Course Syllabus

English 112 Online

Report and Technical Writing


Instructor: Ms. Laura Fitzwater                                                                             

Phone: 215-751-8989 Ext. 0068                                                                            

E-Mail: Please use Canvas email first.



Required Texts:  Essentials of Business Communication, 9th edition, by Guffey and Lowey

                              LB Brief, Jane Aaron, or any college writing handbook


Required Materials:

Flash/thumb drive on which you will save all of your work

(Even though you are doing everything on your PC, please back up assignments for your own protection.)


Course Description:

“This course introduces students to many typical modes of workplace communication. Topics include audience analysis, technical research and report writing, and Internet use. Report and Technical Writing provides preparation for writing assignments at the 200 level, while allowing students to continue to develop skills learned in English 101.”   Prerequisite: ENGL 101.

The course will be conducted entirely on the internet, and students will have new assignments every week. Basic keyboarding skills as well as an e-mail account and some knowledge of the Internet are necessary.  We will spend some time early in the course on the fundamentals of verbal and nonverbal communication, move on to memo and letter writing, then to the basics of Internet and print research. Finally we will use these skills to write a research paper.

We will review some basic grammar, but you should already have knowledge of such things as subject-verb agreement, tense, punctuation, and spelling.

 Course Goals:

Technical writing has been defined as writing that people have to read, as opposed to literature, which people presumably read for pleasure.  What differentiates one definition of technical writing from another is the purpose of the writer: for whom and for what purpose is the writing intended?  For purposes of this course, the term “technical writing” refers to that mode of communication appropriate to business, industry, and academic writing.  It will not include writing software programs or creating websites.


Major aims of this course are to help you improve your thinking and writing, to analyze the needs of your audience, to use the writing process to write letters and reports, to learn organizational and planning skills necessary to do technical writing, to learn research-based writing skills, and to write papers utilizing sources, both print and online, in addition to yourself. To that end we will work on reading, summarizing, synthesizing, research, and rhetorical skills.  Students who satisfactorily complete English 112 will be able to write business documents including letters, reports, and research-based papers appropriate to general business use. 


Course Requirements:

There will be weekly writing assignments, several Forums, and a final research paper. We will also have at least one Live Chat, which requires your attendance.

Writing Assignments: Writing assignments are due every Saturday by 11:59 p.m. You will have one or two writing assignments every week. Please complete the assignments after reading the corresponding chapter in the textbook. You can find specific directions for each assignment on the Assignment page and on the Timeline in Webstudy.

Forums: Throughout the semester, you will be required to respond to 6 Forums, 5 of which are graded Forums. Forums are our way of conversing in our online environment. In order to accomplish good communication, when we have a forum, you should visit several times per week. During your first visit, you will respond to the question posed. During subsequent visits, you will respond to other posts and to the responses to your posts. I am looking for activity and the ability to respond well within each topic. Spelling counts, too!

Research Paper: The research paper will be based on sources and must include citations in appropriate format (MLA).  You will receive additional information on this during the semester.

Access to the Internet is essential for course communication since this is an online course.

**If you have computer problems during the semester that affect your ability to turn in your assignments, contact me immediately, either by phone or through another computer. The internet is available at the college or at public libraries.


Assignments turned in late will be penalized; however, all assignments must be completed and turned in for a passing grade in the course.  At my discretion, assignments with a grade of C or lower may be revised for a better grade.  However, they must have been turned in on time, and must be revised within one week of the date they are returned.  If I return an assignment to you for revision, no grade will be assigned until the revision is complete.


A portion of the grade will be based on your contribution to the group dynamic: this includes timeliness in turning in assignments, the quality of feedback in the forum, and your willingness to work within the community of the course. Grades break down as follows:


Forum Participation                                        20%

Homework (exercises)                                   20%

Document Assignments (letters,memos)     30%

Formal Research Report                                30%


Save a copy of everything you do for class, and back that up for good measure.  I am not responsible for lost material. Also, I will comment on all of your assignments, so keep a copy of each assignment to refer to when reading my comments.



Attendance will be measured by the timely completion of assignments and forums. If you miss two consecutive deadlines, your grade will be lowered; if you miss three deadlines during the semester, you may fail the course or you may be administratively withdrawn.

Because all assignments will be on the website, there is no excuse for you not to hand in the assignment on time. Most assignments are due on Saturday. Please check the Timeline and/ or calendar for due dates. Please notify me immediately if you do not understand an assignment or if an assignment will be late. 


Withdrawals and Incompletes:

If you are thinking about withdrawing from the course, please speak with me first.  However, it is your responsibility to manage your registration, so please watch the deadlines and keep track of our progress in the course. I reserve the right to withdraw students who stop attending, or who don’t do the assigned work.  No grade of Incomplete will be given unless all the assignments up to the date of your request have been completed, and then only if a written request demonstrating good cause is made.


