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Welcome to 323 online!

by Steve Krause on August 29th, 2014

Welcome to the Fall 2014 version of 323: Writing in the Professional World!

To get started, first take a look at this video:

Second, read over the course materials that are available on this web site.

And third, post a comment to this thread where you do two things:

  • Introduce yourself to me and your classmates; and
  • Write a sentence or two about what you’re hoping to get out of this class this semester– that is, what are your goals for learning about writing in the “professional world?”

Let me mention a few other important things about posting comments on the class web site:

  • You should use your real name (and not a nickname) and your EMU email so we all know who you are. Remember– this site is already password protected, so no need to be that shy, and this will help me do a better job of keeping track of your participation.
  • You should always use the same account information when signing into the site. This will also make it easier for me to keep track of participation, and it will also make it easier for you to post to the class site. The first time you post here, I will have to approve your comment; if you use the same account information again, then your comment will automatically be approved.
  • And why not have a GravatarGravatars are little pictures that accompany your comments and can be a nice little way to show us a bit about yourself.

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  1. Allyson Bruske permalink

    Hello everyone!

    I know the course doesn’t start for a few days, but I wanted to get a head start before the semester can get crazy on me. My name is Allyson Bruske and I am a Senior Public Health student at EMU. Here is a little bit of information about me: I am actually from VA Beach and I miss it more than anything. I will be graduating this year and I plan on using my degree to work for the CDC. Ultimately, I want to get my master’s degree in Epidemiology and (hopefully at that point) continue working with the CDC for disease outbreaks and cures.

    My expectations for this class are to simply improve my skills as a professional writer as well as increase the professionalism that those around me see when they meet me. I would like to be seen as a professional and intelligent woman when I complete both of my degrees and start my career through both my personality and my writing. After looking through some of the course information on this site, I saw that complaint letters are part of the curriculum. I recently had to write my first formal complaint letter and had difficulty doing this. My father ended up having to help me fix the professional tone of the letter before we submitted it to a Review Board. I hope this class can also help me to learn different styles of writing.

    I look forward to this class and the rest of the semester.

    • Chelsea Idzior permalink


      I would also be lost writing a formal complaint letter. I definitely think that it is good that we are learning about these because most people have the tendency to just rant and go off in a complaint letter. It’s kind of a tricky piece of writing because you are complaining about something, but at the same time have to maintain professionalism and respect. Also, the more respectful you are and the more clear you are in the point that you are making, the more likely it is that your complaint will be taken seriously.


  2. Natasha Wickenheiser permalink

    Hello friends!

    Although classes don’t start until tomorrow, I wanted to start my classwork early–especially because I am stuck in bed with a 102.7 degree fever, which will make my in-class work more difficult to manage tomorrow.

    My name is Natasha Wickenheiser, and I’m a senior double-majoring in Communications and Written Communications. Although I graduate in April, I am still in the process of deciding whether I want to pursue public relations or teach communication classes at a college level. I have recently been drawn to a Communications and Culture masters program at Indiana University, but I want to spend next year working in the communications field before applying to the graduate program. I need some time to re-evaluate where I’m at professionally, and where I see myself in the future.

    Because I plan to apply for graduate school, I am eager to learn more about writing personal statements. Although I have tutored several students in the University Writing Center (UWC) who have come in with their personal statements, I am hesitant to say I feel comfortable and prepared to write one of my own.

    For further introductory purposes, I’d like to share a few other things about myself. On campus, I work as a writing tutor in the UWC, I’m the Vice President of Communications for my sorority, Sigma Kappa, and I just served as a New Student Orientation Assistant (NSOA) for the incoming class of freshmen. My summer highlights include a two week trip to Ireland, and reading six different novels.

    I look forward to working with you all throughout the course of the semester.


    • Steve Krause permalink

      I hope you feel better, Natasha. I don’t have any kind of fever or what-have-you, but I do have an annoying beginning of the term cold I can’t quite throw.

