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Informal Report Guidelines + Final Grading Policy

This final informal report is due in hard copy at the beginning of class on Friday, April 19th (the last day of classes).

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to 1) show you can create a document in the style and structure of an informal progress report and 2) use that style and structure to effectively communicate what you’re taking away from this class. Take a look at the beginning of chapter 10 (your final reading assignment) in your textbook. It says that reports:

“[N]ote the progress of ongoing activities or projects, or summarize the results of a completed project or investigation. They may also recommend follow-up work that should be performed on the conditions described” (350).

This is your goal with your final report–show me your progress in the course, summarize what you learned, set goals for your future self. This should be a practical application of the concepts, projects, assignments and discussions from the course. In other words, don’t just say you learned how to format and organize ideas in a letter; show me that you understand why using the appropriate format matters and how you can expect letters to come into play in your future career.

It’s is NOT enough to say “Memos will be useful” or “I will use email in my future jobs.” That’s a given. What do you now know to consider when you create these documents? What can you show me you’ve learned about composing them?

Format

Your report can be in the format of a letter, email or memo. (You must print it out regardless.) Whichever format you choose, you MUST abide by its structural guidelines, including all necessary elements as if this were a document you were giving to your boss. Excluding headings, your report should be no more than 2,000 words. Look to p. 352 for further guidelines on progress report structure.

Content

Ultimately, what you discuss in your report is up to you. If you think about your status as student being analogous to an employee and this course as a long-term project for your company, what would you tell your boss?

Note that reports often deal with things that went wrong, not just the good stuff. So if, for instance, you slacked off early in the term but really made a strong effort after spring break, say so and give evidence to support your claim. Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses in a savvy way is a useful skill to have and shows integrity.

Other things to consider: you may want to quote yourself from projects or assignments over the term as evidence of progress. You may want to discuss problems you encountered in the class and show how you sought to overcome them. You might think about the various assignments you were given and how you tackled each of them differently. If possible use numbers, figures or other quantifiable elements (you might want to do research to achieve this).

Finally, please note that you are NOT making a case for a specific letter grade in the course; you are creating a rhetorically effective document that proves your organizational and writing prowess. Structure it logically, write with elegance and provide appropriate examples to implicitly demonstrate the grade you deserve.

Final Grading

This report in conjunction with your finalized blog design and posts will make up a significant portion of your final grade. Here’s an approximate breakdown of how your final grade for the course will be assigned:

20% blog design and content, midterm evaluation memos

20% attendance, group work and participation

20% final informal report

10% job shadow revision

10% final presentation

10% resume and cover letter revision, Linkedin profile

10% reading quizzes and midterm exam

Remember that any late assignments from the term bring down your grade, as do attendance issues. Keep in mind that you must hand in all assignments in order to pass the course, even if they are late.

Please bring any questions about this assignment or finals to class.

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Peer Blog Evaluation Assignment, due 3/1

You must:

  • Format your evaluation in the style of a memo.
  • Characterize the blog as you experience it. What do you see as its overall tone? How does the writer address his/her readers? Would you suggest the writer adjust his/ her approach to the subject or audience?
  • Be written with with attention to tone. That means you follow the textbook’s guidelines for sensitive messages, couching the negative and avoid attacking or being rude to the recipient.
  • Reference and critique at least one post and one comment specifically – that means including quotations and/or direct references with useful analysis.
  • Provide both positive and negative feedback.
  • Provide critique on the design of the blog itself – things like color and layout, but also elements the blog could use, for instance, a more thorough “About” page, a calendar, a category cloud, etc.
  • Make actionable suggestions.
  • Proofread. More than 3 typos in your evaluation will result in a D on the assignment.
  • Be no more than 1,000 words (excluding the header)
  • Email your memo to your group member and cc me (use the robynjodlowski [at] yahoo.com address) no later than 9 p.m. on Friday, March 1. You may send it in the body of the email or as an attachment. You are responsible for ensuring the attachment works and will open.

An “A” evaluation has all of the “B” and “C” elements. The memo is thorough, includes several specific critiques, is helpful to the recipient in a practical way, organized in a logical and rhetorically effective manner, and is an engaging, direct, professional-sounding document (i.e. not read like a list of answers to the above bulleted requirements). It makes use of formatting options. It goes beyond the assignment guidelines, perhaps suggesting comparable websites or supporting research for its claims. In other words, it reads like a real-world document that the author has invested time into.

A “B” evaluation has all of the “C” elements, and offers thoughtful insights about the blog under discussion, referencing specific examples. The tone may fluctuate but mostly stays appropriate for sensitive messages.

A “C” evaluation is in proper memo format and follows all of the above bulleted guidelines. It offers comments and advice, but in vague or unclear way (e.g. “This post is pretty good.” or “I like the color scheme.” A more specific, A- or B-level critique would be: “The white background feels clean, which is logical since you’re writing about food safety. Though I find the orange font bright, I wonder if it’s too hard on some readers’ eyes.”). The memo covers all major critiques and praiseworthy elements, but perhaps skims over some of the more nuanced potential suggestions.

A “D” is in the wrong format, not proofread, late, or in some way incomplete.

As a reminder: no blog post or comments are due this Friday.

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