Plagiarism, the passing of work not your own, is against college policy as well as my own.  Anyone caught plagiarizing or cheating will fail the course.  Your writing is distinctive, and can be recognized by its style: using other people’s writing or editing will result in a grade of “F” for the course.

One of the purposes of this course is to teach you how to write using sources outside of yourself, and to correctly acknowledge the sources.  As you learn to give credit where credit is due, you will contribute to the communication not only of information but also of knowledge in the world.  Enabling others to find what you found where you found it and to build on it is a crucial part of that process.  Collaborative research and writing is not plagiarizing; crediting your sources is fundamental to academic integrity.


Disabilities/Special Needs:

In order to receive classroom or testing accommodations, students with disabilities must be registered with the Center on Disability, and must provide their instructors with accommodation forms that have been prepared by a counselor in the Center.




English 112 Online


Week 1                 Getting familiar with online learning. Look through the Canvas website to become familiar with the tabs, email, etc. Also, look through your text book to see what it has to offer in addition to the chapters we will read. Then, read Chapter 1 (Workplace Communication) in textbook. Complete the assignment on the website. Respond to the Discussion “Getting to know you.” Attend the First Week Conference.


Week 2                 Read Chapter 2 (Planning Business Messages) and complete the assignment on the Assignment page. Visit the Student Lounge Discussion.


Week 3                 Read Chapter 3 (Composing business Messages) and complete the assignment on the                                              Assignment page. Respond to the Discussion question.


Week 4                 Read Chapter 4 (Revising Business Messages) and complete assignment on the Assignment page.


Week 5                 Read Chapter 5 (Electronic Messages and Digital Media) and complete the writing assignments. Respond to the Discussion question.


Week 6                 Read Chapter 6 (Positive Messages) and complete the writing assignments. Read Final Paper information.


Week 7                 Read Chapter 9 (Informal Reports) and complete the writing assignments. Review the                                              MLA Documentation website linked to the Module, as well as the                                                                 plagiarism/documentation              handouts. Review also the sections on plagiarism and MLA                                       documentation in your college writing handbook.


Week 8                 Read Chapter 10 (Proposals and Formal Reports) and complete the writing assignments.                                              Write one paragraph describing your final paper topic.


Week  9                Read Chapter 7 (Negative Messages) and complete the writing assignments. Respond to the Discussion question.


Week  10             Read Chapter 8 (Persuasive Messages) and complete writing assignments. Respond to the                         Discussion question.


Week 11                             Read Chapter 12 (Business Presentations) and complete the writing assignments. A rough                      draft of your final paper is due.


Week 12              Read Chapter 13 (The Job Search). Using a Word template or one of your own, construct a résumé, using the type that suits your experiences best. Using a job description from an online jobsite, compose and send a cover letter, a résumé, and a copy of the job description as attachments on the Assignment page. Respond to the Discussion question.


Week 13              Read Chapter 14 (Interviewing and Following Up) and complete the writing assignments. Work on revising your final paper.


Week 14              MLA Citation review. See the Module and the Assignment page.


Week 15              Exam week. Final paper due. See the Module or the Assignment page for the due date.


General Scoring Guide

Grade of A—Exemplary

  • Addresses the exercise fully and explores the issues thoughtfully
  • Displays single, distinct focus
  • Shows substantial depth, fullness, and complexity of thought
  • Demonstrates clear, focused, unified and coherent organization
  • Is fully developed and detailed
  • Evidences superior control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition; may have a few minor flaws

Grade of B--Proficient

  • Adequately addresses the exercises and explores the issues
  • Generates single focus
  • Shows some depth and complexity of thought
  • Is effectively organized
  • Is well developed, with supporting detail
  • Demonstrates control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition; may have a few flaws.

Grade of C---Adequate

  • Displays single focus
  • Adequately addresses the exercises and explores the issues
  • Shows clarity of thought but may lack complexity
  • Is organized
  • Is adequately developed, with some detail
  • Demonstrates competent writing; may have some flaws

Grade of D—Limited Command

  • Attempts to focus; may drift or shift focus
  • May distort or neglect parts of the exercises
  • May be simplistic, generic, or stereotyped in thought
  • May demonstrate problems in organization
  • May pose generalizations without supporting detail  or detail without generalizations; may be undeveloped
  • May show patterns or flaws in language, syntax or mechanics.

Grade of F—Inadequate Command

  • Responds minimally to assignments; uncertain focus
  • Inadequately addresses and explores exercises
  • Demonstrates little, if any planning , organization
  • Chooses random, inappropriate or barely apparent details
  • Displays lack of development and complexity of thought
  • Errors so severe that they detract from meaning 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due