listed below in this course.

  1. “An understanding of the specific nature of the task.”
  2. “An ability to write for a specific audience in an appropriate professional style.”
  3. “An understanding of the appropriate format for each presentation.”
  4. “An understanding and mastery of the conventions appropriate to each type of presentation.”
  5. “An ability to reason logically.”
  6. “An ability to distinguish among fact, inference, and judgment.”
  7. “An ability to use forms of discourse appropriate for specific assignments.”

Research Skills: The following research skills shall be demonstrated by the students when they prepare reports.

  1. “An ability to locate material from primary sources on a given subject related to their majors.  Primary sources may be observations, interviews, questionnaires, experimentation, and work experiences.”
  2. “An ability to summarize, paraphrase, and quote from sources with correct documentation and in correct form according to accepted professional conventions.  Secondary sources may be professional journals, periodicals, indices, and standard reference works related to their majors.”
  3. An ability to integrate interpretations, evaluations, and recommendations with research findings when required to do so.”

Organizational Skills:  The following organizational skills shall be demonstrated by the students when they plan and present assignments.

  1. An ability to order logically, chronologically, spatially, or according to importance.
  2. An ability to define in simple and extended patterns.
  3. An ability to classify and partition.
  4. An ability to describe devices and processes.


Student Responsibilities:  Students are expected to be familiar with CUNY and City Tech policies and procedures. Many of the important policies and procedures are in the Student Handbook on the City Tech website, located at

Additionally, you must accept full responsibility for the consequences of your words, your actions, as well as any classes and/or work that you miss.  You must come physically, emotionally, and intellectually prepared to perform under the pressures associated with a structured learning environment.  Most importantly, remember these three “golden rules” of success in writing class:

  • Respect.
  • Do not panic.
  • Never give up!

Instructor Responsibilities:  As your professor, I commit to communicating openly and frequently with you about this course.  I will maintain a professional and safe learning environment that adheres to the policies of the College.  You can expect a reply to communication, be it via e-mail, through online discussions, voicemail, or in person, within 24 hours.  If you have a problem with me, this class, or my evaluation of your performance, please speak to me directly in private to discuss your concerns.

Class participation:  Obviously, you are expected to participate.  Students who participate in the intellectual life of a course tend to learn a lot more (and earn better grades) than students who do not.  As the professor, I am responsible for creating and maintaining the conditions that facilitate your learning, but only you can actively engage those conditions.  If you are not actively participating in this class then you are wasting both your money and your time.

Attendance:  Your attendance is recorded and reported to the college according to City Tech policy. Because this course is designed as a hands-on workshop (meaning that you actually work in class) missing even one class may impair your ability to complete future assignments.  If you miss more than two classes, you will earn a WU (unintentional withdraw) for the course, which is counted as an F.

Arrive for class and be prepared to begin on time.  Late arrivals are disruptive and disrespectful to your peers.  Likewise, do not prepare to leave until you are dismissed.  Plan in advance for adverse travel conditions like traffic and weather.

New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity:  Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources.  As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity.  Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.  The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.

Submitting Work:  All work must be submitted as specified on the individual instruction sheet that you will receive for that assignment.  Depending on the assignment, this will either be on paper and in class or via Blackboard as a document file (.doc, .rtf, .docx, or .obt).  Please name your file with the assignment name, and your last name.  For example, Research Paper 1_SmithFor the sake of sanity (primarily mine), I do not accept or acknowledge work that is submitted by email.

Document Format:  In this course, we will be stressing the importance of a professional appearance for all of your documents.  The following standards apply to every document in addition to the formatting requirements specified on the assignment sheet.

  • All assignments must be composed on white, full-sized (8 ½ by 11-inch) paper.  You will need access to a computer in order to complete the required assignments for this course.
  • Use MS Word or Open Office to prepare all documents (unless directed otherwise).
  • Use appropriate margins (1-inch) for your documents.  Use a standard font of professional appearance.
  • All writing projects, even informal assignments and drafts, should have your name, date, page numbers, and a descriptive title (on a separate page if necessary).  Generic (and not very informative) titles like “Research Report” or “Assignment 5,” are not acceptable.

