Spring 2004 Schedule
English 461: Professional Writing

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College


English 461 Home Page
English 461 Syllabus
College Spring Schedule, Registrar's Office

It is your responsibility to check these pages regularly for updates and new materials.

Tuesday, January 13

Introduction to the course

Discussion of interviewing assignment: interview a professional person, and ask the following questions:
* How do you use writing in your job?
* How have recent technological changes affected the professional writing you do?
* What aspects of writing do you enjoy?
* What aspects of writing do you find frustrating?
* Any other questions you want to ask.

Try to limit your interview to 10-15 minutes, and take good notes. You'll give a brief report on this interview on Tuesday, Jan. 20 and turn in an outline of your notes and comments.

Your interviewee may be anyone on the faculty or professional staff at Ferrum College, or a principal or administrator at another school. If you want to interview another professional person (someone in business or public life, for example), check with the professor before pursuing this option. When scheduling your interview, first ask whether someone else from this class has requested an interview, because you may not interview the same person as someone else in the class.

Additional resources on conducting an interview (only the first one is required reading):

Thursday, January 15

Introduction to the course and to professional writing, continued
Read the syllabus carefully and note any questions you have. Browse around the course web site.

Begin reading chap. 1 of Kolin. Do the reading quiz on Part 1 on the textbook web site by today and have it e-mailed to thanlon@ferrum.edu

Tuesday, January 20

Interview reports. Turn in an outline of the results of your interview, with any comments you would like to add.

Finish chap. 1 of Kolin. Do reading quiz on Part 2 before today's class.

Recommended: Look over chap. 2 in Kolin and make note of areas you need to improve in your own general writing processes.

Look over chaps. 5 and 6 in Kolin (no reading quizzes) enough to ask questions about Thursday's assignment. In chap. 6, skip the section on sales letters.

Thursday, January 22

Bring a letter from you to a company or institution which recently created a problem for you. Explain the problem, and include a summary of any action you have taken to resolve it so far. Use block or semiblock style. (Use guidelines in chaps. 5 and 6 as preparation for this assignment.)

Workshop in class on critiquing problem letters. Discussion of writing response letters.

Tuesday, January 27

Bring a letter from a representative of a company or institution in response to a classmate's problem letter. You can make up a name or use an appropriate one if the problem letter isn't addressed to a specific person. Use block or semiblock style. Use guidelines in chap. 6, especially pp. 225-33, for saying "yes" or "no" to problem letters.

Workshop in class on critiquing problem and response letters, and proofreading exercise.

Think about whether there are particular areas of editing the class should work on. We will probably have some proofreading review today. Look over chap. 2 and "A Brief Writer's Guide" (end of textbook) for areas of the writing process and editing you think we should review.

Some preview of abstract/cover letter assignment today (begin chap. 10).

Thursday, January 29

Problem/Solution Letters due. Turn in your problem letter, your response letter, your classmate's letter to which you were responding, and the evaluations you received from the two workshops. Your grade will be based on both of your own letters. (If you were responding to a letter that put you in an especially difficult situation in deciding how to respond, I'll take that into consideration.)

Writing Summaries. Read chap. 10. Do reading quizzes. You can skip the section on News Releases for now. (Don't worry about whether you get any questions on that wrong on the quizzes.) Be thinking about where you will submit (or pretend to submit) your abstract and cover letter on a project you have done in the past.

Tuesday, February 3

Bring an abstract (or summary) of a paper you have written for a class (summarize in no more than 500 words). Also bring a cover letter addressed to the editor of a journal or newspaper/magazine where you think the paper could be published OR to the head of a professional organization which sponsors a conference where you think you might read the paper, OR to the Academic Talent Show Committee proposing to present the project at this spring's talent show (even though they don't require formal abstracts and letters). Everyone must write a formal abstract even if the place you are writing to wouldn't require it. Your letter should be designed to fit the situation you are applying for, whether it's a professional journal or trying to get an article idea accepted by a popular publication, or a conference or talent show.

Workshop in which you will act as selection committees deciding whether to accept the abstracts submitted.

Thursday, February 5

Abstract and cover letter due.

Begin resume assignment. Read chap. 7. Don't forget to schedule mock interview with Career Services Office before midterm.

Discuss resumes and application letters.

Monday, Feb. 9. Have resume reviewed by Career Week participants.
Mock interviews with groups of professionals are available during Career Week. You may use this opportunity for the mock interview assignment for this class.

Tuesday, February 10

Resume and application letter due.

Begin discussion of research methods. Read chap. 8 and do reading quizzes. You can do the second quiz by Thursday if you want.

Thursday, February 12

MEET IN LIBRARY LOBBY for session with Mr. Loveland on research methods.

Read web page on Encyclopedia Article Assignment.

Tuesday, February 17

MEET IN LIBRARY COMPUTER LAB again for computer workshop (creating web page, using graphics in Word).

Bring your thoughts or notes on two biographical sources you have found so far for your encyclopedia article. Be prepared to discuss how these two sources compare. See page on Encyclopedia Article Assignment.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 3-4 p.m. in Britt 106

Meeting with Mr. Jeff Horn, professional writer for encyclopedias and other reference works. Please let me know ASAP if you have obligations preventing you from meeting at this time. Read the writing sample you are sent by e-mail to analyze in preparation for the class with Mr. Horn, and be ready to talk about the topic of your own encyclopedia article by then. See page on Encyclopedia Article Assignment.