      By the way, as you think about graduate school, think also of our MA in Written Communication. Check it out at:

      A lot of our students– especially the ones emphasizing professional writing– go on to do the kind of work you’re describing.

    • Chelsea Idzior permalink


      I hope that you are feeling better! I am also eager to learn about writing personal statements for the same reason that you listed–I am applying to law school within the next year. I am very nervous about the personal statement because it plays a huge part in the decision of the law school to admit you or not. I am so glad that I will have a chance to learn about personal statements (and have the lesson fresh in my brain!) before I have to write my own.

      Also, I am so jealous of your trip to Ireland! I’m sure it was awesome.

  3. Nijea Wilson permalink

    Hello everyone, my name is Nijea Wilson and I’m a senior. I also wanted to get a head start on the class because I will be working crazy hours the rest of the week.

    I will be graduating April with a bachelors in the Individualized study program. I plan to return to get a second bachelors or a masters in Dietetics, not sure which route I want to take just yet. I took this class as a requirement for my major but believe writing in the professional world is a very important skill to have. I’ve worked in the healthcare field as a nurse aid for about 12 years now and realize how important communication and the need to know how to professionally write is important. I want to be able to properly write in a professional way and be able to let jobs or fellow employees be aware of not just how intelligent I am but that I know how to properly write it on paper.

    • Elyse Cawetzka permalink

      Hi Nijea,

      I am doing the ISP route as well and then going back for either my masters or second bachelors in dietetics. Hopefully this writing class will give us that special something our future employers are looking for! Good luck in your endeavors!


  4. Elyse Cawetzka permalink

    Hello everyone,

    I am Elyse Cawetzka and I am super senior, this is my sixth and final year at EMU. I have changed my major a total of three times so it’s taken me a little longer than hoped to receive my first bachelors.I will be graduating in April with a bachelors of science in the individualized study program, then going back and getting either my masters or second bachelors in dietetics.

    I am taking this class because of the mandatory writing intensive course needed to graduate, but I chose this class because I feel being able to write in a correct and professional way is important in the work field, regardless of what your career is. I believe that the way a person writes can say a lot about that person and I want my work to come across as professional to my future employers and employees.

    • Chelsea Idzior permalink

      Hi Elyse,

      I think it is great that you chose this course, and I think that it will fit perfectly even though you are not a writing major. Most of the time, at some point in a person’s career, they will have to write some sort of professional literature. After taking this class, you will have background in professional writing, while some others who are not writing majors and did not take a writing course, or a relevant writing course for that matter, may not have the same knowledge.

      Congrats on graduating this year, it is my last as well–definitely an exciting feeling!

  5. Ashleigh Swinehart permalink

    Hello fellow classmates,

    My name is Ashleigh Swinehart (as you can see by my post name) and I am a Japanese Language & Culture major and an English Language minor. I am (technically) a senior this year with no way of graduating due to transferring to EMU last fall from Adrian College (long, boring story), but I hope to graduate in two or two and a half years.

    Anyway, I guess I should move on to my next topic: what I wish to gain from this class. I may be in this class because it is on my list of courses available to me for my minor, but that isn’t all. I want to learn and understand how to truly write “professionally” in the sense that I can confidently communicate with colleagues, bosses, and the like in the future when the time comes for me to have a “serious adult job”. I already have a passion for writing creatively about fantasy characters I dream up overnight, and I can write a decent paper or essay for a class with some confidence, but I wish to gain more. My hope is to gain a higher level of confidence in my writing to where I can sit down and respond to someone via email or a letter and not worry about how I sound to the other person. I hope to learn and grasp the skills needed so I may continue to write and communicate with others without the prospect of sounding like I haven’t written a paper since senior (high school) English class. I apologize if I started to ramble, for that is a big flaw in my writing: getting off topic/rambling. Thank you for reading my comment and I will see (read) more from you all soon.

