Writing Correspondence

This is the post for the September 18, 2014 class meeting.

Class Work for September 18

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Talk about kinds of correspondence.
  • Learn about you attitude.
  • Post about your field for Project 2.
  • Set up your spreadsheet.

Important Dates

  • TODAY, Thursday, Sept 18 by 11:55 PM: Project 1: Professional Biography Statement Deadline (end of grace period)
  • September 25: Rough Drafts for Peer Feedback, due by noon
  • September 30: Due date for Project #2 (no forum posts will be due that day)
  • October 7: Grace period ends. All work must be in by 11:55 PM

Kinds of Correspondence

Chapter 9, “Writing Correspondence,” discusses letters, memos, and email messages. If your experience will be anything like mine, you will probably write more email messages than any other kind of correspondence in your day-to-day work.

The table in the textbook on p. 219 outlines the differences between types of correspondence. Use the information there as a guideline, but also pay attention to the practices where you work. It’s completely possible for one company to rely on formal letters and another company to rely almost exclusively on email messages. There is no universal right decision. Instead, there are decisions that are right because they match a company’s or organization’s standard practices. Let the company’s practices be your guide.

Remember that the “Writer’s Checklist” (pp. 238-239) gives you a nice summary of the important concepts in the chapter. If you are writing the optional memo for Project 2, be sure to use the Memos section of the checklist as you write and revise.

Using You Attitude

You Attitude is the concept of focusing on the needs and interests of the reader in technical and business writing. It’s all about seeing things from the audience’s perspective and situating information so that readers understand and accept it.

The textbook has a short explanation on pp. 220–221, and you can find more information in “What Is the ‘You Attitude’?

Posting About Your Field

Today’s forum post will help you begin Project 2. I’ve outlined below what I would like you to do. You can’t do today’s posts incorrectly. Just begin gathering ideas according to the directions. Also you’re not in competition with one another. Don’t worry if someone is further along than you are.

  1. Go to the Project 2: Analysis of Writing in Your Field forum.

  2. Create a New Topic, and use a subject line that includes your name (or nickname) and your career/field. I would create “Traci, college writing instructor.” Be as specific as you can be with your career/field. For example, don’t say, “computer science,” if you could say, “Android Game Development.” Adding your career to the subject line will help with the process of replying to one another.

  3. In the body of your message, provide some background on your career/field choice. Tell us a little bit about the field and how you ended up in it. Think of your audience as people who do not know the nuances of your career options. Explain your career in lay terms. Aim for a few sentences here.

  4. Next, tell us a little bit about your experience with writing in your field. Have you done lots of writing? Have you watched others? Again, you just need a few sentences.

  5. Finally, brainstorm some of the different kinds of writing people do in your career/field. Aim for at least 5, and include a few words about how the writing is used if you can.

  6. Review your response, and add headings for each of the three sections to help organize your post. Submit your post when you happy with what you have.

  7. Reply to a classmate’s post, offering suggestions and encouragement. Choose a post that no one else has replied to so that we can be sure everyone gets a response.

  8. (Optional) Write a second reply to someone else. Use the career info in the subject line to find someone in a field similar to your own if you can. Again, offer suggestions and encouragement.

Setting Up Your Spreadsheet

If you have never worked with the spreadsheet tool in Google Drive before, please explore it a little bit in the next few days so that you can ask any questions you need to. You can set up your spreadsheet similar to the example, but feel free to add or change the column headings to fit the writing in your field.

If you need a tutorial, go to the Virginia Tech login for Lynda.com, and then watch the section on Working with spreadsheets. You are only entering text in your spreadsheets, so you don’t need to worry about making calculations or using functions and formulas. If you run into trouble, post a question in the Questions about Project 2 section of the forums or email me directly.