Collaborative Problem Solving: an Undergraduate Course in Professional Writing

  • Professor: Joseph M. Moxley.
  • Office Hours: Email me through Canvas to set up a meeting.
ENC3250.004S22.11421
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-1:45
CPR: 352
ENC3250.005S22.18039
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00-3:15 pm
CPR 480

Context: This course is my adaptation of a required standardized syllabus for ENC 3250, an undergraduate course on workplace writing. This course serves sophomore-level business students at a large state university in the southeast U.S. This course satisfies the university’s General-Education requirement for an emphasis on collaboration.

The first half of the course engages students in a structured effort to define a problem. Students write multiple iterations about a problem definition, which includes a visualization of the stakeholders, a data visualization. The purpose of the first part of the class is to introduce students to

  1. reflect on the conventions of professional writing vs. academic and personal writing
  2. review information literacy practices and perspectives
  3. learn contemporary tools for writers
  4. explore problems of concern to the university community.

The second half of the course ask students to choose a problem definition from the first part of class, to polish it a bit, to engage in some research to investigate the problem, and to make some evidence-based recommendations for improving the problem.

When reviewing the schedule below, you’ll notice quite a few hyperlinks. Please note you do not need to follow all of those links. In fact, following all links would lead you down way too many rabbit holes. Rather, the hyperlinks are provided to exemplify concepts, to provide you with background knowledge.

If you feel comfortable with a concept thanks to past coursework (e.g., the idea of writing processes), then double clicking that term is counterproductive. Thus, I recommend you follow the hyperlinks where you need to learn more about the concept in order to move forward with the assignment or lesson.

See Navigation Guide.

Project 1: Document Series
(20% of final grade, 3 weeks)

Students prepare documents for multiple audiences with varying levels of technical knowledge, institutional power, and investment. Students engage in textual and empirical methods to develop a problem definition for a problem space.

Welcome to Project 1

This three-week module concerns information design, visual language,and design.

Week 1, 1/9 to 1/16, The Problem Space

Your goal this week is to write about a problem space that matters to you and to others. Ideally, you will choose a problem space related to your major and desired professional career. This problem space needs to be “a specific local problem happening at USF or in the community . . .The problem you choose should be relevant to your experience, related to your discipline, and happening now to people in your community or USF” (GEA1).

As an example of rhetorical analysis, take a moment to reflect on this assignment prompt. Notice the final sentence in GEA1: “to people in your community or USF.” This statement along with “or in the community” opens the door for you to investigate either a USF problem or something else, a problem in the broader world.

This is great news! This means there are no limits! You can draw on your anecdotal experience and personal passions.

Assignments & Due Dates

Tuesday, 1/11

  • in-class First-Day Attendance. You need to be present in class to avoid being dropped per USF’s first-day attendance policy.

Wednesday, 1/12

  • Submit a one-page post to the course discussion board via Canvas.

    Rhetorical Stance: The audience for this post is other students in your class. Your post should demonstrate you have read and thought about these articles. Summarize what you learned from these articles about professional writing. What makes professional writing distinct from literature? scientific writing? engineering writing? fiction?

Thursday, 1/14

Sunday, 1/16

  • Submit Problem Definition Memo

1/17/22, Martin Luther King Holiday

Assignment Guidelines: Problem Definition Memo

Rhetorical Stance:

Choose one of the following audiences:

  1. Imagine you are a Research Assistant writing for Demetri Martin, Director of University Relations. You have been asked to investigate the university community and to obtain feedback from administrators, faculty, other students, alumni, and other stakeholders about ways the University could be responsive to a community’s particular needs.

    Work Product. Your end goal is a Recommendation Report, which you’ll submit to Mr. Martin
  2. Imagine you are an entrepreneur writing for admission to PPI’s incubator program. Address your memo to Ms. Elizabeth Paul, Managing Partner, PPI Venture Capital, #1 Main Street, Tampa FL
    1. You may assume the rhetorical stance of an entrepreneur who is applying for startup funding. You’re competing to win $125,000 in startup funds. In exchange, PPI takes 7% ownership and helps you grow your business. Venture Design happens on occasion . . .
  3. Pitch a proposal on an alternative Rhetorical Situation.

Purpose

The purpose of this Problem Definition Memo is for you to report to your chosen audience on a specific problem. Your goal is to assess its significance and feasibility for the collaborative recommendation report assignment.

What is the problem?

Who are the people in your community or the USF community who experience this problem?

Are there multiple stakeholders? How do different stakeholders experience the problem? Do stakeholders have competing interests or perspectives?

What kind of problem is this? Is this a local problem–i.e., a problem you, your family, friends and loved ones experience in their day-to-day lives?

Is there an entrepreneurial opportunity in this problem? Is this a scalable problem? Is the problem you’re imagining a new one or does it have deeper roots, even if expressed in different media and genre?

Is this is an old problem? What solutions are currently available to alleviate the problem?

Significance

Why is this problem worth investigating? Is there a potential financial incentive? Does the problem space present a business opportunity? Can you see a way to build a better mousetrap?

Is this problem sufficiently painful that someone would pay money to have it ameliorated or resolved? Who are those people?

Feasibility

What makes you think that you or other people on your team may have the expertise, time, tools, methods, etc. necessary to tackle this problem?


When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they’ve never heard of? If you can’t answer that, the idea is probably bad.