City Tech Email is the only email service used in this course.  I will contact you by email only via your City Tech student email account.  If you contact me by email, please do so only from your City Tech email account.  If you send an email from your personal email address, it may go directly to my spam folder.  Student e-mail can be accessed at:

Use of Electronic Devices:  Personal communication devices are ubiquitous artifacts of our age.  You are permitted to make responsible, courteous, and discrete use of them in our classroom when absolutely necessary.  Please excuse yourself to place or to take a call.  Please do not engage in texting conversations while in class.  If your use of these devices becomes disruptive to class business, I will ask you to cease.  No audio-visual recording of any kind is allowed in the classroom without an ADA accommodation or written permission from me for each occurrence.

Use of Social Media:  Please do not habitually use class time to explore or update these sites.

Blackboard:  You can access the Blackboard shell for this course by logging in to the following page:  Formal assignments must be uploaded to Blackboard for me to evaluate them.  Keep backup copies of all documents you prepare and upload.  Test all document before submitting them to Blackboard to confirm they are valid and properly formatted.

CUNY OpenLab:  Most information for this course will be available on our OpenLab course site.  You can find this online home here:  A significant part of the intellectual life of this course will happen in our online course space.

Class Cancellation:  Official closures will be announced on local public radio stations and the City Tech website.  If you are unable to safely come to campus, please stay home and notify me via your City Tech email.  Coursework is due whether we have class or not.


As your professor, I use a variety of evaluation methods for your work, including holistic rubrics, analytical rubrics, for completion, and through non-graded responses.  Graded evaluations in this course are on a points system that corresponds to letter grades.  You will receive points for each assignment that receives a grade.  The value of the total points you earn in this course will be divided by 1000 to determine your letter grade for the course.

Generally speaking, the grade of C will be awarded to work that is “average.”  You can earn a C by showing up at our class meetings and fulfill all course objectives.  The grade of B will signify work with qualities appreciably exceeding what might be expected of “average.”  An A is an honor grade, signifying outstanding quality and effort.

Late Work:  Late work dramatically disrupts the flow of the course and your ability to learn.  All assignments are due by noon on the date specified on the assignment sheet.  Participation cannot be made up.  Other assignments that are late lose 10% of their total point value for each day that they are late.  Assignments more than seven days late cannot earn credit.  I often make an exception for extraordinary circumstances, but these are at my sole discretion.

Grading Scale:

Grade % Attained Points Attained
A 93-100 930-1000
A- 90-92.9 900-929
B+ 87-89.9 870-899
B 83-86.9 830-869
B- 80-82.9 800-829
C+ 77-79.9 770-799
C 70-76.9 700-769
D 60-69.9 600-699
F 59.9-0 599-0

Assignments:  The workload of this course is significant and appropriate for an advanced college-level writing course.  Please plan your time appropriately.

For this course, you will be reading approximately two chapter modules per week (approximately 30 to 60 pages) and completing regular writing assignments that focus on the chapter topic.  You will complete five informal writing assignments that will be graded based on completion.  You will be responsible for a portfolio of eight “business letter” documents that require multiple revisions.  With a team of your peers, you will write a research-based report, which will require research, the use of expert sources, and significant revision.  You are expected to contribute regularly and substantively to our class activities and discussions.

For your formal assignments, you will receive detailed assignment sheets several weeks in advance.  At that time, you will be told how each assignment will be evaluated and what the evaluation criteria are for the assignment.

Participation:  This course adheres to the active learning principle, which demands that you, the learner, use your critical reasoning and judgment to shape the writing that I assign and evaluate.  This means that many of your assignments will be somewhat open-ended.  In order to complete them successfully must make responsible decisions based on information gained through assigned readings, attending class, and asking questions.  Therefore, it is crucial that you do the reading and ask questions to make sure that you understand the assignment and evaluation criteria.

Fair Share: A significant portion of the work that you do in this course will be in groups. I expect that you will take on an equal share of the work of your group, and that you will do so cooperatively. I also expect that you will consult with me on any group related issues. The quality of group work is graded as a whole; however, the points you receive as an individual are determined by an assessment of your contribution to the group’s success by your peers and myself. In other words, you will not receive credit for group work unless you do it.

Extra Credit:  This course does not offer extra credit.

