1st Writing Assignment of the Year, an Email

This post was originally published on HASTAC.org on September 2, 2020. Read the original post here.

In this first assignment of the year, inspired by Professor of English and History at Schoolcraft College Steven L. Berg‘s “Teaching Professionalism with Student Email,” students in my EC1 ALP course at NJCU will write a professional email introducing themselves and share a 200-word response to the question, “What should we be writing about right now?” Or, more specifically, what topic would be most interesting and useful to dive deeper into this semester. This topic will eventually become the basis for a final research paper but in the meantime, we’re staying focused on how to introduce ourselves and communicate professionally. 

I will respond to the emails with a reply and comments and suggestions for how to strengthen, professionalize, and otherwise improve the writing, format, and structure of the email to clearly and effectively communicate ideas. This is not only about writing but also about how to conduct ourselves in professional environments. Many students at NJCU already know how to do this but it’s always good to practice. That’s what we’re here for in English Composition 1. 

The next step will be to revise the email into an introductory cover letter, incorporating feedback and catering the language for a public audience here on our HASTAC group. Students will post their formal letters of introduction, read one another’s letters, and comment on them. Later, at the end of the semester, students will come back to these letters and revise them into cover letters for their writing portfolios, reflecting on all they did this semester.

Stay tuned! You’re about to meet some amazing people in this group. They are singers and songwriters, dancers, business owners, pet owners, parents, veterans, and big dreamers with amazing ideas and plans to change the world. I hope you enjoy meeting them as much as I have so far. I can’t wait to get started!

To read more about Steven L. Berg’s pedagogy, read his book for free on CUNY Manifold: “Promoting Student Transformation at a Community College: If Everything Happens That Can’t Be Done.” 

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