Hi, everyone, and welcome to English 3880: Writing for Business and Industry. Over the next 17 weeks, we will explore and engage the communications practices of writers working in a variety of business and professional contexts. During Unit 1, we’ll get oriented to the course, get acquainted to the tools and platforms used for this class community, and explore and (tentatively) define business writing audiences, purposes, contexts, common genres, forums, and roles and responsibilities. Subsequently, Units 2-5 will focus exploring particular business and professional writing (BPW) concepts, themes, and practices while producing projects that demonstrate your ability to apply them to compose professional artifacts.
At the beginning of each week, you will receive a newsletter like this one that describes the week, its themes and goals, as well as deliverables you will produce. We will use a Google Plus community to interact, share work (both in-progress and final drafts), respond to others’ work/ideas/questions, discuss concepts and themes, share resources that enrich our conversations, and create a robust classroom community.
We will also use Twitter and Google Hangouts for live, synchronous events during each Learning Unit. You are required (as part of a group) to host one Twitter Chat and one Google Hangout during the semester and to participate in two additional live events. Consult the course syllabus for more information. These will be scheduled at different times for maximum participation. Please fill out this Doodle Poll by Sunday, January 15 to list your availabilities for these events during the first Learning Unit.
Learning Unit 1: Exploring Business and Professional Writing (BPW) as a Course and a Set of Practices, Tools, Place, Bodies, and Commitments
For the remainder of this week (Jan. 10- Jan. 14), work to orient yourself to the course learning goals, objectives, and tools. Please complete these tasks by Saturday at midnight.
- Read the course syllabus and other tabs on the course website. Note questions, comments, concerns, and excitements. Think about how this course can serve your career goals. What’s not here that you would like to study, consider, or write?
- Join the Google+ community. If you already have a profile on G+, decide if you’ll make another one strictly for class or if you would like to blend course-related posts with other personal or professional uses of G+.
- Once you have joined the community, post an introduction. Use text, audio, video, images, links to online bios, or anything else you’d like to give us a sense of who you are as a student and a professional. Please let us know about your major, career goals, and professional writing experiences along with other personal and professional information. Use the hashtag #intro for your post.
- As these trickle in this week, read through others’ posts and comment. Make connections, ask questions, make observations and start conversations.
- Also, post a response to the course syllabus and materials. Note your questions, comments, concerns, anxieties, excitements, and what else you think would like to study, write, or learn about regarding writing in professional contexts. Use the hashtag #syllabus for these posts.
- Don’t forget to fill out the Doodle Poll so we can schedule our first Twitter chat and Google Hangout. I will host the these in Unit 1 and use your availabilities to make groups for hosting these events for Units 2-5.
Week One Learning Goals
- Understand and discuss course goals, purposes, policies, and tools
- Create a professional introduction for your peers
- Develop social media profiles
- Participate in a connected professional writing/learning community
I thank you for your patience as I’ve had a rocky start to this semester. I’ve been dealing with some neurological issues and had to make a visit to the ER today. I’ll be following up with specialists and am able to work in short bursts. I very much look forward to connecting with you all on the G+ Community over the next few days. As you can already tell from the absence of a course profile in Bb, this course will be quite a different experience as it is built on the principles and parameters of connectivist online courses, often referred to as cMOOCs. While it may be a bit disorienting at first, I ask you to be patient, ask questions, discuss concerns, and trust that this approach works to build powerful learning communities. I’ve facilitated five cMOOCs with thousands of participants, researched those cMOOCs extensively, and argue that participation can transform what it means to be a student and a professional in a digital age. As such, I hope you’ll keep an open mind and think of this as your BPW community, not just your BPW course.