GEB 3213 Assignments

Writing in Business
Spring 2007

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GEB 3213 Syllabus

GEB 3213Assignments

GEB 3213 Schedule


All assignments must be completed and submitted at the beginning of the class period on the due date assigned and in the assigned format. You will turn in BOTH a hard copy and an electronic copy. The hard copy will be taken up at the beginning of class and the electronic copy should be emailed to me ( before the class period the assignment is due.

These assignments are due in class at the beginning of class on the dates indicated. Your assignment grade will be dropped by one full letter grade for every day it is late. Some assignments are individual, while others are group based. If the group assignment is late, everyone in the group is penalized. However, it is not an absolute that everyone in the group receives the same grade. I will conduct both self and group peer evaluations as a means of monitoring the work load balance within the groups.

If you are going to be absent on the day that an assignment is due, email the assignment to me BEFORE our class period and it will not be considered late if you have emailed before class and bring a hardcopy to me on the next class period that you are in attendance.

Remember, my office hours are Tuesdays 11-3 in the Image Lab on the 4th floor or Rolfs Hall. I will be happy to sit down with you and look over the assignment with you and answer any questions that you may have.

ASSIGNMENT 1 – Resume, cover letter (50 points each for a total of 100 points)

For this assignment, you will need to locate a job opening in your field and compose a resume and cover letter tailored for the job you select. Both the resume and cover letter should conform to format, design, and standards discussed in lectures, class discussions, and textbook/handouts. You will need to turn in the job opening description (the ad) along with your cover letter.

Job opening
Find job openings in newspaper classified sections, trade/business journals, or at the Career Resource Center. You may also search for openings online at or at

The job you select must be appropriate for your major/major field and should be both professional and degree-appropriate or an internship that you are actually thinking about applying for. You should avoid applying for job that only require a high school diploma or job openings for wait staff, golf caddy, or summer camp counselor. You should also avoid applying for a job that you are not qualified for. Select the job classified carefully because you will be targeting your resume to this particular job.

The resume must be tailored for the job you’re applying for. Additionally, it should be a resume you would send out when applying for a job. As a result, you should ensure that the paper and print quality of your final submission should be the highest possible. Be sure to follow both lecture and Locker Chapter 17 guidelines for creating and formatting your resume.

Resume Peer Review Questions

Cover letter
The cover letter must match the job opening and should be a letter tailored to the job and the company—not a form letter. You should also conduct research into the company or business to which you’re applying. Be sure to follow both lecture and Locker Chapter 18 guidelines for creating and completing your cover letter.

Cover Letter Peer Review Questions

Resume Rubric
-A resume/cover letter will be dropped one letter grade for one typo or spelling error. After three typos or spelling errors the resume/cover letter will receive a failing grade.
-A resume will be dropped half a letter grade for every consistency mistake.

Cover Letter and Resume Review

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master how to
• use standard resume and cover letter formatting;
• integrate work, volunteer experience, and extracurricular activities into a coherent framework;
• tailor specific details of experience to a particular job description;
• convey efficiently and clearly achievements on the job and potential benefits your experience can offer a prospective employer;
• formulate a cover letter that makes a persuasive argument for the relevance of particular elements of your experience to a specific job;
• compose a cover letter that clearly addresses the concerns, expectations, background of a specific audience;
• use “you” attitude to address what benefits you offer the company;
• write a clear, effective cover letter that uses your resume as a jumping-off point for a convincing argument about your qualifications for a specific job.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should
• use standard business format for both resume and cover letter;
• use action-oriented verbs that describe actions, not responsibilities;
• adequately convey the scope of the writer’s experience as relevant to the job;
• differentiate cover letter from resume;
• represent a strong fit for the job description;
• demonstrate careful revision, editing, and proofreading.

ASSIGNMENT 2 – Informative/Positive news memo: Choice of 7.15 or 7.17 at the end of Chapter 7) (100)
Rubric: Check list on page 168.

Positive Memo Revew

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master how to
• employ standard business memo format and protocols;
• use “you” orientation that foregrounds user benefits;
• write clear, jargon-free sentences that display action and avoid excessive wordiness;
• use the optimal structure for conveying information or good news;
• recognize the differences between active and passive construction and use passive construction only rarely;
• choose the appropriate nouns and verbs, as well as sentence structure, to make your writing clear.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should
• foreground and summarize information most relevant to readers;
• follow Locker’s structure for presenting informational and positive messages;
• display a forthright “you” attitude in addressing audience interests;
• avoid entirely or only rarely use passive construction;
• rely on action-orientated verbs and concrete nouns for clearly written sentences;
• use standard business memo format;
• show evidence of close revision, editing, and proofreading.

