English 229: Professional Writing
I designed this course to give students experience in rhetorical genre analysis and thus to allow for them to write their way into the variety of writing situations they will encounter in their academic and professional lives. The first four assignments in the sequence allow students to compose a portfolio of professional writing genres, while the fifth assignment affords students experience in collaborative workplace writing that will benefit them in future professional contexts. In the Professional Writing Genres Proposal assignment, students explore their academic discipline and intended professional field in order to identify and make an argument for composing two genres relevant in their field. This first major writing assignment helps students to learn that writing is contextual, embedded in particular professional contexts and purposes. In the Professional Writing Genre 1 and 2 assignments, students collect artifact examples of relevant genres in their fields—for example personal statements, resumes, or memos—and conduct a rhetorical analysis of these artifacts and thus write their way into the genre and compose their own artifact. These assignments offer students useful strategies for analyzing and producing any genre of writing that might be demanded of them throughout their professional careers; additionally, composing these genres builds a portfolio of relevant professional genres that students actually make use of as they pursue job opportunities, internships, and specialized academic and professional programs.
After composing two relevant genres of professional writing, students analyze and revise their own online presence; this Reflecting on Your Online Presence assignment allows students to consider the particular demands that a digital, global workplace places on their particular profession. For example, a student in marketing might use the assignment as an opportunity to build and cultivate a vibrant, copious online presence and display their marketing skills, while a student pursuing a career in medicine might use this assignment as an opportunity to scale back and specialize their online presence to the example set by other medical professionals. In any case, this assignment allows for students to reflect on and cultivate an appropriate online presence that aligns with their intended career goals. Finally, students compose a Collaborative Workplace Writing Project that includes such common workplace writing genres as a proposal, a press release, a presentation, and a reflective memo evaluating their individual and team performance. This final assignment affords students the opportunity to use work in a small group, negotiate professional interpersonal relationships, and to collaboratively and mindfully compose collaborative workplace genres.