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Informal Report Assignment

The Basics

Between now and the date of the peer review for this assignment, attend an event on the EMU Calendar of Events and write an informal report about the event.  The audience for this report will be the class– that is, both the other students in the class and the instructor. The goal for this brief (600 to 800 words) report will be to describe and summarize, and also to offer a review of the event. You will present this in a memo format in a Google document which you’ll hand in (along with your writer’s memo).

A few more details

  • Your report needs to have an introduction that explains the purpose of your report, explains what event you attended/participated in, the date/time and other relevant information, and so forth. The body of your report should present an organized summary of what happened at the event. The conclusion should offer some sort of evaluation of the value of the event.
  • Keep in mind that while all of us at EMU know that these various events happen, we are unlikely to attend the specific event that is the subject of your report.  In other words, assume an audience unfamiliar with the basic details of the event you attend.
  • If you are participating in this course from a distance and cannot attend an event at EMU, let me know. Note that I am thinking here only of students in class who are actually not in Southeast Michigan.
  • Along these lines, let me address possible complaints along the lines of “But I just can’t do this! My schedule is far too busy! I can’t get to campus even though I live within 20 miles of Ypsilanti! I don’t have time!” etc., etc. First, my experience has been that most students in online classes are taking classes on campus at EMU at the same time, so for most of you, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  Second, if you look at the EMU Calendar, you will note there are dozens of different free and open to the public events between now and when this assignment is due.  These events occur at different times and on different days of the week, and some of them are open for hours a day (like art gallery exhibits), many of them are “family friendly” so you can bring the kids, etc. So there’s something you can attend.
  • As we’ll discuss, this assignment might best described as an “observational report” or “event report.” The term “informal report” is used in the professional/technical writing world to describe almost any kind of short report– a police report, the report you get for an estimate from your mechanic, a progress report on a work-related activity, etc. So don’t get too stuck on the term “informal report;” think in terms of making an observation and reporting back to the group.

Why I am assigning this project

Broadly speaking, a lot of writing in professional settings is based on the writer reporting back to an audience (often a boss) objectively on some kind of observation and the often (but not always) making a recommendation. These kinds of reports take a lot of different forms, but for our purposes, this gives you a “real” chance to report back to us. Second, I think it’s important for all students– particularly the ones on campus at EMU– to have some experience with things happening on campus– activities beyond just going to class.

2 Comments
  1. LeeAnne Baumdraher permalink

    Thank you, Professor Harryman, for taking your class to see Robert Gluck this Thursday. It helps out IMMENSELY 😉

    • Steve Krause permalink

      Ha! That will work. Though as I was saying to someone else today, part of the point of this assignment is to get you out to some kind of “out of class” event.

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