Paul Graham, How to Get Startup Ideas

Week 2, 1/17 to 1/23, Visual Brainstorming, Rhetorical Stance, Problem Definition

During Week 2, you’re provided the opportunity to further investigate problem spaces “relevant to your experience, related to your discipline, and happening now to people in your community [emphasis added] or USF“.

Assignments & Due Dates

Tuesday, 1/18

Before class, read,

Wednesday, 1/19

  • Submit Problem Space Visualization

Assignment Guidelines: Problem Space Visualization

Rhetorical Stance: The visualization is intended for your audience, either Ms. Elizabeth Paul or Mr. Demetri Martin. For this assignment, any form of visualization is acceptable. This task is graded complete/incomplete.

Step 1. Draft a visualization of a problem space that interests you.

Rhetorical Stance: You are a writer, speaker, knowledge worker . . . and you’re engaged in the process of invention. You’re engaged in visual brainstorming to evoke the knowledge you have about the topic. You want to think and perhaps bring new ideas, new insights, new associations to the forefront of your consciousness.

You can

  • draw a map of the problem space, noting causes, effects, and stakeholders (see examples)
  • create a stakeholder map that attempts to illustrate the relationships among stakeholders in a problem space
  • collect an image or a collage of images that will be useful to integrate. If the problem space is a physical space, take a picture of it.

The goal of this assignment is to introduce heuristics as an invention strategy and to stimulate your thinking about the stakeholders who inhabit a problem space, about causes and potential solutions to the problem.

Note: it’s fine to use some other graphics tool. Alternatively, if you have some artistic skills and can write legibly, you can hand draw your illustration. I recommend you use Figma.Com. Being able to create illustrations is a very important competency, a basic literacy in workplace contexts, and Figma, or a tool like it, can help you establish a professional tone.

Step 2. Write a 100 word summary that explains your visualization.

Step 3. Upload the visualization and summary to Canvas.


Sunday, 1/23

  1. Submit revised Informative Memo of a Problem Definition to the gDoc Sandbox
    Note: This revised memo may address a new problem space or be a revision. Also, please remember to review your work from the lens of professional writing conventions.
  2. Submit another copy of the Problem Definition to Canvas. This document should be written in memo format and addressed to either Mr. Demitry Marin or Ms. Elizabeth John (see notes above for bio on Demitry and Elizabeth). This memo should include a visualization of the problem space. 500 words max.

Week 3, 1/24 to 1/30

Tuesday, 1/25

Wednesday, 1/26

  • submit video pitch

Assignment Guidelines: Video Pitch

Rhetorical Stance

The audience for your pitch is your classmates. You are speaking as the potential leader for a project. If you really believe in your project, you want to be in the room, to be in the moment.

Note: Some students have expressed some shyness about sharing the videos. If you feel that way, just email me the url and I’ll review it outside of Canvas.

Length

1 minute. Don’t worry about production quality; use your cell phone. Don’t rush through your words. Be sure to enunciate so listeners can follow. And try to look into the camera. It’s better to be informal and relaxed than to be glued to a script that you read. Now I know that’s super hard for those of us who are introverts. But try.

Evaluative Criteria

Be sure to speak clearly so your peers may follow along and know whether or not the problem space interests them. You will not be graded on production quality.

In a one-minute video, introduce the problem space you are investigating. Explain to your classmates why you are so passionate about the problem. IOWs, what’s its significance? Who are the stakeholders? Who are the people who experience the problem? Do they experience the pain as a problem that must be solved or is it a pain that would be nice to be solved? Do you have any evidence to suggest the problem space is primed for innovation? Do you believe this problem space warrants additional research?

Tools

You are free to use any tool to record your pitch, but it needs to be viewable on the internet. For our purposes, a quick video on your cell phone is fine. Past students have told me they really like loom.com. And you could use Teams or Zoom and just record yourself.

Submission Requirements

  1. Once you’re satisfied with your 60-second video, you can upload it to You Tube or any similar service. You may delete the file immediately after grading if you wish, and you do not need to put your name on it.
  2. Publish a link to your video pitch at the course gDoc Sandbox. If you are uncomfortable sharing your pitch shoot me an email and we will make alternative arrangements.
  3. Upload to Canvas the url leading to your 60-second video pitch

Thursday, 1/27

  • Discuss readings:
    • Information Design
    • Data Visualization
    • Introduce Project 2

Sunday, 1/30


Project 2: Information Design (20% of final grade)

“Students select a specific concept, issue, or topic that interests them and is related to their major. They then locate and collect numerical data about the subject (in the form of studies, reports, spreadsheets, or articles), and select data to visualize and provide an overall sense of the subject.” #GEA1

Welcome to Project 2

This two-week module concerns information design, visual language, design, and related matters.

Week 4, 1/31 to 2/6

Tuesday, 2/1

Wednesday, 2/2

  • Data Visualization
    Note: This is a part of your infographic, not the whole infographic!

    Rhetorical Stance: Assume the role of a technical designer.
    • Assume your client or manager has asked you to write a quick email explaining and justifying your design choices, especially the use of tables, figures, charts, etc., in your memo

      Instructions: This assignment has two parts, which, ideally,, are displayed on one page:
      1. Create an original chart, table, or graph (i.e. one you created yourself). Cite the sources for the data you are plotting on the chart. At a minimum, synthesize data from two sources.
      2. As succinctly as possible, using the memo genre (and remember single space this time!) write a succinct explanation of the chart, table, or graph. Explain what the data illustration illustrates. Keep it under a page for sure. Even a paragraph or a sentence or two is fine. Brevity remains the coin of the realm. Remember to attribute sources. For now just the URL is fine.

