Management 306

Week 03

Hi, everyone. This is Management 306, and this lecture addresses the assignment, School Information. You'll see the link to the assignment instructions and also examples. These are some past students who have taken this class who have tackled this assignment and have done it well. And there's a variety of styles. The reason I have more than one — I have several different samples — is for you to look at the different styles. You're free to imitate the, any of the samples. You cannot copy the samples. You can't use the exact same words because those are the writing of someone else. But you are free to look at the style, look at the approach, and imitate, as long as you put into your own words their response to this assignment. The reason I have the samples up there is for you to see them and imitate. So here are the instructions. You receive an email from a student at your former high school asking about life at your college. Read the message below, then write a response. "To, Blank. From, Penny. Subject: Questions About College Life. Hello, I'm a sophomore at Blank High School, and I'd like to know more about California State University, San Bernardino. You might remember my sister, Marguerite Garcon [phonetic], who graduated with you. She went to Ohio State University. But I'm looking at other options. Will you please tell me how you like school and answer a few questions for me? First, how difficult is the work? Is the workload much more than what we have in high school? Is it manageable if I also have a part-time job during school? Second, how accessible are the instructors at your school? Do they have time for you one on one? Third, what's the social life like at your school? Are fraternities and sororities popular? What do people do for fun? And then, finally, does your school have a debate club? I'm on the debate team in high school, and I'd like to join a club in college. What are my options? Thanks for giving me your perspective. This will help me make a decision about whether to apply to your school. Penny." Now, you're responsible for writing a response to Penny. That is the assignment. The specific task or the specific learning that I want you to understand is organization. Penny has asked you, and she has bullet points — where I said first, second, third, those are bullet points — Penny has asked you a set of questions in a certain order. Because it makes the most sense for you to respond in the same order that she asked, that's how I want you to organize it. Now, if you recall from the lecture where I discussed the five-paragraph format, you would typically have a intro paragraph; three paragraphs in the middle, the body paragraphs; and then a paragraph for the end. But Penny has asked four, she has four different bullet points here, so if you just do the math, you'll realize you need an extra paragraph in the middle. So now, instead of writing a five-paragraph response to Penny, consider writing a six-paragraph response to Penny. You're still going to have your introductory paragraph at the beginning. You're still going to have your conclusion paragraph at the end. But now, you're going to have four paragraphs in the middle, and each one of your middle paragraphs should respond to what Penny is asking for that particular bullet point in the same order that she's asking. That's how you would organize your answers to be in the same order that she asked. Now, there's a couple other things that I want to address with this assignment. You'll see I have these items called audience, purpose, structure, and style, and I do that for all the homework assignments. I want you to be aware of your audience. The different assignments you're going to have for this class will have a different audience. Sometimes you're going to be writing to an individual like you are writing to Penny now. Sometimes you're going to be writing to a group of people, say in a business setting. So understanding who you're writing to, who you're communicating with, is one of the key aspects for you to effectively communicate. English teachers typically just repeat this over and over again — audience, purpose, audience, purpose, audience, purpose. The two things you as a writer truly need to understand when you sit down in front of your laptop, or at your computer, or wherever you're working is, who are you writing to, and what's your purpose? What's the point? Now, it's pretty clear who you're writing to. It's to Penny, this high school student who has questions about college. And she's asked some specific questions, so your purpose is to respond to Penny. So this one, this assignment is not intended to be challenging on that level. I want it to be very clear what the audience is, who the audience is and what the purpose is. So for the audience, I say, remember that you're writing to a high school student. For example, when Penny asked about the workload, tell her more than just credit load. Help her understand the difference between high school life and college life by including the hours-per-week requirements for typical class load, including lectures, homework, et cetera. So think about this just for a second. Yes, Penny has a sister who's in college, but you don't really know how much her sister has told her, and, while there are some siblings who get along great and tell each other everything, [laughs] there are other siblings who don't and don't tell each other anything, so you don't know, you know. That's something you can't assume, you know, that Penny is fully