Thursday, February 19

No class this morning. If you miss either of this week's classes, you will have to make arrangements to make up that work.

Tuesday, February 24

Rescheduled meeting with Mr. Jeff Horn, professional writer for encyclopedias and other reference works. Read the writing sample you were sent by e-mail to analyze in preparation for the class with Mr. Horn and follow the instructions for preparing questions/comments. Bring draft of your encyclopedia article, printed on paper, to class. Make a note of the word count of the biography. If your draft is over 500 words, we can spend time working on how to make writing more concise.

Thursday, February 26

Encyclopedia article/web page due (500-word maximum for the biography, plus bibliography and autobiography)

Saturday - Sunday, February 28 - March 7: Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 9

Writing instructions. Read chap. 13. Do reading quizzes by Thurs.
In-class exercise on writing instructions

Wednesday, March 10

Attend lecture by Juan Williams of NPR at 7 p.m. in chapel. If you want extra credit, write a one-page summary or critique of this event.

Thursday, March 11

In chap. 13, do ex. 8 on pp. 609-10 and bring your response to class.
Be sure you have done chap. 13 reading quizzes by today and be prepared to discuss your own topic for the instructional essay.
Look through chap. 11 on designing visuals.

Tuesday, March 16

Essay explaining instructions or procedures due with at least one graphical element (500 words plus a visual such as a diagram, picture or chart). Requirements:

At the top of the first page, identify the audience for the instructions. Choose a topic from an area in which you have enough expertise to give others instructions, and be sure your focus is specific. Include the parts listed in "The Four Parts of Instructions" on p. 584 (and explained on the following pages). If you are discussing procedures, adjust the "Steps" section accordingly. Try to find a topic that is not too broad and overworked (such as how to apply for a job). The steps or parts of the process in the middle of the essay should take about 300-400 words to explain fully. If you feel the need to consult any outside sources, put a list of Works Consulted at the end of the paper (similar to the bibliography at the end of the biographies). In most cases this shouldn't be necessary, but just in case you find the need for it, give citation(s) at the end for any source you use.

Discussion of news releases. Read pp. 454-62 in textbook.

Thursday, March 18

Dr. Lana Whited will discuss writing book and film reviews with us. Decide by today whether you will write a news release or review for Mar. 30 assignment.

Reading assignments for Dr. Whited are film reviews of The Passion of the Christ:

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/entertainment/reviews.nsf/Movie/422480C83B24829F86256E44005D2553?OpenDocument&Headline=Gibson+film+is+overkill+on+Jesus'+death,+not+life+. If you have trouble using this long URL for the review by Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, go to this site, STLToday.com, and go through these sections to find the review of The Passion of the Christ: Entertainment - Movies - Feb. 2004.

Tuesday, March 23

Editing exercises in class. If you missed this work, get the exercises from me to do for Thursday.

Thursday, March 25

Bring draft of your news release or review.

Bring 2nd editing exercise from in-class work Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 30

News release or book or film review due (at least 250 words)

Begin reading chap. 14, Writing Winning Proposals. In-class: work on a plan of attack for the major proposal project.

Thursday, April 1

Finish chap. 14, Writing Winning Proposals. Do reading quizzes.

Bring a week-by-week plan for completing your proposal project. Be as specific as possible.

Tuesday, April 6

Discussion of proposals and schedules.

Read sample proposals in class. Make notes on use of headings, types of persuasive appeals used, other elements of successful proposals, as listed on pp. 622-24. (Get examples from professor if you missed in-class work.)

Thursday, April 8

Read chap. 16 on long reports. Discuss required parts of your reports.

Friday - Monday, April 9 - 12: Easter Break (no days off for this class)

Tuesday, April 13

Read chap. 9, Documentation (skip details on documentation methods you aren't using). Use MLA unless you are in a field that uses APA.
Read pp. 661-68 on progress reports.

Fill out progress report on your project in class. Bring notes on your project and list of references in MLA or APA style. Be sure you are ready to identify the audience for your proposal, sources being used, and specifics about progress so far.

Thursday, April 15

Read chapter 4 on memos, etc. and do reading quizzes.

Tuesday, April 20

Read chap. 17 on presentations and do reading quizzes.

Thursday, April 22


Bring your questions about powerpoint presentations and formatting long reports. Bring a disk if you want to save anything in the lab or bring a draft of any parts of your project to work on.

Draft of memo to accompany proposal due (100-150 words) and abstract of proposal

Proposal with graphical elements due next week (minimum of 10-12 pages of discussion, double-spaced)


Last Day of Ferrum classes Tuesday, April 27 (Follow Friday Schedule, so this class won't meet.)

Friday, April 30 1:30-4 p.m. Final exam in A-V AUDITORIUM

PowerPoint presentation on proposal topic (10 min.)
The people to whom you are submitting your proposals will be invited to attend, if possible, and some other professionals from Ferrum.
Bring three copies of your proposal to the exam: one to be graded, one for the professor, and one for the recipient to whom it is submitted.

I may contact you about scheduling your report at a specific time. (Jessica Poore will go first.) Except for Jessica having a reason to leave early, it is mandatory for everyone to arrive on time and stay throughout the exam period. You will not receive full credit for your presentation if you are not there from the beginning to the end.


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