Sunday, 2/6

  1. Memo on a visual design principle employed in an infographic published at The Visual Capitalist

    Rhetorical Stance: In the Discussion Forum at Canvas write a one-page memo to your peers that addresses the Beauty of Data Visualization and the usefulness of data visualization. Share with your peers an infographic featured at The Visual Capitalist.

    Your memo should explain how The Visual Capitalist exemplifies one or two design principles, such as alignment or balance.

Week 5, 2/7 to 2/13

Tuesday, 2/8

  1. Discuss Design and Design Principles

Wednesday, 2/9

  • nothing due
  • Thursday, 2/10

    • nothing due

    Friday, 2/11

    • Due: Infographic & Memo on Design Choices, 1st Iteration

    Assignment Guidelines: Infographic & Memo on Design Choices, 1st Iteration

    Develop an infographic that tells a story about data (with a heavy emphasis on numbers).This infographic may be on any topic you wish. Your infographic may be informative or persuasive:

    • An information infographic focuses on concepts to simplify or teach complex ideas
    • An editorial infographic focuses on persuasion and calls for readers to take action

    Your infographic must

    • include one original (i.e. one you created yourself) data visualization such as a chart, table, or graph
    • use data visualization strategies to help readers understand a complicated concept and illustrate data in a way that helps the reader understand what the data means (i.e. helps reader see “the story” in the data.)
    • cite at least two sources in an unambiguous way. Cite all referenced data sets in the footer of the infographic or some other discreet place.
      • For this classroom exercise you can provide the URL alone to attribute your source. However, you may also use APA, MLA., Chicago, or some other appropriate style sheet. You can use asterisks or footnotes to help your readers identify which statistics relate to which sources.

    Rhetorical Stance: Your stance is open in this assignment. You can remain focused on the problem space you began exploring in project one (e.g., writing to Ms. Paul or Mr. Martin). Or, project 2 can be on a new topic.

    Instructions for Memo:

    In one-page, write a meta description of your infographic that clarifies your reasoning behind the composition of your infographic.

    Rhetorical Stance: The potential audiences for this meta description are

    • a visually impaired or blind people who is using assistive technologies to read your infographic.
    • your classmates
    • your instructor

      Your audiences are familiar with design principles so you do not need to define the principles. Your audiences are curious about how design principles inform your composing and design practices.

    Your memo should be written in a professional writing style.

    Submission Instructions:

    1. Provide a link to your infographic and memo at the Course Sandbox @ gDoc.

      If you are new to Google Drive, you should review Google Docs by GCF, LearnFree.Org
    2. Also upload a copy of infographic and design memo to Canvas. when uploading the infographic to Canvas, provide the url so it can be viewed in all its glory.

    Sunday, 2/13

    • Peer Review Memo
      Please review the Assignment Guidelines below to conduct and submit your peer reviews via Canvas

    Assignment Guidelines: Peer Review Guidelines

    1. Go to the course sandbox at gDoc. Scroll through your peers’ infographics and design memo. Select two colleagues’ works to review.
      • Please do your best to select an infographic and design memo outline/draft that has not yet been reviewed by other students in the class.

        Instead, you are expected to write a summary critique, a formative comment, to your peer that advises him/her/they on ways to improve their infographic and design memo.

    In your reviews of your peers’ works please address the following four criteria:

    1. Responsiveness to the Assignment
    2. Story, Purpose
    3. Design
    4. Visuals

    Responsiveness to the Assignment:
    Does the infographic meet all of the assignment guidelines?

    Is it a data visualization infographic, an information infographic, or an editorial infographic?
    Does the infographic have one original chart, table, or graph (i.e. one you created yourself)?
    Does the infographic use a data visualization strategy from the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods to help the reader understand a complicated concept?
    Does the infographic illustrate data in ways that help the audience understand what the data means (i.e. helps reader see “the story” in the data)?
    Does the infographic cite at least three articles, books, blogs, or presentations on either design matters or infographics as a genre. Cite all referenced data sets.

    Story:
    Does the infographic tell an engaging, compelling story?

    Does the infographic provide the necessary introduction, contextual information, and sources its audience needs in order to assess its credibility or act?

    Design:
    Does the author’s use of design elements support or detract from the story? Does the author make strategic use of the Elements of Visual Design?

    Does the layout (e.g., timeline, flowchart, hierarchical decision tree, comparison) support the story? Would another layout be more effective?
    Does the color scheme make sense for the rhetorical situation?

    Does the infographic provide the organizational schema and logical reasoning you need in order to understand the story?

    Visuals:
    Do the visuals make sense given the rhetorical situation for the infographic?

    Are the sizes of the images appropriate given the role of the images in conveying the story.
    Are images attributed appropriately? Used ethically?
    Are images culturally sensitive?
    Do original graphs and tables accurately reflect data?

    Videos on Reviewing Infographics

    The Most Common Design Mistakes Made by Non Designers

    Project 3: Information Literacy (20% of final grade)

    Students engage in textual research and qualitative research to investigate in a problem that is relevant to them, their community, or the USF community. #GEA1

    Welcome to Project 3

    This two-week module provides a review and summary of information literacy practices that inform the style of professional writers.