    Ashleigh Swinehart

    • Steve Krause permalink

      That’s not rambling– I think you’re on topic there.

      I think one of the things that makes this class different from other writing classes you may have taken where you write more traditional academic “papers” about things is a lot of the writing we’ll be doing is short and very genre-specific. All of the assignments are about different kinds/types of writing you’re likely to encounter in the professional “serious adult job” world, things like letters and instructions and reports. Those kinds of writing aren’t just mechanical and rote, of course– you’re still trying to persuade and inform. But I think you’ll see that this kind of writing is interestingly different from academic writing, and what counts as good academic writing might not work well in these professional contexts (and vice-versa).

  6. Kristen Smith permalink

    Hello, everyone!

    My name is Kristen Smith and I am currently a senior here at EMU. I am majoring in Language, Literature, and Writing and hope to find myself in a career that involves either editing or publishing work after I graduate this spring. I have changed my major a couple times, but feel that I have found a major that fits me well and will also help me accomplish my future career goals.

    Throughout my education I have taken a variety of classes centered on writing and grammar, but most of them have leaned towards creative writing. While I enjoy creative writing and find it to be fun and rewarding, I also want to learn more about writing in the professional world. I hope to learn how to have a stronger professional voice in my writing through this class and also hope to learn a few key tips and tricks to have stronger writing overall.

    While learning how to better my writing to have more appeal in the professional world, I am also interested in learning how to begin writing in different forms and styles to attract the right people and convey the correct message. Overall, I am excited for this class and what I will gain from it as a writer.

    • Chelsea Idzior permalink


      I like what you said about “..writing in different forms and styles to attract the right people and convey the correct message.” I am a journalism major, but when I go to law school, I might need to write a completely different way.

      I also want to better learn how to change my writing to not only attract the right people, but also to better serve my prescribed audience. This, for me, could also overlap into journalism because it is important to keep in mind the audience that most commonly reads you articles, and to write in a way that will attract that audience.


  7. Kourtney Lovett permalink

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Kourtney Lovett and I am currently a junior here at EMU. I am a Written Communication major with a double minor in Spanish and Political Science. I am a tad bit nervous because this is my first online class but I’m also excited to partake in a new learning experience!

    I signed up for this course because 1) it is required for my major and 2) the title of the course struck me as quite intriguing. Being that I intend to go to law school after I graduate from EMU, I am very interested in learning about how influential good writing skills will be in my profession. I am also looking forward to stepping out of the realm of essay writing to become a better writer in terms of professionalism.

    I look forward to interacting with all of you this semester!


  8. LeeAnne Baumdraher permalink

    Well, hello there!

    My name is LeeAnne, and I am excited to say that I am in my penultimate semester of college. It’s been a long, arduous journey through a dismally expensive tunnel, but I finally see the light!!

    I’d like to say that my plan with this class is to learn how to do business-like writing, so that I can project my professionalism into the world, but I’ve been in the professional arena for many years now, so I’ve got a decent grip on emails and resumes and things. Perhaps I’ll learn to chuck run-on sentences like the one before this particular sentence. But, honestly, I’m just intoxicated by closing this decade-long chapter. I will, however, do my best to excel in this class. Don’t worry, Professor 😉

    Have a great semester, everyone!!

    • Steve Krause permalink

      First off, congratulations on almost being done, LeeAnne! That’s got to be a great feeling!

      Second, I want to remind you (and others too, I’m sure) about the situation you’re in as a student and the nature of the class. Remember, this is an *intro* class, one that’s designed for students early in the writing major. As a result of that, we’re certainly going to be covering a lot of territory that is perhaps old hat for you.

      I’m sure this isn’t going to be an issue, but I mention this not because of you but because of some problems I’ve had in the recent past in this class. I’ve recently had students who came into the class with a lot of professional and “real world” experience, and a few of these students were pretty grumpy about it. They thought the material was a) beneath them and/or b) wrong, I supposed because it didn’t match up exactly with the work they did at Dunder Mifflin.

