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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • English & Humanities • English

Business Writing ENGL-272

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 02
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 01/09/2012 to 12/21/2012
  • Modified 08/27/2012

Contact Information

Cynthia Brandon-Slocum

Office: Lee-Kildow Hall 204E

Phone: (208) 665-5067

Email: [email protected]


Office Hours
Tuesday & Thursday 2:30 - 3:30
Friday 12:00 - 12:30

If these times don't work, please email or talk to me about setting up another time to meet.

Meeting Times

LKH 207
Tuesday & Thursday
4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.


Business Writing offers instruction in the practical application of business writing principles. It includes business writing strategies for memos, letters, and reports, and emphasizes audience analysis, content planning, language effectiveness, and message layout. ENGL 272 helps develop writing skills necessary for effective business communication. It is required for some business and business related programs. Successful completion of English 101 with a C- or better is recommended. Lecture: 3 hours per week Recommended: ENGL 101


NIC has identified nine general education abilities that students will develop during their experience here. In this course, we will emphasize communication (reading and writing) and critical and creative thinking (applying business writing concepts to real business documents and writing projects).

 After completing English 272, students should be able


To use accurate formats for memos, e-mails, letters, and reports.


To use strategies and decision-making processes to organize content and ideas for diverse audiences.


To select language for tact and effect that appeals to diverse audiences.


To design the layout of a message so that a busy reader can skim.


To judge the effectiveness of their own writing and the writing of others based on specific criteria.


To edit and proofread for professional documents.



Business Documents –700 Points*

  1. Email Memo (50 pts)
  2. Adjustment Letter (100 pts)
  3. Bad News Letter (100 pts)
  4. Claim Letter (100 pts)
  5. Résumé (100 pts)
  6. Letter of Application (100 pts)
  7. Report & Transmittal Email (150 pts)

*Don’t worry; you will receive thorough instructions for each of the above assignments. When the time comes to create each of them, you’ll know all of the necessary details.

In-Class & Homework Assignment—100 Points
During our course you will be asked to complete a variety of tasks like rewriting problematic documents, providing peer feedback, or examining examples of technical documents. These activities are designed to strengthen the techniques you will be learning at the time.

Proposal Memos—100 Points
Throughout the semester, you will be asked to submit seven proposal memos that explain your intentions for an upcoming business document. Before the first proposal is due, you will be given instructions on what to include.

Quizzes—100 Points
There will be weekly quizzes on reading assignments from our textbook and one at the beginning of the semester on the syllabus. At the end of the semester, your lowest quiz score will be dropped from your total quiz points.

Final Grades
Business Documents: 700 Points | 70%
In-Class & Homework Assignments: 100 Points | 10%
Proposal Memos: 100 Points | 10%
Quizzes: 100 Points | 10%

Total: 1000 Points | 100%

Grading Scale

























Course Policies

Throughout the semester, you will be required to use Blackboard to post assignments, participate in discussions, and locate extra reading. I will also post updated copies of our course schedule, class handouts, and other important information. During regular class weeks, you are responsible for checking the site daily for any announcements.

If you are unable to attend class, stop by my office or contact your fellow classmates for any missed assignments and discussion information. I will not respond to emails asking what was missed in class. You may make up in-class work and quizzes by coming to my office within a week of the missed class.

If you expect to be absent on a day an assignment is due, contact me before that day to arrange a method of receiving it by the beginning of class (email, early drop off, have a classmate bring it, etc.) or the assignment will suffer the following late work consequences. If you are consistently late to class, points will be deducted from your in-class work. Of course, if you have an extenuating circumstance, please discuss this with me before.

Late Work
In the professional world, late work reflects poorly on the worker and often disrupts the workplace, but sometimes it is better to finish late than not at all. Homework assignments will not be accepted after their due date. Late proposal memos will receive a one point deduction per day. Any of the major seven assignments listed below will be deducted a full letter grade for each day they are late. Everyone will be provided with one exception, which means you may turn in one assignment, small or large, one day late without penalty. Please notify me that you would like to use your one exception when turning in the late assignment.

Email Etiquette
Because this is a business writing class, you are expected to compose professional emails that show you have taken time to consider, draft, and proofread what you are sending to your instructor. Each email should include a subject that includes your course section, a salutation (Dear, Hi, Hello, Good Afternoon), a properly punctuated and capitalized body that is typo-free and grammatically correct, and a closing (Thank You, Sincerely, Best) that is followed by your name. I will not respond to emails that do not follow our textbook's guidelines for professional email.

In-Class Behavior
Respectful behavior, both to your peers and your instructor, is mandatory. This means no rude comments, disrespectful body language, or distracting behavior. Most importantly, do not speak or distract others when someone is speaking. If your behavior becomes a problem, you will be asked to leave class and you will lose any quiz or in-class points for the day.

Laptops & Other Electronics
During periods when we are working in the computer lab, you will use computers for educational purposes only. If I see you with open programs and/or documents that are not pertinent to immediate class content and discussion, I will ask you to leave and you will lose any in-class work points for that day. You will not be issued any warnings about inappropriate computer use.

Cell phones should remain out of sight during every class period. Before the beginning of each class, please make sure your cell phone is turned off or on silent. If I see you with your cell phone, I will ask you to leave and you will lose any in-class work points for that day. You will not be issued any warnings about cell phone use.

Communication & Technical Difficulties
Communication is a huge part of being successful in a college course. If you have a question, concern, problem, or simply would like to talk about your writing, please feel free to send me an email, instant message, call, or stop by my office. If you are experiencing technical difficulties that disrupt your work or have a question about an assignment, contact me before the assignment is due, so we can find a solution.

Another large part of writing is the use of computers. As we all know, technology can fail and work can be lost. Always make sure to back up your work; computer errors will not excuse incomplete work. BACK UP YOUR WORK.


 Please find and print our complete schedule on Blackboard.

Division Policies

Division Policies

NIC English/Modern Languages Division


The English/Modern Languages Division has agreed upon a recommendation that students not miss more than the equivalent of two weeks in a single course, which means six absences in a three-day-per-week class, four absences in two-day-per-week class, two absences in a one-evening-per-week class, or two weeks of online participation.

Plagiarism Policy
NIC's English Department believes strongly in the ability of its students to:
1. write works in which they use their own ideas and words
2. correctly borrow the words and ideas of others

The department's definition of plagiarism comes from the Council of Writing Programs Administrators': In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (no common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.

Behaviors considered plagiarism would include:
1. Using someone else's exact words without using direct quotes.
2. Paraphrasing or summarizing someone's words or ideas without giving credit to the source's author.
3. Submitting another's work as the student's own. This includes a purchased paper, a borrowed paper, or portions of another person's work. NIC now subscribes to a plagiarism-prevention service, called, which is integrated with our Blackboard course software. When you turn in your assignments to this site, whether during the drafting process or on a final due date, the software compares your work to many resources on the world wide web, coming up with an "authenticity" report. You will receive more information on this process in class. To avoid plagiarism, cite sources carefully.
Behavior not considered plagiarism but of concern is sloppy documentation of words and ideas borrowed from another source and/or submitting an old paper as new work without the instructor's permission.

In addition to helping students with their current individual writing needs, the Writing Center upholds a student-centered environment that stresses the relationship between strong written and oral communication skills and success both in and beyond college. This environment not only helps students become more critical readers and more competent writers, but also promotes their success across the curriculum and encourages life-long learning.
Click on the link below for additional information.

The Writing Center: The Writing Center is located in Lee Hall Annex (behind Lee/Kildow Hall). It is open to all students across campus for help with their writing. They are open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Fridays. 

Institutional Policies


Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Policies

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.