    Week 6, 2/14 to 2/20

    Tuesday, 2/15

    1. Discussion — What have you learned thus far about Professional Writing?
    2. Resubmit, if you wish, peer-review memo
    3. Editing Workshop
      Before class please review

    Wednesday, 2/16

    • Submit your Infographic & Design Choice Memo

    Sunday, 2/20

    • Read the following short articles (15 minutes total) on collaboration:
    • Take another 15 minutes to do your own search for collaboration tools used in your desired profession.
    • Submit a text to the Discussion Board @ Canvas

      Rhetorical Stance: Imagine you’re applying for the role of Head of People for YBUL (YouBetYourLife.com). This is a relatively new startup that just received Series B funding. Jody Sharma, the Founder and CEO, has posted a note on LinkedIn that they will hire the applicant with the most robust vision for creating a productive, collaborative culture 2 YBUL. (BTW, the Plan @ YBUL is to double its workforce, moving from 15 employees to 50 employees over the next year.)

      Prompt: If you are hired to be Head of People, what are your recommendations for the Founder to facilitate Teamwork, Communication, Leadership, and Problem Solving @ YBUL?

      Address your memo to Jody Sharma, Founder & CEO, YBUL.

      Note your audience is highly intelligent and conversant with the scholarly conversation regarding collaborative problem solving. In fact, back in graduate school, Jody wrote a dissertation that was so impactful that it put her on the Forbes 500 for 30 under 30.

      Diction matters a great deal to Jody. She’s concerned that all employees reflect a personal yet professional tone. Yet mostly Jody is a data-driven person: she wants empirical evidence grounded in logical reasoning, qualitative methods, and empirical experimentation. Jody is also conversant regarding collaboration and design tools.

      You may use a memo genre, a poster genre, a brochure, an infographic. Media is open. Length: no more than one page of copy. Have fun. Be creative.
    Teamwork Team Cohesion, Team Empowerment, Team Learning, Self Management/Self Leadership, Adaptability/Open Mindedness
    Communication Active Listening, Exchanging Information
    Leadership Organizing Activities & Resources, Performance Monitoring, Reorganizing When Faced with Obstacles, Resolving Conflict, Transformational Leadership
    Problem Solving Identifying Problems, Brainstorming, Planning, Interpreting & Analyzing, Evaluating & Implementing

    Week 7, 2/21 to 2/27

    Businesses, at least those that traditionally thrive, are evidence-based: they have a value proposition, a business thesis, and if they survive they have clients which confirm that thesis.

    For professional writing, evidence is a big deal, an important attribute of a professional writing prose style.

    This week concerns textual research methods. This module assumes you learned conventions for information literacy and reasoning with evidence in Composition 1 and Composition 2. We very briefly review citation practices and the use of evidence. These practices are tied to intellectual property, copyright, patents and licensing conventions and laws. These practices are commonplace wherever educated people gather. Thus these practices are commonplace across crafts, trades, and professions. They are the currency of academic and business discourse. 

    Tuesday, 2/22

    Required Readings

    • Before class, review Reasoning with Evidence and its subpages, as necessary, depending on your literacy background. Come to class prepared to discuss working with sources.
    • During class we will engage in (1) analysis of how professional writers integrate evidence into their texts and (2) call for volunteers to to have their work reviewed.

    Wednesday, 2/23

    • Citation Exercise to Canvas
      Rhetorical Stance: This is a classroom exercise you are conducting with your instructor as audience.

      Instructions:

      1. Review the following newspaper articles:

        Citation Practices in Journalism: The WSJ:
        Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show
      2. Complete textual research on a problem space. This can be the same problem space you’ve investigated in the past. Or, it can be a new problem space, a new problem definition
      3. Feel free to deviate from the template below, but be sure to provide all of the required information for at least two sources on the same topic:
        1. Include Topic/Researcher
        2. Include a Summary: Write a brief (1-2 sentence) summary of the main idea of the article OR paraphrase the specific content/sentences you intend to draw on.
        3. Include a Paraphrase:: Paste a complete and properly formatted citation in the style you’ve decided to use. (You can use a citation generator like Zotero bib to generate citations if you wish.)
        4. Include a Citation: Use either APA or MLA to cite the sources you used. I recommended you check out the free Citation Tools to automate for this course and others

    For Example:

     

    Summary #1
    Summary: The article by Seetharaman Deepa details the bombshell discovery that Facebook has knowingly been peddling instagram regardless of its massive impact on teenagers. The article goes on to detail the U.S. and U.K. government responses to the revelation.

    Paraphrase: The use of Instagram has had a harmful effect on teenage girls to the scale of “one in every three” girls that use the platform experience negative body shaming. (Seetharaman).

    Citation: Seetharaman, Deepa. “Senators Seek Answers From Facebook After WSJ Report on Instagram’s Impact on Young Users; Lawmakers Say They May Seek Documents and Interview Other Witnesses.” The Wall Street Journal, 15 Sept. 2021.The article states “Teens surveyed by the company also blamed Instagram for increases in anxiety and depression”(Seetharaman). The article by Seetharaman Deepa details the bombshell discovery that Facebook has knowingly been peddling instagram regardless of its massive impact on

    Summary #2
    Summary:
    Katie Martell introduces the term “Faux-feminism” in the media and advertisement industry (Scott 2019). 

    Paraphrase:
    Martell gives examples of companies such as Audi, Budweiser, Procter and Gamble, and Pantene, as companies who have fallen under the category of “faux-feminism.”