ASSIGNMENT 3 – Improving a financial aid form in teams (p. 146-7) (50)

Analyze the form. Among other design questions, consider the following:
-Think about where/how the people completing the form are supposed to send it.
-Are the lines large enough to write in?
-What headings or subdivisions in the form would remind people to list all family members they intend to support?
-How can you encourage people to return the form promptly?
-Should you use capital or lower-case letters?
-Does the definition of half-time apply to all students or just those taking courses beyond high school?

Financial Aid Review

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master
• the elements of good document design, including the placement of important elements and uses of font, color, and other design elements;
• how to convey data and relationships by appropriately using the correct visual elements (maps, bar charts, pie charts, graphs, and tables);
• how to design a clear, effective, and user-friendly form that elicits correct and useful information from its audience.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should
• use well-chosen design elements to elicit correct information from its audience;
• be clear, efficient, and easy to use;
• provide adequate space for all audience feedback;
• provide clear and appropriate instructions to audience.

ASSIGNMENT 4 – Negative message. Choice A: 8.7 on page 206 where you can choose from A,B,C, or make your own company situation like some of you did in the positive memo [note: 8.7 should be in memo format not email format]; Choice B: 8.19 on page 211 [note: 8.19 can be in any format]. (100)
Rubric: Check list on page 202.

Negative Message Review

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master
• how to present negative information in a way that minimizes resistance;
• how to use a buffer, rationale, alternatives, and the correct tone for negative messages;
• how to make your sentences hang together by using sequencing, transitions, and common subjects;

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should, in addition to the criteria for the preceding assignments, also include
• appropriate use of subject lines for negative news memos;
• correct use of a buffer;
• optimal placement of negative news;
• provision of both a rationale and alternatives or choices open to readers;
• appropriate “you” attitude;
• appropriate tone and awareness of audience
• writing that adheres to principles for both clarity and continuity;
• correct usage, grammar, and punctuation;
• close proofreading and editing.

ASSIGNMENT 5 – Persuasive message (100)

Choose from one of the two assignments listed below and compose a 1-2 pp. persuasive letter or memo, relying on the persuasive techniques discussed in the Locker text, in lecture, and in your discussion sections. Make sure you also observe all of the 4Cs in your writing.

Option 1
As program chair of the National Association of Retail Merchandisers, you must find a speaker for your annual meeting in April. In Inc. magazine you saw an impressive article about J’Amy Owens, president of the Retail Group, Inc., a Seattle-based strategic retail consulting firm. Owens has become the guru of retail makeovers with a client list of over 400 companies. She believes that the retail economy will increasingly be driven by experience as opposed to transactions. “Retail has to feel relevant, or it’s dead,” she says.
Owens is very much in demand. She has been credited with helping many well-known brands regain lost luster, including McDonald’s, Blockbuster Video, Sears, and Starbucks. When Nike lost the devotion of Generation Y, it commissioned her to figure out how to win them back.

Your Task:
Write a 1-2 page persuasive letter inviting J’Amy Owens, president, Retail Group, Inc., 240 Pacific Avenue, Seattle, WA 98303. You know that she generally earns $5,000 a time for industry presentations, but your budget allows only $3,000. You hope, however, that she’ll be receptive because you expect about 1,500 of the top retailers to attend the April 6 conference.

Option 2
As sales manager for a large irrigation parts manufacturer, you are concerned about the use of profanity by your sales associates. Some defend profanity, claiming it helps them fit in. For example, your female sales reps. claim it helps relax listeners, drive home a point, and makes them “one of the boys.” You’ve done some research, however, and learned that courts have ruled that profanity can constitute sexual harassment—whether in person or in print. In addition to causing legal problems, profanity on the job projects a negative image of the individual and the company.

Your Task:
Use the Web and the library’s online resources to locate articles related to the use of profanity and strategies employed by organizations for dealing with it. One good resource is Prepare a 1-2 pp. persuasive memo to your sales staff encouraging them to curb their use of profanity.


Kimberly Holker, a member of my fall 2005 GEB3213 class, won the 2006 ABC case (see links below). You can read her persuasive memo and persuasive memo strategy as a model. Christopher Laden, another UF student, won 3rd place. You can read his persuasive memo and persuasive memo strategy as a model.