Assignments and Assessments Points Per Activity # of Total Activities Total Points Possible (Percentage of Final Grade)
Document Portfolio 320 pts. 1 32%
Collaborative Research Paper Draft 150 pts. 1 15%
Collaborative Research Paper Revision 150 pts. 1 15%
Informal Assignments 150 pts. 5 15%
Class Participation 230 pts. ongoing 23%
Total Points 1000 (100%)


Office Hours:  During office hours, I am available to you in Namm #520 for anything course related.  Though I prefer appointments (so I can prepare for your visit), I also welcome you to drop by if you have a question or problem.  I cannot stress enough the importance of using my office hours to your success in this course.  My office hours are the place where I can work with you one-on-one and give you direct assistance where you need it the most.  Use them.

Technical Assistance:  If your technology problem is not directly related to the content of the course, I will unlikely be able to help you.  Help is available at the Student Computer Help Desk at the Information Booth on the first floor of the Namm Building.  Consultants are available by phone at (718) 260‐4900.  You can receive help online (if you are connected) at

These services are available during the following times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

If you encounter a problem, seek help immediately.  Do not wait until the last minute.

The College Learning Center:  Please consult with me when you have questions about how to do a particular assignment, or how to develop your ideas.  Many students find the tutorials and workshops of The College Learning Center to also be helpful.  The College Learning Center can be found in the Atrium of the Namm Building at AG-18.

Disability Act Statement:  City Tech complies with all provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and makes reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities.  Please contact Disability Resources Services at (718) 260-5143 for more information.  The resource office is located in the Artrium Building, Room A-237.

If you have a documented disability that requires academic accommodations, please present it to me in private so that we can discuss the accommodations that you need in this class.  It is best to request these accommodations at the beginning of the course.



This basic course outline will help you in create your schedule and properly budget your time.  Please understand that this calendar may change according to the needs of our particular class and that you will be advised on any such changes at our next meeting.  Prior to each class you will receive a more detailed synopsis of what you need to prepare for our next meeting.



In-Class Topic

Read Before Class

Due Dates











Business Communication, Management, and Success 3771 Course Syllabuspp. 2-14 Informal – Initial Self-Assessment
9/5W2 No Class
9/10W3 Messaging and Audience  pp. 20-33  
9/12W3 Communication Within Culture pp. 38-55 Informal – Cultural Self-Assessment
9/17W4 Rethinking the Writing Process pp. 59-70 Informal – Process Self-Analysis
9/19W4 Document Design pp. 73-81  
9/24W5 Writing With a “You Attitude” pp. 90-98 Draft – Document Template
9/26W5 Creating Positive Emphasis pp. 101-109  
10/1W6 Connecting to Readers pp. 112-120  
10/3W6 Letters and Memos pp. 126-141 Draft – Authority Message
10/8W7 Informative Messages pp. 143-157 Draft – Memo
10/10W7 Negative Messages pp. 164-181 Draft – Informative Message
10/15W8 Draft – Negative Message
10/17W8 Persuasive Messages pp. 187-209  
10/22W9 Writing In Teams pp. 288-321 Draft – Persuasive Message
10/24W9 Proposals and Progress Reports pp. 342-356  
10/29W10 Finding, Analyzing, and Documenting Information pp. 359-374 Draft – Research Proposal
10/31W10 Information Organization Strategies pp. 377-388 Informal – Source Report
11/5W11 Building a Report pp. 392-412  
11/7W11 Using Visuals pp. 416-425  
11/12W12 Conferences Draft – Information Visualization
11/14W12 Conferences  
11/19W13 Word Choice pp. 256-267 Collaborative Research Paper Drafts
11/21W13 Revising Sentences and Paragraphs pp. 271-283  
11/26W14 Editing for Grammar and Punctuation pp. 238-252  
11/28W14 No Class
12/3W15 Workshop Document Portfolio
12/5W15 Workshop  
12/10W16 Researching Jobs pp. 438-446  
12/12W16 Resumes and Cover Letters pp. 449-488 Collaborative Research Paper Revision
12/17W17 Digital Messages pp. 219-231 Informal – Pay It Forward
12/19W17 Final Business Class Presentations



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