    Thursday, 2/24

    Sunday, 2/27

    • Citation Exercise: Paraphrase & Quotation
      Rhetorical Stance: You may complete this as a classroom exercise you are conducting with your instructor as audience. Alternatively, you may write to one of the stakeholders associated with the problem space that interests you.

      Instructions: Write about a problem space using secondary sources. 

      In at least two paragraphs (one page max), introduce at least two sources and quote, paraphrase, and cite those two sources according to a professional style system, such as APA. 

      Your purpose is to discuss these  sources in relation to one another and the topic. You may consider your text to be part of a larger whole, a few paragraphs torn from a Recommendation Report. Your purpose is to demonstrate to your instructor that you understand

    • how to introduce sources in texts, how to establish their ethos
    • how to to quote and paraphrase sources
    • how to use multiple sources to support a claim
    • how to contrast data and information from multiple sources.

    Week 8, 2/28 to 3/3

    This week you’ll conduct two interviews with stakeholders to learn about a problem space from the perspective of a stakeholder

    Tuesday, 3/1

    Recommended Reading
    The readings below will help you contextualize your research notes. It situates interviews, even informals ones, as Qualitative Research

    •  

    Wednesday, 10/13
    Interview Notes. Length: 2 pages, max. 
    Provide interview notes regarding two stakeholder interviews

    Instructions

    Engage in two interviews with stakeholders, preferably people you don’t know who experience the problem directly. For instance, is there a student organization or a community organization that you can meet with to learn their perspective on the problem and the problem space?

    Note: the interview can be online or via phone. The interview doesn’t need to be long or formal. It’s just a first contact. No one expects some huge insight from this interview. Again, your focus is not the solution space. Your goal is a deeper understanding of the problem. So you want to listen to your stakeholder’s talk about their interactions with the problem, ways they currently address the problem, and insights they have on current available solutions. 

    Rhetorical Stance: In this exercise, which will be graded incomplete/complete, your aim is to summarize the interview in sufficient detail that you will be able to return to these notes in three months and recall salient details. Your summary may address

    • Who was interviewed? Date. Stakeole? title? (If they agree to it, you should take their pic.)

    • What is the stakeholder’s relationship is to the problem in the problem space? 

    • How do the stakeholder experience the problem?

    • What insights did you gain about the problem as a result of the interview? 

    • What did you learn about interviewing as a result of the interview?

    Thursday, 10/14

    • Class is cancelled

    Sunday, 10/17

    Write a two-page informative Memo, a problem definition. Your memo can be as long as four pages with visuals or two pages without visuals. 

    Your secondary audience for this memo is your peers. Ideally, your work, your description of the problem space, will be so compelling that your classmates will want to join you to engage in a deeper dive into the problem space.

    Your primary audience should be one of the following:

    1. University Relations. You have been asked to investigate the university community and to obtain feedback from administrators, faculty, other students, alumni, and other stakeholders about ways the University could be responsive to a community’s particular needs.

      Work Product. Your end goal is a Recommendation Report, which you’ll submit to Mr. Martin

    2. Imagine you are an entrepreneur writing for admission to PPI’s incubator program. Address your memo to Ms. Elizabeth Paul, Managing Partner, PPI Venture Capital, #1 Main Street, Tampa FL

      You may assume the rhetorical stance of an entrepreneur who is applying for startup funding. You’re competing to win $125,000 in startup funds. In exchange, PPI takes 7% ownership and helps you grow your business. Venture Design happens on occasion . . .

    3. A 3rd audience, an alternative Rhetorical Situation, that you define and run by me so I can follow along when grading.

    Use memo format. Adopt a professional writing style. Use concrete, sensory language. Avoid vagueness. At a minimum, employ reader-based prose.

    Visuals of stakeholders or the problem space are encouraged, including photos, illustrations, and infographics. 

    Supply any evidence needed to prove that this is indeed a significant problem. Ideally you will quote, paraphrase, or summarize the interview Cite any sources you use in either MLA or APA.

    1. Submit a  Problem Definition to Canvas for grading. Suggested length: 2 pages (not counting images)
    2. Submit a Problem Definition to the Course Sandbox under your name. To avoid confusion, you are encouraged to delete the original link to your problem definition from Week 1.

      What is the problem?

      Who experiences this problem? Who are the people in your community or the USF community who experience this problem? Are there multiple stakeholders? How do different stakeholders experience the problem? Do stakeholders have competing interests or perspectives? How do people experience the problem? Is this problem sufficiently painful that they would pay money to have it ameliorated or resolved?

      What kind of problem is this? Is this a local problem–i.e., a problem you, your family, friends and loved ones experience in their day-to-day lives? Is this a scalable problem? Is the problem you’re imagining a new one or does it have deeper roots, even if expressed in different media and genre? How do different stakeholders interact with the problem? What solutions are currently available to alleviate the problem?

      Significance
      Why is this problem worth investigating? Is there a potential financial incentive? Does the problem space present a business opportunity? Can you see a way to build a better mousetrap?

      Feasibility
      What makes you think that you or other people on your team may have the expertise, time, tools, methods, etc. necessary to tackle this problem?

      Works Cited/References
      Use APA or some other established style sheet. Use of a citation tool 

       

    Write about a problem and a problem space Problem Definition. When describing the problem, quote, paraphrase and summarize from the interviews you conducted. Use APA or MLA. 

