Week 6: Working with workplace genres

Download the week 6 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 6 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 6 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

Download the week 6 interactive lecture audio recording.

Download an additional related resource.

Student instructions:

Welcome to Week 6! This week, we’re thinking about workplace genres like emails, memos, letters and instant messages.

This week, you will:

  • Watch the intro video in the module overview section.
  • Read Chapter 6.
  • Do the interactive lecture or attend the weekly session.
  • Working in your groups, write an email/memo/letter that responds to the scenario in your document. When you’re done, post your completed email in the forum. Then, write some feedback about another group’s email/memo/letter and post it to the forum.
  • Bonus point: for your bonus point, you have two options: 1) Read this article about Dr. Bonnie Henry’s communication style. Then, write a paragraph about how you can apply what you read to your business communication practices. 2) Leave a comment on a classmate’s blog.
  • If you haven’t already, watch the video about the midterm.

Participation Activity

Open the folder provided, then find your group’s name. Use the collaborative Word document to write an email/memo/letter reacting to your scenario. When you’re done, post your scenario and your email/memo/letter in the forum.

When your group is finished your email/memo/letter in the collaborative writing document, post the results in this forum. Then, respond to another group’s work with a paragraph about what you admired about their email/memo/letter and how they could improve it.

Participation Activity Scenarios

Working in your group, please create an email/ memo or letter that responds to one of the following scenarios. When you’re done, post your scenario and your email/memo/letter into the participation forum. Then, discuss another group’s work and post a paragraph offering feedback. Remember to consider both what’s working well about the group’s work and what they can improve.

Your scenario choices:

#1) In your textbook, you read the Brenda Knights narrative about the dangers of emails. You work for a company that has some of the email challenges that Ms. Knights describes. Your boss has asked you to write a short email to your colleagues with some advice about when and how to use email. Using what you learned in Brenda Knights’ narrative, write an email to your colleagues giving them advice about email use.

#2) You recently purchased a new guitar at a local music shop. One of the shop’s employees, Maria, spent over an hour helping you make your purchase. She was very knowledgeable, and was the reason that you purchased the guitar at the small local store instead of going to a larger store with more selection. You want to let Maria’s boss know about her excellent service.

#3) Your company has decided to consider allowing employees to work from home (obviously this situation takes place before the pandemic). Anyone who is interested in working from home must have a conversation with their manager to determine if their position would be appropriate for this arrangement. If the manager approves, they must submit Form 4A to their HR representative. Those who are approved to work from home will start with a 3 month trial period, where they will be required to submit a weekly log of the tasks they performed at home. Your job is to inform employees of this new opportunity and make sure they know how to apply.

#4) You volunteer on your condo’s strata (the group of residents who make decisions about the building). The strata has approved painting the outside of the building. Between April 5-10, the residents must not open their windows and must remove everything from their balconies. You don’t have email addresses for every resident, but you do have access to their physical mailboxes.

#5) You volunteer for an organization that gives out scholarships to new high school graduates based on the results of an essay writing contest. You’ve already informed the winners of the scholarship by phone, but your boss wants you to send them something in writing with all of the official details and any forms that need to be filled out to claim the scholarship.

#6) Easter is coming up in a few weeks and you work for a flower shop. Many people order lilies for Easter, but these can be toxic to pets. The florist has come up with a pet-friendly Easter bouquet. He asks you to let the customers know about the dangers of lilies and suggest that they order a non-toxic Easter bouquet instead.

Bonus Forum

For your bonus activity, you have two choices:

1) Read this article about Dr. Bonnie Henry’s communication practices. Then, write a short paragraph about how you could apply her strategies to your own business communication practices.

2) Go to the list of your classmates’ blogs and write a friendly comment on one blog.

Additional resource you may find useful:

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International license.


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Resources for a business communications open online course Copyright © 2020 by Arley Cruthers; Melissa Ashman; John Grant; Seanna Takacs; and Petti Fong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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