Posted 08/22/2008 - 20:25 by admin
Instructor and Course Information
English 420E, "Business Writing for Entrepreneurs"
Catherine A Shuler
Office Hrs: 11am-1pm TTh
Office: Heavilon 220
English 420E : Business Writing for Entrepreneurs endeavors to teach students the rhetorical principles and writing practices useful for launching and nurturing successful entrepreneurial ventures. It teaches the rhetorical practices that help students shape their business communication ethically, for multiple audiences, in a variety of professional and entrepreneurial situations. The curriculum will also include readings that emphasize the importance of writing, communication, and ethics in entrepreneurship and innovation throughout an array of business, industry, and social contexts.
As an option course for the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in association with the Burton D. Morgan Center in Discovery Park, the English 420E curriculum is informed by current research in rhetoric, professional writing, and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, it is guided by the practices of business, industry, and society at large, as well as the needs of Purdue students and programs. All sections of English 420E are offered in networked computer classrooms to ensure that students taking the course are prepared for the writing environments of the 21st-century workplace.
As aspiring entrepreneurs, students are expected to work harder, display more individual initiative, and demonstrate professional-level work and conduct. Students are responsible for producing and documenting superior work, as aligned with the expectations of 21-century entrepreneurs.
You will have one required text for this class: Public and Professional Writing: Ethics, Imagination and Rhetoric by Anne Surma. Instead of additional textbooks, the other readings for English 420E will be drawn from a variety of sources, including academic journals, popular-press magazines and books, blogs and websites, and narratives from successful and struggling entrepreneurs. Course readings cover rhetorical principles, entrepreneurship, job application materials, market analysis, and business plan structures. Furthermore, students are encouraged and sometimes required to find additional readings to supplement their learning.
Writing in Context
- writing for a range of defined audiences and stakeholders;
- negotiating the ethical dimensions of workplace and/or business communication;
- representing one's business goals and innovative ideas persuasively, in written and oral forms.
- Understand, develop and deploy various strategies for planning, researching, drafting, revising, and editing the important and necessary documents of entrepreneurship, including business plans, marketing materials, white papers, resumes, trademark applications, and grant proposals, both individually and collaboratively
- Select and use appropriate technologies that both effectively and ethically address professional situations and audiences.
- Build professional ethos through documentation and accountability.
Make rhetorical design decisions about workplace documents commonly used by entrepreneurs, including
- understanding and adapting to genre conventions and audience expectations;
- interpreting and arguing with design;
- drafting, researching, testing, and revising visual designs and information architecture.
understanding and implementing design principles of format and layout;
Learn and apply strategies for successful teamwork and collaboration, such as
- working online with colleagues;
- determining individual and group roles and responsibilities;
- managing team conflicts constructively;
- responding constructively to peers' work
- soliciting and using peer feedback effectively;
- achieving team and business goals.
Understand and use various research methods to produce professional documents, including
- analyzing professional contexts;
- locating, evaluating, and using print and online information selectively for particular audiences and purposes;
- triangulating sources of evidence;
- selecting appropriate primary research methods, such as interviews, observations, focus groups, and surveys to collect data;
- working ethically with research participants.
Use and evaluate the writing technologies frequently used in the workplace and for entrepreneurship, such as emailing, instant messaging, image editing, video editing, presentation design and delivery, HTML editing, Web browsing, content management, and desktop publishing technologies.
English 420E provides a rhetorical foundation applicable to the writing and persuasion necessary for entrepreneurial success. Rhetoric provides students the tools to produce effects through symbols, develop persuasive arguments, forge identifications, generate reputations, understand audiences, and focus and maintain audience attention. All course components are inspired by key concepts catered to the specific rhetorical needs of aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Analyzing the needs, values, identities, and language of potential business markets.
- Determining the purpose and expectations of multiple document genres by analyzing the products of particular discourse communities.
- Understanding the social role of entrepreneurs and the necessity of building productive relationships in order to facilitate and maintain a successful business venture.
- Productively working together with class members as part of a team.
- Finding ways to demonstrate the importance of individuals’ contributions and the success of a business.
- Creating internal and external documents to facilitate initial and ongoing business operation.
- Establishing the personal and institutional credibility necessary for business success.
- Understanding entrepreneurial ethical practices and developing an ethical reputation.
- Assessing business and social contexts to determine timeliness of business ventures.
- Developing skills and initiative necessary for self-motivated research in an entrepreneurial context.
- Determining and evaluating the information needs of your specific enterprise and selecting relevant resources.
Course Technology Requirements
In order to participate fully in the course, you should already be able to use the technology platform and applications listed below. If you can’t, you will need to learn them NOW.
