Retrospective: Business Writing

This is the second semester I’ve taught Business Writing at my university during my three years here. While I was looking at their white papers, I made some notes about things to do differently next time.

For the report sequence:
Have the students develop and choose topics early. This will enable them to construct the surveys and interviews for their primary research in a timely manner, so that I can review them and give feedback.

Perhaps the proposal should be revised to include:
–research parameters, including methods and assumptions (require criteria for choices–Why these three expensive restaurants and not the others?)
–justification for the topic (Why does this topic need covering for the intended audience? Why is this project worthy of your time and effort? What will your project add to the developing core of information that Dr. Davis has?)
–survey and/or interview questions
–secondary sources with annotations

That will give me time to give feedback on all the potential issues which have come up in the last two semesters. I need to develop an example paper for this, since it is different from what I have had the students do.

The progress report should include:
–primary research methods and results. This will insure that I get to see these and that, if they have done them incorrectly, they will still have time to re-do them.
–individual surveys (if paper) or access to the data (if online).

Consider additional areas where work the students do in this class can be used. (We printed out R’s flyer on What English Majors Earn and include it in the departmental information handouts. The international student office is posting the digital presentation for international students. I have a developing database of information for entering freshmen.)

For communication disasters:
Introduce the “rules” for PowerPoint.

Require the first one to be done in the first three weeks.

Require the second one to be done in the second three weeks.

Allow extra credit comm disasters to be done in the next six weeks.

For brochures:
Bring examples and discuss positive and negative points. (Both of prior semesters and actual brochures from other places.)

For brochure grading rubric:
I am also going to change the grading rubric, since I want a handout that is related to the project and a good “fit” rather than something that simply repeats the digital presentation. Content and integration will change. Mostly this is due to the change in the topics students are presenting.

Also I am going to add to the Presentation Style and Handout Style section. Poor folding (rather than simply not folded) should be included in the former and layout should be included in the latter.

Update:
I changed the brochure and I am going to put both the old version and the new version here, in case someone could use it. The rubric was created for a handout (either a brochure or a flyer) that was designed to either match a digital presentation (the old version) or support a digital presentation (the new version).

Rubric for brochure old version

Rubric for brochure

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