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Registration for the Winter 2020 semester begins soon.  Watch your email for more details.
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Workplace Writing

Course Code: CMNS 1118
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Communications
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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
  4. 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.

course prerequisites

Acceptance into program or permission of coordinator.

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.