GEB 3214/4930
Writing and Speaking in Business
Online Summer 2007


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GEB3213/4930 Syllabus
Summer 2007

GEB3213/4930 Assignments
Summer 2007

GEB3213/4930 Deadlines
Summer 2007

GEB3213/4930 Schedule
Summer 2007

GEB3213/4930 Gradebook
Summer 2007

Vista WebCT


Course Description
In business, where communication needs to be as clear as it is convincing, mastering the principles of effective, efficient writing and speaking is essential. GEB 3214 – Writing and Speaking in Business is designed to teach business students the fundamentals of both written and spoken communication, allowing them to express their ideas effectively and efficiently and also preparing them for the communication demands of the business workplace. This course has four primary objectives central to professional writing in business:

  • mastery of basic presentation skills and awareness of verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication;
  • knowledge of the types of writing central to business communication;
  • mastery of the techniques for persuasive argumentation;
  • an understanding of the fundamentals of writing clearly, specifically, and concisely.

The workplace-based assignments in this course ensure that students learn professional communication principles within different organizational contexts, as they work on assignments, cases, and projects drawn from everyday business situations. The course emphasizes both internal and external communication, as well as how to select style, formats, and approaches appropriately according to context and audience. Assignments include e-mails, memos, letters, resumes, and individual documents as well as discussion boards, reports, and a PowerPoint presentation.

Course Format
Students view three to four video lectures per week, provided by the Center for Management Community faculty, on the fundamentals of oral communication, business writing, and stylistic principles.

Students independently complete assigned exercises and reading and submit written, PowerPoint, and discussion board assignments for evaluation by Center for Management Communication Teaching Assistants.

Individual course sections are small, restricted to 30 students, enabling class members to get to know one another through their participation on discussion boards. These small sections also enable students to receive extensive feedback on written assignments from experienced Teaching Assistants.

Course Texts
We have selected Business and Administrative Communication, by Kitty O. Locker, as our primary text. This is a very comprehensive business textbook with good online support providing daily newsfeeds and useful resource links. We have combined this into a custom text with Business Writing CPR: 16 Principles for Writing Virtually Anything Effectively written by Professor Jane Douglas. Business Writing CPR uses new research into neuroscience, cognition, and linguistics to provide writers with the essential stylistic tools for mastering clear, efficient, and highly effective writing. Students can choose to purchase either our custom version, which combines both texts, or stand-alone versions of the two texts.

Course Assignments
Students will analyze real-world scenarios to determine how and why a document or presentation serves its purpose in the workplace, discover the role of document design and presentation organization in information processing, and learn how to respond efficiently to clients’ and colleagues’ needs. Students will also learn the fundamentals of business presentations, verbal and non-verbal communication in the workplace. The assignments, geared to both general and specialist audiences, provide practice in such essential career skills as problem solving, time management, and oral presentations.

Students complete multiple drafts of the following writing assignments:
Good and bad news memos
Cover letter
Persuasive memo
Proposal memo
Progress report
Business Report
PowerPoint presentation
Final assessment memo

Course Objectives
By the end of this course, students will know how to

  • structure sentences, paragraphs, and documents for maximum impact;
  • better comprehend their professional roles and the communication tools needed in the business world;
  • gear their writing towards a number of audiences, both internal and external to the workplace;
  • assess how a variety of written communication styles affect the audience’s reception of ideas;
  • deploy useful strategies for writing essential workplace documents like memos, instructions, and reports;
  • write collaboratively with teammates to produce a coherent and professional report;
  • produce PowerPoint presentations that concisely focus on the central elements in business reports;
  • write and revise for optimal concision and clarity.

    Academic Honesty
    As a University of Florida student, your performance is governed by the UF Honor Code, available in its full form at The Honor Code requires Florida students to neither give nor receive unauthorized aid in completing all assignments. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, bribery, and misrepresentation, all defined in detail at Plagiarism is the presentation of the words or ideas of another as one's own. You would commit plagiarism by using, without crediting the source
    1.Any part of another person's essay, speech, or ideas (even if paraphrased or expressed in your own words);
    2.Any part of an article in a magazine, journal, newspaper, or any part of a book, encyclopedia, CD, online internet page, etc. 

    Students with Physical Disabilities
    The University of Florida complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

    General Education Learning Outcomes
    GEB 3214 satisfies General Education requirements for both Composition (C) and Gordon Rule-Communication (E6). As a result, to fulfill the Composition requirement, GEB 3214 offers instruction in how to write with maximum clarity, organization, and efficiency, as well as how to adapt writing to the demands of a variety of genres, contexts, and audiences. To satisfy the E6 Gordon Rule requirement, GEB 3214 also requires students to complete at least 6,000 words of evaluated writing during the semester.

    Course Procedures
    Assignments. All assignments must be completed and submitted via Vista (or, if your TA permits, email) by the deadlines listed in the course schedule, with no late submissions accepted. Further, all discussion board assignments must be posted by the end of the week during which they were assigned.

    Plagiarism. Any attempt to represent the work, ideas, or writing of someone else as your own is considered plagiarism and will result in failure of the assignment, and potentially of the course. Willful and blatant incidents of plagiarism will be handed over to the Office of the Dean to be punished in accordance with University Policy.


    ASSIGNMENT 1 – Resume, cover letter: 2 pages (100)
    ASSIGNMENT 2 – Informative/Positive news memo: 1 page (100)
    ASSIGNMENT 3 – Improving a financial aid form: 1 page (25)
    ASSIGNMENT 4 – Negative message: 1 page (100)
    ASSIGNMENT 5 – Persuasive message: 2 pages (100)
    ASSIGNMENT 6a – Report Proposal: 1 page (50)
    ASSIGNMENT 6b – Report: 6-8 pages (200)
    ASSIGNMENT 6c – Report Progress Report: 1 page (25)
    ASSIGNMENT 6d – PowerPoints (100)
    QUIZZES – Ten weekly quizzes, and final (150)
    DISCUSSION BOARDS — 1200 words (200)
    Diagnostic memo — Pre and post-course: 1 page

    TOTAL POINTS – 1150


    90-100, 1035-1150, A
    87-89, 1001-1034, B+
    80-86, 920-1000, B
    77-79, 886-919, C+
    70-76, 805-885, C
    67-69, 771-804, D+
    60-66, 690-770, D
    Below 60%, Below 690, E