The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired

Greetings 3771 Students –

Have a look at the link below. What do you think of this assessment?

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Questions About Portfolio Assignment #5 – Persuasive Message

Hi Class,

If you have questions about the Persuasive Message assignment, please ask them here.

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Ambiguity in Assignment Language

Hi Everyone –

I’m always concerned about misrepresenting the work we are doing, so after being told that I mistakenly didn’t ask the class to complete the assignment for this week, I double-checked. The language of the assignment is as follows:

“Please read the questions below. Choose the four questions that you feel that are most relevant to your own individual experience. Write one well-developed paragraph in response to each question. The most important part of this assignment is providing thoughtful answers to the questions below. Please combine your paragraphs into one document that you have printed out for class.” (empahsis added)

Given that my other 3771 class had no trouble understanding when this assignment was due, I mistakenly assumed that it was clear, especially because in the syllabus it is listed as being due.

If it is not clear that I expect work to be completed on time and done well, now is the time and place to have a discussion about what needs are not being met as I communicate to you the importance of having your work done and handed in on time. I may need a little bit of help making that case to you, so if you have any ideas, please share them here. I’m taking them all in good faith.

Let’s get this worked out. Post your response below.

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Examples for Considering Audience in Business Writing

Locker and Kaczmarek (p. 12) give us a model for message analysis in business settings that focuses on six aspects to think about when “encoding” or “decoding” a message:







While this, like any other model, is only intended to provide a frame of reference for an analysis, and not a depiction of reality, it does focus on good things to think about composing texts in business settings.

One of these “things,” is audience.  Below are links to seven business communications texts, each one written for a radically different purpose and in a different context from the others.  As you review them, think about their intended (and perhaps even, unintended) audiences:

  1. Letter from James G. Robinson to Lindsay Lohan regarding the film, Georgia Rule.
  2. Owners’ manual for Sig Sauer Classic pistols.
  3. The new California Lottery website, including the short film, “Snowfall” (1:03).
  4. Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
  5. New York City College of Technology Student Handbook.
  6. The Conversation Prism, 2013.
  7. Enterprising Student’s Sales Poster

Who are the primary audiences for these texts? What secondary audiences exist for them? Do they have initial audiences? Gatekeepers? Watchdogs? If so, who?

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Problems Creating An Account?

Hi Class –

Several students in different sections of my courses have had trouble creating an OpenLab account.  Here is what one of the directors of OpenLab has to say about getting your account activated:

“…We’ve been seeing this issue over the last few days, and it appears to be related to the student webmail client.  This is the first semester it’s happened, and we’re working on a solution.

Most students encountering this problem have been successful if, instead of clicking the activation link in the email, they copy and paste the link into their browser.  It’s also better if they can use Firefox instead of IE. ” (emphasis mine)


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Initial Assignments Posted

Hi Class — I have posted two assignments in the Assignments Page of our OpenLab course.  The first assignment, the Self-Assessment you have already received.  The second assignment, Cultural Self-Assessment, should be downloaded and completed for class on Tuesday.  Please comment below if you have any questions.

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Revised Course Calendar

Greetings ENG 3771 Students,

I have revised the course calendar to reflect the correct dates that we meet on Wednesday evenings. I have also given some thought to the higher-than-anticipated level of interest in resume and cover letter writing that some of you have experienced. Because our schedule is inflexible at best in a once-per-week class, I’ve decided to approach this in several ways:

1) Each of you will have the option to include a resume and a cover letter as one of your portfolio documents.

2) We will address resumes and cover letters as frequently as possible in our larger discussions of “business communication.”

3) We will spend more time during the last two weeks of class (Weeks 16 and 17) to cover resumes, cover letters, and communications.

I will also be coaching you individually on your online communications with me. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Course Text On Reserve

Good news, everyone.  I have located a second copy of our course text, Business Communication (6th ed.) and placed it on reserve in the library.  Again, I sincerely believe that your best options are to either purchase the text, or to rent a digital copy.  It’s a crucial text for this class and we will be using it extensively.  The reserve copy is also available to you in 2-hour increments to check-out as necessary.

You might also want to check out alternative course text sites.  I can’t recommend any particular site, but I have found copies of the text for approximately 30% of the bookstore price.

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Welcome to 3771!

Greetings Class –

My name is Dr. Patrick Corbett, and I am excited to be your professor of English 3771 – Advanced Career Writing. During our time together, we will embark on the the most intensive study and practice of writing that you have ever experienced. The work of this course is demanding, but will provide you with immense benefits as you learn to use the written word to better accomplish your goals in the world.

I’ve included a few words about myself below to give you a better sense of how I approach teaching and writing. After you read my bio post, feel free to respond with questions or comments.


My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville. I have taught many different types of writing courses. I am also a digital literacy researcher with an interest in video games, new media, and cultural aspects of communications technologies.

Work Experience:

For six years after college, I worked in story development in the motion picture industry at Paramount Pictures and the Mutual Film Company (and a few other places). After leaving the 80-hour work weeks common in the movie business, I worked as a screen-printing apprentice in a textile factory in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (home of the weather prognosticating groundhog). While working on my Master’s degree, I did technical writing and policy research for a large HIV/AIDS treatment consortium.

I have taught writing at Clarion University, Bellarmine University, Jefferson Community and Technical College, the University of Louisville, Madison College, and Axia College of the University of Phoenix. Along the way I have worked as an independent contractor, technical writer, and writing consultant for various companies including Star Trek: Voyager, Kaplan, Inc., the William Morris Agency, and Virgin Records, Inc.

Teaching “Philosophy”:

I love, love, love talking about and teaching writing, and I look forward to working with each of you. I expect that we will learn a lot from each other. My Master’s and Ph.D. level training in teaching writing comes out of the “Constructivist” philosophy of teaching, meaning that I believe that we create our knowledge together. I have spent eight years of graduate school learning the most effective methods of teaching writing, and I try to incorporate that training and education into an engaging environment for you to make better writing.

I take my teaching responsibilities seriously, and I will invest a lot of time into making sure you receive the education you are paying for. The other side of that is this course demands your commitment to succeed and involves continuous real work. A lot of it, in fact. This work is crucial for your success as a student, and for an engaged professional life outside of school (no matter what your career). Together, we will create a stable and productive learning environment to do this work.

Your responsibility in this course is to complete the course activities and actively engage me and your peers in thought-provoking discussions. You will find me to be a respectful but challenging professor who will demand good work from you.

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