- Mac OS X or Windows XP or Vista
- Microsoft Office for the PC or Mac (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) or Apple counterparts (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)
- Web Browser (e.g., Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer)
- E-mail Program (e.g., Purdue Webmail, Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird, Gmail, etc.). Although, I will only respond to and send e-mails from PURDUE UNIVERSITY @purdue.edu e-mail addresses
- Adobe Acrobat and Reader (for PDF documents, collaborative review)
Familiarity and facility with certain technologies is crucial for participation and success in the course. If you need any assistance now or at any point during the semester, please do not hesitate to ask. Seeking out the proper resources to solve your problems is an ongoing theme of this course.
During the semester, you'll need regular, daily access to the Internet and e-mail. Because the course home page is the main locus of the class community, you are responsible for reading and keeping current with all content posted there, including what has been submitted by both the instructor and your fellow students. You'll be responsible for configuring your personal system(s) to access course materials, to read course e-mail and participate in online discussions, and to submit your work when asked. Very early in the semester, you will be asked to demonstrate that you can meet these responsibilities:
- Register for the course website and complete your profile information
- Post an introductory message about yourself and your interests
- Read the course description, calendar, and project descriptions, then ask questions when you are uncertain about requirements or activities
- Set up your @purdue.edu e-mail or an alternative that you can access regularly and reliably—although, I will ONLY accept e-mails from @purdue.edu.
- Become proficient sending and receiving e-mail attachments, resolving file compatibility issues, and following professional e-mail decorum (we will discuss this in detail in class)
- Check the course calendar daily (at least) for the timely completion of assignments
- Become more proficient with unfamiliar computer technologies and applications, such as the creation of PDF files
- Maintain back-up copies of all assignments via your home directory, disks, USB drives, or CDs.
If at any time you have problems accessing the Internet from home, you'll need to find a public lab or connection point as an alternative. Problems with computers or other technologies will not be an excuse for falling behind or failing to complete required assignments. If your Internet service goes down, use another computer. If your computer breaks, use another computer. In other words, find a way to complete the assignments on time. Because computer problems are a fact of life, always work to complete your assignments early and make frequent backups to multiple media.
Course Projects and Activities
Project 1: Business Idea Pitch
(5% of Course Grade)
Your first project/major assignment for class is the Business Idea Pitch. Over the course of your time here at Purdue, you have certainly been asked to give a presentation or two in front of your classmates. And, you have surely had the opportunity to develop some ideas for possible businesses you might pursue upon graduation (or, you likely wouldn't be in this class). Project 2 is designed to put those skills and ideas to the test--to allow you to present your ideas in a succinct, cogent, and engaging manner.
For this individual assignment (there will be several group assignments and activities in the course), you are being asked to prepare and present an elevator-style pitch for your unique idea for a business, product, or service that you might consider pursuing upon graduation and entrance into the real world. You will pitch your idea to the entire class, including your instructor, where the audience will vote for the top five ideas/pitches in the class. Your pitches will also be video-taped, so that we (you) can watch them, analyze them, and improve on them (if needed) for future presentation/pitches. In the end, the Five winners of the Business Idea Pitch Competition will be project managers for the entire semester, up through the Business Plan Pitch, working in groups to develop their business idea. Make no mistake, this is a competition, and the rewards are great, as explicated below. This will be a fun, if not nerve-racking beginning to what I hope to be a great academic experience.
Project 2: Job Application
(10% of Course Grade)
For Project two, you will be asked to complete several tasks and compose several documents, some of which depend upon your "role" in the class—Project Manager or Employee (e.g. resume, cover letter, job ads, business mission statement, etc.). Regardless of your role, the overarching goal of the Job Application Project is to create, develop, or illustrate your professional ethos and relevant skill-sets to your audience(s). In essence, you are advocating for yourself in this project: your skills, your ideas, your experience, and your ability to serve as a productive member of a group (a group conducting relevant entrepreneurial tasks as they relate to the major projects for the course).
Project 3: Market Analysis/Strategy
(15% of Course Grade)
As a prelude to and fundamental component of your Comprehensive Business Plan (Project 4), you will research, draft, and design an all-inclusive Market Analysis and Marketing Strategy for your team Project Manager’s business idea. This analysis and strategy will give you the opportunity to do some extensive research, analysis, and synthesis of your specific market in order to gain a greater understanding of your business or industry, including the potential for positive revenue, your competitive edge within that market, and a comprehensive strategy for marketing your future business. Further, you will need to keep your multiple audiences in mind when doing this research (investors vs. customers). In total, your market analysis should be quite comprehensive (~10-15 pages) and make clear your understanding of where and how you will fit into the market and how you plan to position your company.