    Rhetorical Stance: The audience for this review of qualitative research is your instructor and potential partners. Your instructor wants to see that you are comfortable weaving qualitative and textual research into your texts. Your peers want to learn about your idea to decide whether they want to join your effort.

    Project 4: Collaborative Recommendation Report
    (40% of grade, 7 weeks)

    YOU WILL RESEARCH AND EXPLAIN TO YOUR AUDIENCE A SOLUTION THAT IS REALISTIC AND FEASIBLE. YOU WILL PROVIDE EVIDENCE THAT THE SOLUTION YOU RECOMMEND IS THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE GIVEN SITUATION #GEA1

      Project 4: Welcome to Project 4!

      This module was designed by the Department of English and USF General Education Council. It is required of all sections of ENC. This assignment has four separate components: two assignment prompts and two rubrics for evaluating those assignments:

      Contribution Professional Adequate Inadequate
      Abided by all provisions of the team contract/charter      
      Attended team meetings      
      Contributed ideas      
      Helped write project sections as assigned      
      Helped revise/edit projects sections as assigned      
      Helped in production of project (e.g. conducting research, selecting or designing visuals, etc.)      

       

      Week 9, 3/4 to 3/10

      You have two goals this week:

      1. attract people to your effort or join another person’s team to explore a problem space
      2. review research and scholarship on collaboration so that. you have a vocabulary to succeed on the self-and-team evaluation as well as the recommendation report. 

      Required Readings

      The following readings will familiarize you with genres of writing related to Recommendation Reports.

      Tuesday, 10/19

      Pair interactions in online assessments of collaborative problem solving:  case-based portraits | Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced  Learning | Full Text

      Source: Pair Interactions in Online Assessments of Collaborative Problem Solving

       

      Image of Collaboration by the National Research Council

      Image of Collaboration by the National Research Council

      Wednesday, 10/20

      Discussion Post on Top Six Problem Statements
      Rhetorical Stance: You’re addressing your future potential partners…

      Instructions: Let’s return to the Problem Definitions that you posted to the course gDoc.

      Please ensure you go through the complete list of problem statements. Then, as you wish, look at the other students’ ideas and competencies.

      Once you’ve read through your peers’ problem statements, pick your six favorites.  Write a discussion forum post at Canvas that ranks the top 6 problem statements authored by the students in sections 7 and 22 of Professional Writing. Succinctly explain why you have ranked each problem statement as you have. In addition to praising the top 6 problem statements be sure to provide some critique. If you have suggestions for making a problem space more feasible, please share. You can write several sentences or several bullet points for each problem statement.


      Thursday, 10/21

      1,084 Kick Off Meeting Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

      • Teams for the collaborative project will be set in class on 10/21. It is imperative you attend class. If circumstances prevent that, you need to make arrangements with other students in a class to formally join their teams.
      • By end of class, in alphabetical order, provide a link to your team’s workspace at the class gDoc sandbox.

      Kickoff Meeting Agenda

      1. At your first meeting discuss your expectations (and concerns) about managing this project.
      2. Discuss the Team Roles that are outlined at Team Charter. Identify the organizational structure and roles and responsibilities for each team member. To inform task definition, see sample roles at Team Charter. Be sure to ensure the Deliverable Specialist is a detailed-oriented, dated-oriented person. 
      3. Decide on a citation style suitable to your rhetorical context.
        1. Note: all team members must contribute textual and qualitative evidence. You’ll be assigned a Team Bibliography. Strongly Recommended; Use a collaboration tool for citation.
      4. Strongly Recommended: Agree to use Slack or Notion or Teams or another project management tool to facilitate collaboration. This would be a useful life skill imo. (See recommended Collaboration Tools). I think talking about technology and collaboration could be a winner.
      5. Coordinate a plan to submit a Team Charter by next Wednesday.
      6. Create a Team Workspace at gDoc and then share a link to your Team’s homepage at the course gdoc.

        Your homepage should provide the following information:

        1. Name of Team
        2. Listing of team members, title/role, and preferred gmail contact info.

          Your homepage should provide links to two subpages:

          1. Team Charter
          2. Recommendation Report or Startup Pitch.
            Here I suggest you toss in the current draft of the problem statement and add headings as necessary to begin the Recommendation Report or Startup Pitch.

      Sunday, 10/24

      •  

      Week 10, 3/11 to 3/17

      • 10/30, Fall last day to withdraw; no refund & no academic penalty

      This week’s focus is getting a running start on your collaborative project. By Wednesday you submit your team charter. Then, by Sunday you wrap up textual research on the problem space.  Each team member should engage in textual research and contribute to a bibliography by week’s end.

      Tuesday, 10/26

      • Finalize Teams
        Remember to list the names of all group members so I can set up the Team Assignments in Canvas.

      Wednesday, 10/27

      • Team Charter
        The Deliverable Specialist should submit the first iteration of your Team Charter to Canvas for grading. Follow the genre conventions for team charters yet tweak as necessary given your rhetorical situation.

      Sunday, 10/31

      1. a collaboratively-authored description of the problem space that uses substantive textual research.
        At a minimum, each group member should contribute one meaningful textual reference to the project.
      2. a collaboratively-authored bibliography.
        Note: Not every source in the bibliography needs to appear in your problem definition. Your team may have bibliography notes that they decide not to use in their narratives. You only need to attribute the works you actually cite in your Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA).