Persuasive Message Review

* Exhibit a clear understanding of the audience, use an appropriate tone and style, establish the desired relationship, and motivate the desired outcome.
* Accomplish the purpose of the message by stating a clear position and supporting that position with logical points/sub-points, insightful reasoning and/or persuasive examples.
* Be well organized and easy to follow, include appropriate headings/bullets/lists, and use smooth transitions.
* Demonstrate superior mastery of vocabulary and superior facility with conventions of standard written English (grammar, usage, and mechanics) and use generally accepted U.S. business writing practices
* Use an appropriate format and document design.

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master
• the various structures for presenting information (comparison/contrast, pro/con, problem-solving, etc.);
• the distinction between causation and correlation in analyzing information;
• how to craft logical arguments;
• how to link claims to evidence;
• the appropriate patterns and uses for persuasive messages (direct-request, problem-solving);
• the use of directed-subject lines in memos making a request;
• how to create persuasive memos suitable for a specific audience and purpose;
• how to organize memos and paragraphs using coherence principles.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should, in addition to the general criteria for the preceding assignments (standard business formatting, correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, evidence of proofreading and editing), also include
• an appropriate, efficient subject line
• appropriate direct-request or problem-solving framework for persuasive message;
• “you” attitude that addresses readers’ interests and concerns;
• logical argument, based on claims and evidence;
• relevant information and evidence adequate to support claims;
• appropriate tone;
• correct use of clarity, continuity, coherence, and concision principles;
• appropriate tone for audience and subject matter
• a persuasive argument that overcomes any reservations or objections readers might initially entertain.

Preludes to Assignment 6:
Gantt chart – 25 points;
Progress report – 25 points

Learning Objectives and basis for grading criteria:
• the purpose, form, and content of a Gantt chart;
• creation of clear-cut assignments for team members and completion dates;
• creating progress reports that emphasis the value to the client of what’s already been accomplished, rather than the actual effort involved.

ASSIGNMENT 6 – Team report: see team project handout and business report handout (200 total points; team proposal = 50 points and the final team report =150 point)
Additional websites for business recommendation reports:
Sample recommendation reports:

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master
• how to work effectively in groups, including using active listening, brainstorming, planning, and collaboration;
• how to write a clear proposal that argues for the need for the study, its objectives, methods, and anticipated outcomes.
• how to create surveys and questionnaires and how to administer them to yield effective and reliable results;
• how to organize a long business report, using persuasive argument, visuals, and data;
• use of headings and subheadings to guide readers;
• how to present arguments that clearly reflect or anticipate audience concerns, interests, objections, and reservations to a proposal;
• how to write a clear, efficient, and effective executive summary;
• how to research, incorporate, and document relevant information in reports.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should, in addition to the general criteria for the preceding assignments (standard business formatting, correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, evidence of proofreading and editing), also include
• standard contents for long reports: cover, table of contents, executive summary, introduction, body, conclusion, recommendations, references, appendices);
• effective use of logic, persuasion, claims, and evidence;
• effective use of all 4C’s;
• clear, effective headings and subheadings;
• visuals and references to clarify and document sources;
• correct use of formatting for report, summary, headings, and references;
• comprehensive coverage of all aspects of report relevant to its audience.

ASSIGNMENT 7 – Team oral presentation (100)
Rubric in PDF

Learning Objectives:
By the completion of this assignment, you should master
• adapting messages to specific audiences;
• dividing responsibility for delivery among team members;
• anticipating, answering, and overcoming audience objections;
• using PowerPoint or other visuals to enhance or clarify points;
• answering audience questions;
• appropriate use of eye contact and physical gestures;
• proper vocal pitch and tone;
• self-assured, clear presentation of a complex topic to a particular audience.

Grading Criteria:
This assignment should include
• balanced division of portions of report among team members;
• adequate handling of audience questions;
• PowerPoint or other visuals to clearly convey main points;
• an assured delivery that includes variable vocal pitch, gestures, eye contact, and appropriate vocal tone;
• use of language, evidence, and visuals appropriate to audience.

QUIZZES – (100) (midterm and final each worth 50 points)
In-class Writing and Participation – (100)




90-100 900-1000 A
87-89 987-989 B+
80-86 880-886 B
77-79 770-779 C+
70-76 700-776 C
67-69 670-669 D+
60-66 600-660 D
Below 60% Below 600 E