Project 4: Comprehensive Business Plan
(25% of Course Grade)
For Project 4, which is inextricably linked to Projects 1, 2, and 3, you will be asked to research, draft, design, and polish a comprehensive Business Plan for your Project Manager's business idea. This project will be a collaborative effort with your entrepreneur teams, as formulated through projects 1, 2, and 3. This project will give you the opportunity to work both independently and collaboratively, situations you are bound to encounter in your future entrepreneurial exploits. Further, it allows you to gain, foster, and refine several necessary skills of any entrepreneur or business owner: research, data/information selection, critical thinking, writing, designing, etc.; what you are sure to gain from this project is virtually limitless (or, it could be).
Project 5: Business Plan Presentation
(5% of Course Grade)
As an opportunity to practice your presentation skills and receive feedback from interested parties, you will be presenting your working business plans (business model) to an audience. You will have a total of 20 minutes to present your business. Essentially, you will be presenting to your classmates as if they were potential supporters or investors--what type of investor (e.g. Angel, VC, bank, etc.) all depends on your business model. Your ultimate purpose of this presentation is to secure funding for your business idea. To be clear, this presentation should endeavor to gain interest in your business, not your business plan. Thus, you are not presenting in a "here is what we did for our business plan" fashion. Rather, you should present your business and all of its merits, asking for financial support to get you off the ground (which will, ultimately, lead to profit for all involved parties).
Project 6: Elevator Pitch
(5% of Course Grade)
Once you have completed and presented your business plans as a group, each individual group member will perform an Elevator Pitch of the business idea not to exceed 2 minutes. The criteria for and specifics of such a pitch is directly aligned with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Elevator Pitch Competition. Thus, this is an excellent opportunity for you to practice for this year's competition and get some early feedback.
Project 7: Employee Manual
(10% of Course Grade)
Every business needs to have an in-house employee manual which explains company policies and serves as a contract between the employer and employees. A well-written, legally sound employee manual provides the documentation necessary to keep a business functioning by creating uniform policies that protect the company and its employees. With this in mind, each group will create a short employee manual for the business described in their business plan. The manual will provide the policies needed to begin hiring employees and start conducting business.
The only deliverable for this project is a professional, complete, and well-designed 10-15 page employee manual. This employee manual will establish policies for workers employed by the business described in your group's business plan. The employee manual must include a cover page, a table of contents, and consistent formatting for all sections.
Project 8: Documentation Project
(20% of Course Grade)
The ability to document your personal contribution to a group project is an invaluable skill. Not only does careful documentation allow for you to prove what you have done and when you have done it, but also that you have the organizational and necessary rhetorical skills to be a success in the greater business world. Documentation comes in many forms, ranging from the financial to the personal. For this project in English 420E, beginning with your initial group meeting, you will be responsible for documenting—and ultimately presenting—your contribution to your team's progress throughout the semester. This documentation project will be comprised of three major components:
- A weekly record of your contributions to the group;
- A rhetorically-sophisticated, well-designed, well-written, and self-explanatory document that details your individual contribution to the group;
- A collaboration evaluation project.
- Business Idea Pitch - 5%
- Job Application Project - 10%
- Elevator Pitch - 5%
- Documentation Project – 20%
- Attendance, Participation, Daily Work - 5%
- Market Analysis /Strategy - 15%
- Business Plan - 25%
- Business Plan Presentation - 5%
- Employee Manual – 10%
The major projects in the course will be comprised of several components, each of which will be worth a percentage of your final and project grade. For the illustration of contribution to the collaborative projects, students will complete the required Documentation Project (which serves other purposes, as discussed during the course).
All major assignments will be graded on the standard plus-minus letter-grade scale:
A = 100-94, A- = 93-90, B+ = 89-87, B = 86-84, B- = 83-80, C+ = 79-77, C = 76-74, C- = 73-70, D+ = 69-67, D = 66-64, D- = 63-60, F = 59 or below.
Students must participate in all of the major projects and complete a majority of the required weblog posting assignments in order to pass this class.
Teamwork is a required component of the course. You and your project team members are responsible for updating one another and me about assignment development and progress. In addition, you also are responsible for negotiating together all aspects of your work, including planning, drafting, revising, file managing, and scheduling of assignments. When a collaborative project is assigned, you will receive explicit guidelines for successful collaboration. Individual group members will complete Collaborative Evaluation Forms. For more information about good principles of collaboration, see the brochure, Group Work and Collaborative Writing.
Attendance is required at all scheduled meetings, unless otherwise noted. Since you will be working in project teams for much of the semester, you will also be required to attend any scheduled out-of-class meetings with your team to complete course assignments. In this class, you receive “three for free,” which means that you can miss three classes without formal penalty (*See ‘Late Work’ and ‘Extension Procedure’ sections for more information). But, any more than three absences may result in your final grade being lowered by as much as a letter grade.
