Beth Eakman Strout:
ENGL 2311 Sample Syllabus

(representative syllabus; not current)


Business and Technical Communication (BTCM)
ENGL 2311: Spring 2006


Beth Eakman Strout
Email address:
Voicemail: 223-1795 box 25992
Office: NRG 4209
Textbook: Technical Communication by Rebecca E. Burnett

Course Objectives

This course introduces students to the kinds of communication most often required in the workplace. Coursework is designed to train students to write clear, orderly, readable documents and implement professional oral presentations.


BTCM requires completion of ENGL 1302 (College Composition I) or its equivalent with a passing grade for entrance in ENG 2311. Students must demonstrate a good command of standard written English.

Grading Policy

Portfolio Grading: Final grades for this course will be determined by the evaluation of each student's final portfolio. Students will periodically submit assignments for feedback* (corrections, comments, suggestions, etc.), but the assignments will not be graded until they are submitted with final portfolios. This allows students to revise assignments throughout the semester as they increase their skills. See Evaluative Criteria for specific descriptions of requirements for letter grades.

Note: I only provide feedback when assignments are submitted on the due date. I do not accept late assignments for feedback.

Attendance Policy

I do not take roll. You are adults and you are responsible for getting the information that you need to complete the assignments for this course.

Document Presentation

Unless otherwise specified, all assignments submitted for feedback or grading must be typewritten on a word processor in a readable font. Please make every effort to use a 12-point or larger font size.


January 18 Introduction
January 23 Grammar and style concerns
January 25 Grammar and style concerns continued
January 30 Memos: Introduce your classmates
February 1 Memos due: Memos will be read aloud to class
February 6 Letters: Information request

Your chosen profession most likely has organizations or societies for its members. For example, Technical Writers typically are members of their local branch of the Society for Technical Communicators. These organizations help members network, get information about their fields, and stay current in the evolving marketplace. Find the appropriate professional organization for your field and locate a contact person and contact information. Write a letter requesting more information about the organization and how a student might join.
February 8 Bring first draft of letters to class for peer editing
February 13 Resumes
Letters due
February 15 Resumes
February 20 Bring first drafts of resumes to class for peer editing
February 22 Cover letters
Resumes due
February 27 Promotional materials
Cover letters due
March 1 Bring first drafts of promotional materials to class for peer editing
March 6 Summaries
Promotional materials due
March 8 Bring summaries to class for collaborative work/editing
March 13 Spring Break: Class does not meet
March 15 Spring Break: Class does not meet
March 20 Summaries due: Group presentations in class (see Oral Communication page)
March 22 Instructions
March 27 Bring first drafts of instructions to class for peer editing
March 29 Proposals
Instructions due
April 3 Proposals
April 5 Proposals
April 10 Bring proposals to class for peer editing
April 12 Reports
Proposals due
April 17 Reports
April 19 Bring first drafts of reports to class for peer editing
April 24 Reports due
April 26 Portfolio assembly
May 1 Portfolio assembly
May 3 Portfolio assembly
May 8 Portfolio assembly: Evaluative criteria
May 10 Final Portfolios due

Oral Communication Information

While this course primarily focuses on written technical communication, in professional situations technical communicators are frequently required to present their information orally. Workplace communication typically includes both individual and collaborative projects.

In order to gain classroom experience in oral communication, students will be required to present specified documents orally. These assignments are noted in the syllabus.

Collaborative Project

Summaries: Students will read and summarize the article “The Science of Scientific Writing.” This article is included in your syllabus. Because the article is long and somewhat complex, students will be assigned to peer-editing groups to discuss the article and outline its main points as a group. This will help students to more fully understand and summarize the article.

Individual Projects

Proposals and Reports: Students should plan to present their Proposal and Progress Report assignments orally to the class as though they were presenting them to co-workers in a professional situation. Students acting as audience members will write brief evaluations of the oral presentations to give as feedback to presenters.

Portfolio Requirements

Background Information: A portfolio is a formal, hard copy presentation of the collected assignments that you have completed in this course.

Why Portfolio Grading Works: Unlike traditional methods of evaluating students' writing, the portfolio allows the student to continue revising his or her work throughout the semester as his or her skill level increases. Thus, the student's final grade is representative of the student's overall mastery of the subject rather than an incremental progress.

Benefits to Students:

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