About

Prof Write at USC is a class blog for Engl 795, Teaching Professional Writing and Rhetoric. The class will respond to weekly readings by developing an assignment idea based on the research, philosophies, theories, or concepts found in one or more of the readings for that week. This will be an inventional space to share and think through ideas. In addition to assignment ideas, which can be in various stages of development, the class will regularly post links and resources for teaching technical and business writing. These could be links to readings that might be good for undergraduates; links to scholarly articles, sites, or databases; links to tutorials or new technologies that might be useful, etc. Eventually I’m hoping that the site will function as an assignment database, resource, and online community for everyone who teaches these courses at USC.

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One response to “About

  • lbailey888

    I’ve been troubled this week as I’ve introduced business memos to my business writing classes. I feel compelled to complicate the sample memos found in their text. I’ve explained that while memos all have certain things in common (genre of memo), they are also going to differ greatly, in the actual world, in many ways from the examples in the text. This was greeted with some puzzled looks. So I tried to explain further by giving some concrete examples. I stated that none of the memos I have encountered in the world look exactly like any of the examples in the book. I explained the ways that memos in law firms and from Judges differ, as general groups, from the examples in their text, and how each law firm also has its own idiosyncracies. Now the puzzled looks were looks of alarm. They have a memo due on Monday, and instead of further clarifying the information about memos found in their text, I have muddied up the waters. I somewhat unsatisfactorily concluded by telling them they will have to determine what purposes each memo is supposed to serve, what audience(s) each memo will be going to (including that audience’s expectations of what memos should look like and do), and the general context that these hypothetical future memos will be written in.

    In 795 class today I was feeling dissatisfied with how I handled this for my students. Then an assignment idea occurred to me. Instead of me blabbering on about the wide and varied genre of the business memo, I could have had each of them try to find a business memo on the internet from a company or business that they could hypothetically end up working for. They could bring these examples to class in electronic form, and then we could compare them, talk about the differences (in format as well as purpose, goals, and context), and talk about the similarities. This could illustrate the variety of memos found in the business world without confounding my students regarding how they should prepare their memo assignment. This could give them options to choose from as they make their rhetorical decisions. I wish I had thought of this in time for this semester, but I’ll try to implement this in the fall. Maybe I can do some of these “genre study” assignments with other genres at other points during this semester.

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