More than five absences (on your sixth) may result in a failing grade for the course. Excused absences may be granted for university-sponsored events only, provided you make a written request to me no less than two weeks in advance, provide me with proper documentation, and complete any required work before the due date. This type of absence is the only “excused” absence; all others (including sickness, travel, snow, family issues, hunger, your birthday, etc.) will count toward your three. So, use your absences wisely—missing class has a tendency to adversely affect your grade, regardless of how many times you do so. Further, being late by more than 10 minutes will result in an absence; if you are late, you are absent, so don't be late.
Of course, we all run into problems over the course of a semester—personal, family, etc.—so, always remember to keep me informed about the goings-on related to class. I will never excuse you from an absence after-the-fact, but if you come to me ahead of time, I might be inclined to cut you some slack. I am a human, after all. So, just communicate with me.
Disruptive Technologies and Behaviors
Cell phones, iPods, iPhones, Blackberrys, and any other personal technologies should not be used inside a college classroom. Thus, in English 420E, they are not allowed. Turn them off upon entering the classroom. If you are found to be using any such devices, you will immediately be asked to leave the class and will receive no credit for the day, as per the policies and consequences explicated herein.
Further, any non-class-related use of the computers is considered disruptive to the classroom environment (e.g. checking or using e-mail, Facebook, IM, Sports Illustrated.com, etc.). Because all classes are held in internet-capable computer labs, the temptation to use the machines in such a way is great. Doing so is not only disruptive, it is rude. Thus, if you are found to be using them in such a manner, you will be asked to leave class and receive no credit for the day, as per the policies and consequences explicated herein.
Late work, for the most part (see the ‘Extension Procedure’ below), will receive no credit in this class. That is to say that, when it comes to late work, there is no such thing; the vast majority of missed class assignments cannot be made up and will result in a zero if not completed on time. If you miss a quiz, test, in-class writing, blog-posting, or other assignment or activity for any reason (including absence), you cannot make them up, and will receive a zero on those course components. Also, you must be IN CLASS to hand in any work that is due, unless directed otherwise: If you are absent on the day an assignment or project is to be turned in, you will receive no credit, regardless of your reasons for not turning in the work.
Should a serious and unavoidable problem arise, you will need to obtain an extension from me, your instructor, in order to receive any credit for your work PRIOR to not turning it in on time. The policy for extension is as follows and requires that you:
- contact me in writing prior to the deadline (the same day will not be sufficient lead time), asking for an extension on your assignment/project;
- provide a detailed explanation of the status of the assignment and reasons you feel you deserve an extension.
- This is where you pose an argument and provide supporting and convincing evidence to justify its granting (think carefully about the rhetorical sophistication it might take to convince your professor that YOU deserve to break a course policy—while the others in the class don’t)
- propose an extension timeline, which includes the new deadline (i.e. when you will turn it in)
- wait to hear from me whether or not the extension has been granted before determining you will not turn it in on time.
Purdue students and their instructors are expected to adhere to guidelines set forth by the Dean of Students in "Academic Integrity: A Guide for Students," which students are encouraged to read here:
The preamble of this guide states the following: "Purdue University values intellectual integrity and the highest standards of academic conduct. To be prepared to meet societal needs as leaders and role models, students must be educated in an ethical learning environment that promotes a high standard of honor in scholastic work. Academic dishonesty undermines institutional integrity and threatens the academic fabric of Purdue University. Dishonesty is not an acceptable avenue to success. It diminishes the quality of a Purdue education, which is valued because of Purdue's high academic standards."
Academic dishonesty is defined as follows: "Purdue prohibits "dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty."
[University Regulations, Part V, Section III, B, 2, a] Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that "the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest." [University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972]"
If you have any questions about this policy, please ask.
In Case of Campus Emergency
In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. You can acquire updated information from the course website, by emailing me, or by contacting me through the English Department at 765-494-3740.
Posted 12/15/2008 - 17:39 by credeniu
The article discusses the ethical decisions that need to be made when making graphs. It is important that graphs are not made to display an excess of information. Graphs should be used to give the reader a better understanding of the point that is trying to be made. Developing good visual images is a key to getting someone to believe an idea. When people can see something working they are more likely to give into the idea.
Posted 12/04/2008 - 20:38 by pareshkhatwani
The Final Wrap Up or Down
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Note :: Organize Slides Accordingly
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:59 by motero
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:53 by jsaunders
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:49 by knashert
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:48 by motero
Here is our final marketing A&S. We've worked very hard on it. Please tell us what you think.
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:44 by gmack
Posted 10/30/2008 - 19:41 by knashert