      Anyway, all I’m asking is everyone remember that this is a group that has students at a lot of different levels as professionals and writers and I might be “pitching it” to students at a more introductory level. So help us out, get what you can out of the experience, have fun, contribute, etc.

      • LeeAnne Baumdraher permalink

        Thank you for the heads up, but I don’t find this work beneath me. It’ll be a good refresher course 😀

  9. Sabrina Gissendaner permalink


    My name is Sabrina, and I am going into my senior year here at EMU. I just recently changed my major from Language, Literature, and Writing to Written Communication with a minor in LLW, so I am taking this course because it is a required part of my major!

    In addition to taking this class as a requirement, I am very excited about developing in a more professional way as a writer. At this point I am more familiar with narrative, and am ready to take the plunge into the more career oriented aspect of writing. I’m excited to see what this class has in store for me!

  10. Erika Gentile permalink

    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Erika Gentile. This is my last semester at EMU, and I needed a writing intensive course to fulfill gen ed requirements, so here I am. Like a previous student noted above this is my first online class as well, so I am curious and excited to see how this goes.

    What I hope this class offers is writing cover letters, and resumes and assignments like that. Since this is my last semester, I feel that would be very beneficial in order to better prepare myself for applying for jobs in the near future. I am a little nervous because my time here at EMU has been a lengthy one, and I have not taking a writing or English course probably since my freshmen year, and my writing skills have been reduced to Facebook, and social media sites, not too many writing assignments, so hopefully I have not forgot proper formatting or punctuation. I guess only time will tell. Thanks you all for your time, and good luck with this course!

  11. Chelsea Idzior permalink

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Chelsea Idzior, and I am in my senior year at EMU. I am a journalism major with a double minor in women’s and gender studies and writing. I hope to move to the West Coast following graduation and attend law school there.

    I am excited for this course because, as a journalism major, you follow a very specific writing style called AP style. Because of this, when I am writing literature that is not in AP style, I sometimes struggle with knowing how the literature should be written. In news journalism, you are taught to keep things concise and to avoid any overly-vivid language. However, some other styles of writing want you to do the exact opposite.

    Because I plan to go to law school, I thought it would be a good idea to take this class and explore some forms of “professional writing,” so that I am able to effectively write beyond just the styles that I am most comfortable with.

    I was glad to see that we have a “Personal Statement Assignment” this semester. I have to write a personal statement when I apply for law school, so it s relieving to know that I will learn the proper way to write a personal statement, and will get a better idea of what to include in my own.

  12. Latasha Davis permalink

    Hello everyone,
    My name is Latasha Davis, I’m a senior majoring In Elementary Education. I’m currently a 4th grade substitute in a Elementary charter school. I’m excited to be graduating this winter. Its been six longs year since I started at Eastern Michigan and although it’s almost over, I plan on pursuing my masters in the Speech and Pathology program .

    I would have to say I’m taking this class because it’s required. I do however enjoy writing . Usually all careers require some type of writing. I strongly believer that being able to write professionally is important in every career. And increases you ability to share information with peer educator or co workers.

  13. Hello, everyone!

    My name is Carly. I’m a junior, but this semester will be my first that is wholly focused on my major rather than getting gen eds out of the way and working on my minor. I was long decided that I would minor in Japanese language, but it took me a while to figure out that English was what I favored for my major.

    Since back in high school, and even until recently, long, lengthy research papers were my favorite things to write, and what I excelled in. I was never one for creative writing, and it had never occurred to me that more official documents, like resumes and the such were something I would put just as much, if not more work into, despite them being so much smaller. I overlooked them for a very long time, and finally realized it was just like you stated above, this idea of the smaller the document, the more the words counted. And this idea of condensing instead of lengthening became a whole new thing I could get excited about. So in short, I’m here to learn a new way of writing that I’ve little experience with.

  14. Steve Krause permalink

    By the way, for the folks who are saying they are taking this course because it’s required: you might want to double-check with your advisors in your specific majors about that.