        Rhetorical Stance: If you are working in the stance of a research assistant for Mr. Demetri Martin, then this proposal should be written directly to Mr. Martin. Seek permission to investigate a problem space.

        If you are working in the stance of the entrepreneur, then your pitch should be to Ms. Elizabeth Paul. You want to update Ms. Paul on the exciting work your team is doing in a particular problem space.

      Week 11, 11/1 to 11/7

      For the first 10 weeks, you were focused on identifying and defining a problem space. Last week, you formed teams and chose a problem space to focus on. This past Sunday you submitted a revised problem definition, basically reiterating the Week 1 assignment.

      This week for out of class activities you need to continue your textual research. Plus, your project may benefit from qualitative research (such as interviews, surveys, focus groups) in order to inform your analysis of the problem space and the best recommendations for resolving. 

      Tuesday, 11/2 

      • In-class work on Team Projects

      Wednesday, 11/3

      Below I have revised the assignment for Wednesday. Rather than turn our focus to the self/team evaluation, as planned, I want to give you an opportunity to revise this past Sunday’s assignment. The grade you receive on this assignment will replace the grade you received on Sunday’s assignment unless your team earned an A. For those Teams that earned As, your A will remain but you’ll just get more feedback. 

      Reminder: Your text should be responsive to the assignment prompt for #GEA1. Adopt a professional writing style. Use concrete, sensory language. Avoid vagueness. At a minimum, employ reader-based prose. Supply any evidence needed to prove that this is indeed a significant problem or that the recommended results make sense. Cite any sources you use in either MLA or APA.

      Submission Requirements: Upload the url to your gDoc to Canvas. You do not need to put this on the Course gDoc Sandbox,

      Required Sections

      from preliminaries

      Title Page (aka Cover page)

      • Name of Team: Recommendation Report on …. x
      • Name of Team Members/Listing of Team Titles/Roles
        • [Note: Pls don’t put phone numbers on sheets as we will have peer review processes on these documents]
        • Organizational Structure/Roles & Responsibilities
        • Bios

      Executive Summary (may also be called Abstract or Summary)

      • Consider this to be a sketch. You can then revise as you learn more about your topic and focus. Have about one or two sentences for each major section of the report.
          • Introduction to the problem
          • Potential solutions to the problem
          • Empirical Research Methods used to investigate the problem
          • Results
          • Recommendations

      from Report Body

      Note: your specific rhetorical context will determine what headings you use in your Recommendation Report. That said, the following sections are fairly typical for this genre, and they are required, as appropriate, for this assignment.

      Section Answers the question Notes
      Purpose What is the purpose of this piece of communication? In a sentence or two, explain the purpose of this document, not the purpose of the project.
           
      Introduction What problem(s) does the report address? What is the context?

      Introduce the Problem Space
      Address

      Why is this problem worth investigating? Is there a potential financial incentive? Does the problem space present a business opportunity?Significance

      Define stakeholders, existing solutions, workarounds

      Recommendation

      Can you see a way to build a better mousetrap?

        Problem Definition (aka Problem Definition or Context)

      Provide the background and rationale for pursuing this study. 

      • What is the problem? How is it caused?What kind of problem is this? Is this a local problem–i.e., a problem you, your family, friends and loved ones experience in their day-to-day lives? Is this a scalable problem? Is the problem you’re imagining a new one or does it have deeper roots, even if expressed in different media and genre:. Is this is an old problem? What solutions are currently available to alleviate the problem?
      • Who experiences this problem? Who are the people in your community or the USF community who experience this problem? Are there multiple stakeholders? How do different stakeholders experience the problem? Do stakeholders have competing interests or perspectives? How do people experience the problem? Is this problem sufficiently painful that they would pay money to have it ameliorated or resolved?
      • Add Information Visualizations, Data Visualizations
           
           
           
           

      from back matter

      • Works Cited or References (Use a citation format appropriate for your field (APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, etc.)

      optional content

      Beyond the above required content, the following pieces may also be reviewed with this submission. The following is optional. Don’t worry if your team cannot reach this stage yet. There will be other opportunities. 

      Section Answers the question Notes
           
           
           

      (optional)

       

       

      1. What textual research or empirical research was done? How? Why? Here your aim is to define the research methods you have employed or plan to employ.

       

      Provide survey, if used. 

       

      Results (optional) What did you find out from your research? The Results section is the writing space reserved for reporting discoveries. This space is reserved for investigators who are employing empirical methods. If you did not use empirical methods, you do not need this section.

       

      Note: A Results section is not equivalent to a review of literature section.

      Scope or Limitations of the Study (optional) What are the shortcomings of this study? Did anything go wrong? Optional section. Include if you encountered any problems that might limit your recommendations
           

      Recommendations

      (optional)

      What recommendations can you offer?

      Underscore benefits of recommendation and ask reader to act

      Tells the reader what steps, measures, actions they should take in light of the conclusions you have reached thanks to your textual research and empirical research.

      Explain how the recommendations might be implemented. Present an implementatrion schedule (Use a Gantt chart)

      Budget

      Personnel and assigned duties of each member

      Explores how implementing the proposed recommendations benefits the audience.

      Sunday, 11/7

      a precious rope bridge extending from one cliff to another

      “Walking Rope Bridge” by chumlee10 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

      Preliminary Draft of Self & Team Evaluation Memo (Graded Complete/Incomplete; Hard Deadline)

      1. Please review the assignment guidelines: #GEA2.

      Self Reflection
      Note the succinctness of the self-evaluation questions and the lack of a requirement for synthesis. So, relax!

