Warning: This is an archived course website that is part of my teaching portfolio, so some links may no longer work. Please contact me with any questions about this site.


The bulk of your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on four major assignments:

Unit 1: Business Correspondence

Businesses and organizations continually strive to satisfy their customers. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they fall short. In both situations, companies rely on customer feedback to know what they are doing well and what they need to change. In this assignment, you will contact two companies or organizations by letter to share your positive and negative experiences. Then you will assume the role of a customer satisfaction specialist and respond to a negative letter similar to the one you wrote.

Download Unit 1 assignment sheet.

Unit 2: Instructions

Instructions are the quintessential genre of technical communication. Not a day goes by that we don’t encounter some type of formal instructions, whether in a user manual that came with a technical device, on a help screen in a software program, or on a debit card reader at the grocery store. In recent years, instructions have become increasingly visual, spurred on by the ubiquity of computers and the internet in modern America. Today, instructions on almost any topic can be found online. For this assignment, you will create a step-by-step guide to help other people accomplish a specific task, then post your instructions on the internet and interact with the people who have read and/or used your instructions.

Download Unit 2 assignment sheet.

Unit 3: Collaborative Project

All organizations are constantly changing, and rhetoric is a powerful tool for managing change. For this assignment, your team will work with (or for) a real organization in need of change. Your major task is to identify an unresolved problem that is negatively affecting the organization or an unrealized opportunity that you believe would greatly benefit the organization. This problem or opportunity might be related to technology, communication, business/workflow processes, security, or any other number of topics. Although you may want to choose your current workplace as your project site, you could also offer your services to an academic department on campus, a friend’s workplace, or a non-profit organization in the community. However, the most important stipulation for this assignment is that the situation must be real, not hypothetical.

Download Unit 3 assignment sheet.

Unit 4: Persuasive Oral Presentation

Scenario: Your consulting team has been hired to help a major corporation understand and respond to the complaints that customers make about the company on the Internet. Your consulting contract specifies that you will analyze complaints filed on websites such as complaints.com, complaintsboard.com, my3cents.com, and getsatisfaction.com, then develop recommendations to help the company resolve its problem(s). You will present your recommendations to the company’s board of directors at its next quarterly meeting.

Download Unit 4 assignment sheet.