ENGL 2105 : Workplace-Based Writing and Research

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Example Syllabus

 

Professor: Dr. George Pullman
gpullman@gsu.edu
404-413-5858
25 Park Place, # 2424

 

Prerequisites

A grade of C or better in English 1101 and 1102.

Introduction

To contribute significantly to a business, not-for-profit organization, government or non-government organization, or corporation you have to be able to think clearly, communicate effectively, and make valuable decisions in a world where certainty is often a sign of arrogance or bias. You have to be able to think your way through a maze of data, contradictory opinions, impulsive beliefs, partial truths, and temporary realities. You also have to guide other people through the maze. This class will show you how to approach complex communication situations in a methodical way, emphasizing the collection and evaluation of qualitative data as preparation for communicating effectively with others. 

Critical thinkers define their terms before they use them.  Critical thinking in general is about asking the right questions, seeking answers in a methodical fashion (research), and questioning the results of the research to make sure we have correctly answered our questions and that we asked the right questions to begin with. We also need to factor in context and change. Once we have our answers, we need to accurately infer what course of action to pursue based on the answers we have and the confidence we have in them. If you can navigate the maze, you can think critically. If you can think critically in different settings and effectively communicate your thinking to relevant others, you are an asset and not just an employee. 

Critical thinking in essence:

What problem are you solving, for whom, for what benefit (to them), at what cost (mostly to you) and at what profit (to you).

Outcomes

Write with clarity and brevity

Think critically (summarizes, synthesizes, avoids biases, unwarranted assumptions)

Create effective personae (empathize and characterize without caricature or stereotype)

Create effective questionnaires (can design an unbiased, useful, information gathering instrument)

Visualize data

Understand social networking

Assignments

1)  weekly prose revision exercises -- a set of before and after examples demonstrating the ability to edit for clarity and brevity

20% of final grade

2) personae (picture, description of values, goals, attitudes, behaviors, context, primary setting)

20% of final grade

3) questionnaire (design an effective instrument for determining what a group thinks about something)

a.     basic statistics and probability -- validity, reliability, accuracy, precision, representative sample, standard deviations, skews, cherry picking, misleading scales, odds

                                               i.     (how not to get dazzled by numbers)

15% of final grade

4) data visualization exercises (using given datasets, design the most effective charts, graphs, or tables.

15 % of final grade

5) Give an effective PowerPoint/Keynote presentation

15% of final grade

6) Add significantly to the LinkedIn profile you created in your intro to business class

 

15% of final grade

 

Assessment

Specific criteria will be discussed in class for each assignment prior to the due date. All three of these concepts will be evaluated by examining a portfolio of work for each assignment (including a reflective essay and revisions). Grades will be assigned on the entire portfolio or project, not on each individual piece. Your instructor will discuss portfolio contents before each assignment is due.

The letter scale and quality points used for major assignments are below.

A+             4.3                             C+             2.3

A               4.0                             C               2.0

A-              3.7                             C-              1.7

B+             3.3                             D               1.0

B               3.0                             F                0

B-              2.7          

 

 

Texts

Digital content created, curated, and maintained by the instructors. Cost, $10 dollars per student. The money will support instructors giving presentations at relevant conferences.

 

Policies

According to the GSU student handbook

Your professor expects you to:

       Be informed about instructors' policies, which are presented in the course syllabus, as well as the policies of the Georgia State University on-campus Student Handbook.

       Attend all classes, except when emergencies arise. If health and weather allow, your instructor will be present and on time for every scheduled class meeting. You should be, too.

       Be an active participant in class, taking notes and asking appropriate questions. Your involvement will benefit you and your classmates.

       Treat the instructor and fellow students with courtesy. Refrain from any behaviors that may distract others. You expect to be treated with tolerance and respect and to enjoy a learning environment free of unnecessary distractions. Your classmates deserve the same.

       Cultivate effective study strategies. Being an effective student is not instinctive. Use your study time wisely, seek help from the instructor when you need it, and avail yourself of resources provided by the university.

       Study course material routinely after each meeting. Stick to a regular study schedule and avoid cramming. Submit finished assignments on time and do not postpone working on them.

       Accept the challenge of collegiate studying, thinking, and learning. Anticipate that the level and quantity of work in some courses will exceed your prior experiences. If you have significant responsibilities besides your studies, such as work and family, set realistic academic goals and schedules for yourself. Select an academic load whose work demands do not exceed your available time and energy.

       Let no temptation cause you to surrender your integrity.

       Student code of conduct

       Academic honesty policy

       Disability services

 

Examination Policy

There will be an examination during the examination period. Choose three from the following:

1.     Make an effective chart for each of the data sets presented (pencil sketch), explain your choice

2.     Revise a one page paper for clarity and brevity

3.     Revise a questionnaire to eliminate bias and ambiguity

4.     Create a persona given this data set

5.     Given this scenario, what would you advise and why?

a.     given the arrival of this significant data, how will the scenario likely change and how will you revise your advice?

Disclaimer

This syllabus represents a plan only. Deviations may be necessary.

Example Calendar

SEPTEMBER

Tuesday

 

Thursday

 

 

Introduction writing and research in the work place

 

Interviewing -- active, non-judgmental, non-leading, listening

 

 

Questionnaires --databased decision making, open ended / closed ended, Likert scales

 

Clarity & Brevity (C&B)

organizing information (chunking, hierarchizing, searchability)

 

 

 

Common errors

-- leading, ambiguous, order effects, anticipation

 

C&B

alternative paths (executive summaries)

 

 

sample sizes, populations, representative samples,

validity and reliability

 

C&B

C&B redundant expressions

 

 

OCTOBER

Tuesday

 

Thursday

 

 

Personae -- how business "knows its audience" (in addition to demographics)

 

C&B

nominalization and active voice -- energy, agency, responsibility

 

 

Personae --

generalizing from specific examples

 

C&B

jargon

 

 

avoiding stereotypes, caricatures, biases

 

C&B

empty words and phrases, pointless intensifiers, BS

 

 

the difference between selling features and identifying benefits -- what problem are you solving?

 

How to sound like a real person talking with other real people.

 

 

NOVEMBER

Tuesday

 

Thursday

 

 

Intuition and judgment

 

 

Sharing and oversharing

 

 

Cognitive biases

 

Twitter

 

 

 

Basic probability -- sample space, identifying possible outcomes

 

 

LinkedIn -- Skills, Values, Goals, Endorsing others

 

 

 

Slides (no more than 3 words per slide)

 

How to present without looking at your slides

 

 

DECEMBER

Tuesday

 

Thursday

 

 

PR (principles of basic corporate communications)

 

The camera is always rolling; stay on message;