      2. Please review the rubric criteria that GEA provides for assessing this document:

       
      1. Collaborative Process (30 points)
      2. Reflections & Examples as Levels of Learning (30 points)
      3. Writing (20 points)
      4. Effort and Personal Responses (20 points)

      Peer Reflection
      1. Complete required table. 2. Write a summary analysis of each members’ contributions based on the table criteria.

       

      Contribution Professional Adequate Inadequate
      Abided by all provisions of the team contract/charter      
      Attended team meetings      
      Contributed ideas      
      Helped write project sections as assigned      
      Helped revise/edit projects sections as assigned      
      Helped in production of project (e.g. conducting research, selecting or designing visuals, etc.)      

      Week 12, 11/8 to 11/14

      Note: 11/11 Veteran’s Day Holiday (USF Closed)

      Wednesday, 11/10

      Draft of Methods, Results & Recommendations

      As mentioned above, your rhetorical context determines the genre/voice/tone/format/headings you should use. Here, you’re engaged in the act of making evidence-based recommendations. In some social science and all scientific research that employs empirical methods, Research Methods are separate sections trom Results & Recommendations. Here, for the GEA context, you can probably collapse Results into Recommendations. This isn’t, after all, a peer-reviewed scholarly study.

      Section Answers the question Notes
           
           
           


      Research Methods
       

       

      1. What textual research or empirical research was done? How? Why? Here your aim is to define the research methods you have employed or plan to employ.

       

      Provide survey, if used. 

       

      Results  What did you find out from your research? The Results section is the writing space reserved for reporting discoveries. This space is reserved for investigators who are employing empirical methods. If you did not use empirical methods, you do not need this section. Note: A Results section is not equivalent to a review of literature section.

       

      Scope or Limitations of the Study (optional) What are the shortcomings of this study? Did anything go wrong?

       

      Optional section. Include if you encountered any problems that might limit your recommendations

       

           

      Recommendations

       

      What recommendations can you offer based on your conclusions? Tells the reader what steps, measures, actions they should take in light of the conclusions you have reached.

       

      Substantiate the value of your recommendations by grounding them in textual research and empirical research.

      Explain how the recommendations might be implemented. 

      Explores how implementing the proposed recommendations benefits the audience.

      Sunday, 11/14

      • Submit nearly Final Draft of Team Recommendation Report to the Course Sandbox.
        • Note: You do no need to submit a version of your Recommendation Report to Canvas

      Week 13, 11/15 to 11/21, Peer Reviews

      This week you have one major goal and two subgoals:

      1. Conduct two substantive reviews of two team projects
      2. Finish edits to your project 
      3. Work on your self-and-peer evaluations 

      Peer Review Assignment Guidelines

      1. Review
        1. Assignment Template for Peer Review
        2. Guide to Structured Revision
        3. Professional  Writing Prose Style
      2. Go the course gDoc to view the Team Projects
        1. Reserve two Team Projects by putting your name to the right of the Team Projects you wish to review. Then link out to from your name to the gDoc where you wrote the review for that Team Project.

          If you see there is no space to the right (there should be no more than 4 reviews for each project), choose another Team Project. The goal here is spread reviews across topics so that everyone can learn from one another. 

          sign up sheet

      3. Complete two peer reviews of two Team Projects
        1. use the Assignment Template for Peer Review
      4. Review Guidelines
        1. Conduct the peer reviews on an individual basis. Each class member is responsible for completing this exercise. This is not a team project. 
        2. Each review should be no more than two pages. 
        3. Use the evaluative criteria and steps outlined at Guide to Structured Revision. You are encouraged to use screenshots of the document you reviewed.
        4. Make a copy of the Assignment Template for Peer Review. Use this template (the headings, anyway) to structure your Peer Review Memos.
      5. Submission Guidelines
        1. Required Media: gDoc
        2. Once you have completed your review at gDocs, create a link to it and hyperlink your name on the gDoc course sandbox. This is how the Teams will find reviews of their Reports
        3. Upload a copy of your two reviews to Canvas.
          1. Please share the urls for your reviews. Please share an edit view of the gDoc so I can respond. 

      Tuesday, 11/16

      • in-class work on Team projects

        Wednesday, 11/17

        • Complete two Peer Reviews
        • Submit 2 peer reviews following these guidelines

        Thursday

        • Class is cancelled. Teams are encouraged to experiment with different collaborative tools to expedite their work.

        Week 14, 11/22 to 11/28, Thanksgiving Week

        • USF is closed 11/25 and 11/26. We will not meet this week in class. Nothing is due. Enjoy your well-deserved break.

        Week 15, 11/29 to 12/3

        11/27 to 12/3, Test Free Week

        Tuesday, 11/30

        • in-class oral presentations on team project
        • Submit Team Presentation

        Wednesday, 11/30

        • submit Project 4 Deliverable #1: #GEA1
        • submit Project 4 Deliverable #2: #GEA2

        Thursday, 12/2

        • in-class oral presentations on team project (if necessary)

        There is no final examination in this class. There is no additional work due for Professional Writing.


         

        *Please note this schedule may be changed at the discretion of the instructor. To see the most up-to-date version of this schedule, you may need to clear the cache in your browser or try a different browser.