appraised at what's going on in her sister's life. Penny, however, does want to go to college, but she's not there yet. You are already in college, so some of the information you have acquired about classes, and how many credits you take, you know, for a given school term, and how much work goes into a particular class in terms of the lectures, and then the class meetings, the homework, and so on, you know this. She may not know this. So what you should do is not just tell her, well, you know, I carry 12 credits, or whatever the number is, because that may not be something that she would understand. So my suggestion is to keep in mind that you're talking to someone who's not yet in college, a high school student. You're writing to Penny. Translate for her the burden of how much time goes into your work because she can understand that just fine. In other words, if you say, it takes me, you know, eight hours a week to carry three classes, or whatever the number would be, that's something she can understand. If you just say, well, I have to carry 12 credits, that's not necessarily something she would understand. So this goes to the very heart of understanding audience. It's not just a question of, I'm writing to one person. It's also a question that you're writing to one person who isn't in college, hasn't yet come to college, wants to, but may not necessarily know the things you've already learned, and that's why she's asking you. So it's, that's your responsibility to [inaudible]. So I say it goes beyond just saying, you know, I have 12 credits, but translate what those 12 credits actually mean in terms of time because time she can understand. Time, you know she's, she can understand time because she has to juggle the amount of work she does as a high school student. So she already has a pretty good feel for that, okay. That's audience. Now, purpose, I say something a little bit different. Purpose: To help Penny understand college life. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Share stories and experiences that will help her gain a better perspective of life at college. For example, if you scheduled an appointment with a professor during office hours, describe it to Penny. On the other hand, if you don't have any experience with CSUSB fraternities or sororities — and many students don't — be sure to explain that. Now, the key here is that you want to do more than just say, your professors are available, you know, if you make an appointment during office hours. That's fine, but go, take it to the next step. In other words, give a little more, give an example. Give a specific example. Was there a time when you scheduled an appointment with a specific professor in a specific class on a specific day at a specific time to discuss something specifically? Give this little story — two, three sentences, four sentences. You know, include this little story because what this does is this helps Penny to imagine, to see the actual experience you've had in college communicating with professors. So the more that you can be specific, and detailed, and share your stories and experiences in detail, the more useful it becomes to Penny trying to imagine what life will be like at college. That said, that also works the other way. If you had not joined fraternities or sororities, which is very common, by the way — lots of students are not able to do those kinds of activities for, you know, they carry multiple classes, they have a job, they have family responsibilities. Just can't fit those in or choose not to for whatever reason. You know, you don't necessarily need to make something up either. I mean, you can simply tell her, I don't have time, you know. This is what life is like for me at college. And that's also fine. In other words, you know, be specific and detailed about what you actually have done, and don't feel any burden to invent something. If you haven't been able to take advantage of those things, say, you know, for some students, including me, it's just not possible to do these other things because I already have a full load, or I have other things to do, or my interests take me elsewhere. In other words, so include detail, what you've actually done, and you don't, you're under no obligation to make up anything else. Just tell her, no, I don't know. Structure. I talked about this at the beginning, so I'll just repeat this. Penny's email included four bullet points in the body of her email. Answer all of her questions. Your response should include at least six paragraphs — intro, four body, and a conclusion — and your body paragraphs should be in the same order as her questions. I already addressed that. And finally, style of writing. Be personal. Penny is a family friend. Choose a friendly, informal writing style. How informal you want to get is entirely up to you. Because you're talk, you're responding back to a high school student, you don't need to write this in any kind of a formal, stiff, you know, businessperson style. It can be much more relaxed. On the other hand, you still need to write sentences and paragraphs so that you can communicate your ideas to Penny. So you can't just, you know, shorten everything down to, you know, emoticons or, you know, acronyms, like BTW, or FYI, or, you know, I, in my, IMHO. You actually need to, you know, do full sentences and do full paragraphs. And that's the assignment for School Information. You can take a look at the samples. You can see what some of your former classmates had done to tackle this assignment. And enjoy. Thank you.