    All students at EMU are required to take a “WI” or “Writing Intensive” course to graduate, but these courses are supposed to be in your major. Here’s a list from the catalog:

    For example, the designated WI course for Dietetics is DTC 431W: Community Nutrition Experience; there are three designated courses for the Elementary Ed Language Arts Group major; etc.

    So if you’re not a Writing major and you are being told that you are “required” to take this course, you might want to do a little double-checking about that. You are probably being told to take this course as a substitution for the official course in your major because of your own circumstances about when you can take classes, because this one happens to be online, etc. And again, everyone is more than welcome to stay in this course.

    At the same time, I want all of you to find and take courses that actually benefit you! In other words, if you’re taking this because it “checks a box” toward graduation (even though the course you’re supposed to be taking in your major would make more sense), then you might want to at least email your advisor to make sure this is the sensible choice.

    I realize this is a balancing act– sometimes the best thing is just to do whatever it takes to get done. But I wouldn’t want folks to be taking this course only for that reason, if that makes sense.

  15. Latasha Davis permalink

    Thank you professor Krause . I’m apart of the IPS program. I was wold I could take any WI course. To fulfill my requirements to graduate.

  16. Mary Rutkowski permalink

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Mary Rutkowski, I’m a junior here at EMU and I am dual majoring in Art Education and English Education. I work at a ceramics and pottery studio in Northville and a small grocery store in Brighton.

    I am taking this course to fulfill a requirement, but I feel that it will also help me prepare for my career. I am used to more creative writing, so this will be an interesting shift for me. I’m hoping to gain experience in ‘getting to the point’ quickly and making the goal of a piece of writing clear early on. I am also hoping that the class will help me prepare for rubric writing, preparing assignments, etc.

    I am looking forward to getting started and getting to know everyone!

  17. Brian Gardner permalink


    My name is Brian and I’m an Accounting Information Systems major and writing minor. Writing is a hobby whenever I get inspiration to do so and I picked it as my minor to help me do it more often.

    I also picked writing since it should help me communicate in the business world. This class seems to fit my desire to be employable and effective in the business world, so that’s likely why I signed up for the course.

    To be more specific, I’d like to learn how to properly write memos to fellow workers and perhaps letters to clients should I need that skill working in a CPA firm. These skills are probably too catered to my field and not likely taught in this class but I’m sure there will be plenty to take away.

    • Steve Krause permalink

      I’ve always been a big believer in writing as a minor, Brian, in part because of what you’re getting at here: almost everyone in the professional world has to spend at least some of their time writing.

      One thing I’ll mention though in response to your introduction. We’ll be studying and practicing genres like memos and letters, but there is of course no one (or two or three) “proper” way(s) to write these documents. So while we’ll learn some basics and generalities about these genres, what we’ll mostly be concentrating on here is learning how to adapt your writing for what you’re being asked to write in professional settings. It’s still all about remembering that you have to write things to reach a particular audience and to accomplish a particular goal.

  18. Jessica Kane permalink

    Hi all!

    I am sorry I am late to the party! I intend to be much more prompt in my responses/writings. I am a senior going for my first Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a Sociology minor. I am taking this class to increase the efficiency and clarity of my writing so I am able to come across to others in a succinct manner. I am certain this will be very useful in my life, both personally and professionally. Eventually, I hope to use much of what I learn here in writing grant proposals.

    I look forward to working and learning from each of you in the coming semester.



  19. Hello everyone, my name is Angie Souva and I am a senior here at Eastern Michigan University. I am an ISP major, (biology, exercise science, and pyschology), and I couldn’t be happier with the degree that I have built. I am only two classes away from graduation, and this class just so happens to be one of them. I hope to be able to type more clear and concise papers after going through this class. I also hope to become more aware of grammatical errors and other commonly missed things on papers. This class seems like a great place to improve my writing skills and I cannot wait to start.

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