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Workplace Writing

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 1118
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is designed for students in the Print Futures Professional Writing Program as an introduction to workplace writing: that is, writing governed by the constraints of audience, purpose and context. Students will learn to differentiate between informational, persuasive and researched writing tasks, and will consider various organizational strategies for fulfilling specific purposes for specific audiences.
Course Content

Discourse Theory

The student will:

  1. examine and summarize applicable theories, including, among others, those provided by  Kinneavy,  Flower and Hayes, Bitzer, MacKinnon, and Selzer
  2. analyze the distinctions between various genres and modes of discourse: persuasive, informational expressive, instructional
  3. analyze the specific characteristics of genres and rhetorical situations
  4. produce written samples of specific genres

Context, Audience and Purpose

The student will study the rhetorical situations of non-academic texts, and:

  1. establish the characteristic identity of potential readers for particular purposes and exigencies;  establish the social/cultural context of the reader; clarify the expectations to the reader
  2. clarify the textual and subtextual requirements of particular genres and rhetorical situations; identify  the focus of the text: writer-based versus reader-based; direct versus indirect;  purposeful versus reflective
  3. analyze the typical  reader's  response:
  • acquisition and retention of information
  • need for visual aids
  • relationship of style and organization to reader efficiency
  • importance of diction
  • produce written examples
  • Workplace Writing Conventions

    The student will:

    1. examine genre and social context
    2. examine specific writing situations

    Developmental & Coherence Strategies

    The student will:

    1. use standard developmental strategies, including definition, sequence, description, comparison, contrast, analysis, and example
    2. analyze effectiveness of text in relation to sentence and discourse level coherence (readability): a series of exercises to be completed from Vande Kopple’s Clear and Coherent Prose
    3. study and practice summary strategies
    Methods Of Instruction

    This course will utilize a combination of classroom activities (collaborative work on exercises and assignments, revising and editing workshops) and lecture/seminar.  Under the instructor’s guidance, students will learn to integrate discourse theory into actual writing practice and will produce typical workplace writing tasks for particular purposes and audiences.

    Means of Assessment

    Evaluation will be as follows:

    Summary  15%
    Rhetorical Analysis    15%
    Definition by Comparison/Contrast 20%
    Text Analysis 15%
    Instructions (Genre Analysis) 20%
    Instructions Sample and Analysis 15%
    Learning Outcomes

    Students will be introduced to composing and rhetorical theory and will apply relevant theoretical concepts to the production of typical workplace writing tasks: developing material in relation to context, purpose, and audience; and utilizing organizational and coherence strategies to ensure readability.

    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and materials to be Purchased by students:

    Vande Kopple, William.  Clear and Coherent Prose.  Scott, Foresman and Company, 1989.

    Readings in the Rhetoric of Professional Writing (Course Ware Reading Package)



    Acceptance into program or permission of coordinator.


    No corequisite courses.


    No equivalent courses.

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
    Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU CMNS 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) FDU EPS 1101 (3) 2007/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CMNS 1140 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    Langara College (LANG) LANG CMNS 1118 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    North Island College (NIC) NIC ENG 160 (3) 2007/09/01 to 2007/12/31
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU ENGL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ENGL 1XXX (3) 2010/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ENGL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/08/31
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU COMM 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) No credit 2005/05/01 to 2016/12/31
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) DOUG CMNS 1118 (3) & DOUG CMNS 1216 (3) & DOUG CMNS 1218 (3) = UBCV ARTS 1st (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENGL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CMNS 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ENGL 1XX (1.5) 2004/09/01 to 2016/12/31

    Course Offerings

    Fall 2021

    There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.