Course Schedule

Occasionally, it may be necessary to revise this schedule to meet students’ or university needs. I reserve the right to revise this document if the need arises. If that is the case, you will be notified at the earliest possible date. Note that for our purposes each week below begins on Sunday at 12:01 am and ends on Saturday night at 11:59PM (not providing the beginning and end dates of the term). 

Note that part of good business protocol is to know what time zone all relevant parties are in. All times for this course are aligned with the time zone of University of Rhode Island, which is in the U.S. Eastern time zone, or -4 Coordinated Universal Time.


Date In-Class Activities Work Due
Tuesday, January 2 Introductions and Goals

Course Overview

Team Research:

  • What is business communication?
  • Who participates in business communication?
  • What modes are used in business communication?
  • What are common genres?
  • What are common modes and genres in your intended profession?
  • Which genres will we compose together this semester?

Share Out

Reading: Read front matter (Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, Preface, Introduction). Also familiarize yourself with Part III: Sample Documents in Writing in Professional Contexts so that you know what’s available to help you as you think about Case #1 (see below).

Reading Discussion:

  • What interests, bothers, or surprises you about the book?
  • Who wrote this book? What are their credentials? In other words, why should we trust that they know a thing or two about business writing?
  • How is the book organized? Why?
  • What’s the purpose of each section in the book?
  • Where do you go to find mentor texts (or models) to help you compose?

Introduce Case 1

Wednesday, January 3


Watch: Major Malfunction (a 20-minute video on the Challenger Disaster and communication’s role in it) 

Video Discussion: Business Communication as Advocacy

Read: Pages 9-14 (“Rhetorical Framework”) in Writing in Professional Contexts.

Reading Discussion

Activity: Consider the Contextualizing Questions on p. 14 in light of the Rhetorical Situation for Case 1.

Work on Case 1



Please read pages 15-17 (ending before “Document Design and Delivery” in Writing in Professional Contexts.

Now that you are deep into the production of documents, think about the modes of persuasion that you will use to persuade your audiences (company owners, employees, and customers) to accept the solutions you’ve proposed to the problem of a company name change.

Answer the Contextualizing Questions (bullet points) on pages 16 and 17 to help you think through persuasive moves in your documents. Write a paragraph (complete sentences, organized concise prose, clear answers) for each bullet point.

Submit those to your professor via email ( by noon on Friday, January 5. In your email, you may also list any questions, concerns, or requests for help that you have related to Case 1.

This assignment is worth 11 points that will replace your class participation points for Thursday, January 4.

Before class on Tuesday, you should decide which social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc.) you will use to develop your online professional ethos. Spend time figuring out how these platforms work and how you can make them work for your professional goals. Decide if you will use any of your existing accounts or if you will create new accounts. Decide if you’ll use your real name or create a new email and a pseudonym for these online personas. Use the rhetorical framework to help you think about your audience, purpose, stakeholders, writing/posting processes, genre, delivery, yourself as the writer, and the ethos you are developing in these online contexts. Begin set-up processes and add some content (at least one post) to each platform.

 Work on Case 1

Due by Sunday at midnight: Case 1


Tuesday, January 9


Case 1 Feedback and Revisions
Mapping the RhetoricalFramework for Social Media Platforms and PostsRead: Pages 1-8

Imagine you are working as part of a Human Resource Team. Your team has been tasked with employee education in the areas of ethics, diversity, social justice, intercultural communication & globalization OR collaborating, networking, building relationships, peer review & revision. Each group should choose 1 of these areas to focus on. Prepare a Quick Guide for company employees that helps them use these principles in everyday business communication and interaction.

Watch: Mellody Hobson’s Ted Talk: Color-Blind or Color Brave

Video Discussion

Case 2 Guidelines (Revised)



Wednesday, January 10 Read: Pages 20-28

Discussion: Digital Content Strategies, Website Content Audits, and Usability/Accessibility

ReadPorter’s Techne of Digital Delivery

Review: Case 2

Watch: Steve Krug’s sample usability test

Watch: Example Usability Test with Paper Prototype

Discuss Usability Testing

Due: Revisions for Case 1

Work on Case 2


Thursday, January 11


Activity: Usability Testing Due in Class: Draft of Case 2 Reflection, Analysis, and Social Media Plan/MockUps

Due by Sunday at midnight: Case 2


Tuesday, January 16 Introduce Professional Website Project

Content Management Systems

Read: Page 29-33 in Writing in Professional Contexts. Navigate to and read the social media recommendations from websites listed on page 33. From your readings, make a list of 10 best practices for your professional social media presence.

Dress Profesh: What does it mean to look like a professional?


Watch: Writing a Statement of Purpose (Personal Statement)

Write, Peer Review. and Revise Statement of Purpose


Work on Professional Website

Wednesday, January 17


Resume Workshop

Writing Time

Drafting and Peer Review

Selecting and Introducing Artifacts for Professional Website

Complete IDEA Survey

Work on Professional Website




Thursday, January 18 Instructor Conferencing

Independent Work Time: Professional Website

Due: Paper or Digital Mockups for Professional Website

Due by Friday at Noon: Professional Website