Objectives

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Given information on a technology or business-related issue presented in a case study, evaluate and integrate outside research to create a well-organized and documented formal analytical report or proposal using at least six sources, including books, articles, interviews with subject matter experts, and websites or databases, and prepare a set of presentation slides to accompany the proposal.

 

Guidelines

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Beginning in Week 2, you will work through the weekly research stages and writing process toward the creation of an 8- to 10-page Formal Recommendation Report or Proposal and accompanying PowerPoint show, either narrated or for use during an onsite presentation of your final report. 

 

Topic: Topic suggestions are provided in Doc Sharing; however, if there is a topic you’d like to use that is not on the list, please contact your instructor for approval. Please note that the topic must be appropriate for either a recommendation or proposal report. Review Chapters 11 and 12 in the text for a description of these reports.

Audience: The audience for this report is an industry decision maker, such as your supervisor or CEO, or a public policymaker, such as a politician or bureaucrat, who could act upon your recommendations or proposal. You will identify this decision maker in the Course Project topic proposal that you will submit in Week 2.

Research: Six academic and/or professional research sources are required. Your research must consist of a variety of electronic sources (websites, databases, media) and traditional sources (books, journals, magazines). All sources must be cited using the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system.

Final Report/Proposal Details

 

As noted above, the final product will consist of an 8- to 10-page report or proposal on a technical or business topic from the approved list in Doc Sharing or your own topic with approval from your instructor. The final document includes the following.

 

Title page (one page)

Cover letter (one page, one or two paragraphs, single spaced)

Table of contents including list of illustrations (one page)

Executive summary (one page, two or three paragraphs, single spaced)

Body of report or proposal using the following required sections.

Introduction

Discussion sections

Conclusions and Recommendations

Six research sources provided on APA formatted References page (one page). All references included on the Reference page must be cited in-text.

Technical Illustration or visual such as a chart, graph, or image that you have created or have located via academic research. This should be incorporate within the main body of the report and be mentioned in-text.

Formatting Elements (discussed in Chapter 5 in the textbook).

Single spacing (or 1.15), double spacing between sections and/or paragraphs

12-point font size for main body of writing

Arial, Calibri, Cambria, or Times New Roman font type

Use of headings and subheadings when appropriate

Paragraph length of approximately five to seven sentences

Standard 1” margins

Ragged right justification

Note: Sample formal reports are found in the textbook on pages 334, 388, and 431. There are some formatting and heading variations depending on the type of report but all include the required sections.

 

Multimedia PowerPoint Presentation Details

 

You will present your report in a multimedia technical briefing in Week 7 using a narrated PowerPoint slide show. The instructions for creating this project can be found under Course Home and iConnect. Details include

 

eight to 10 slides, including

introduction slide with the report title and your name;

two to three slides per each main point of report;

a memorable conclusion slide;

use of full sentence, meaningful headings, and short words or phrases within the body of the slides;

a minimum of two meaningful visuals;

use of a business-appropriate design template; and

5–7 minutes of narration.

Milestones

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Please see the chart below for the topics, deadlines, and deliverables. Under the chart, you will see details for each week’s assignments.

 

As you will see, there is much work to be done. We will, however, be walking through each stage together. Keep up each week, and you will have no problems succeeding. You will definitely want to feature your formal report in your professional portfolio to show to employers.

 

Lastly, don’t forget about your other assignments unrelated to this Course Project.

 

NOTE: Because the course requires other assignments, working ahead on your Course Project is an excellent idea. Doing so will free you up when there are longer weekly assignments.

 

Week

TCOs

Topics

Deliverables

1

1, 4

Final formal report begins in Week 2

None

2

1, 3

Topic proposal including audience, purpose, and tentative thesis.

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

Topic Proposal

3

2, 6

Annotated references page with six credible sources in APA format.

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

Annotated references

Minimum of six sources written in APA format

4

4, 6

Outline, in-text citations, References page

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

Outline using required outline template found in Doc Sharing

5

1, 6

Formal report first draft (includes technical illustration, in-text citations, and a References page), originality report.

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

First draft of final formal report including technical illustration, in-text references, and a References page

6

7, 8

Cover letter and executive summary, peer reviews

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

Cover letter and executive summary (it should also be included in your final report)

Submit the first draft of your formal report to the Peer Review discussion topic for peer review by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Wednesday. Your grade for your peer review is given in your discussion grade this week.

Submit the two peer reviews you did for your classmates to the Peer Review discussion topic by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday.

 

7

5,6

Final formal report, multimedia technical briefing

Submit the following to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. (MT) Sunday:

Formal report

Presentation

8

All

Final Exam

No Course Project items due

Weekly Course Project Deliverables

 

Week 2: Course Project Launch and Topic Proposal

 

This week, you will choose a technological or business topic that you would like to investigate for your Course Project. It could be related to your current job, future career, or your Senior Project. However, the topic must be one that fits the parameters of a recommendation report or proposal and addresses a business audience, such as a company executive or decision maker. Make sure to select a topic that will interest you throughout the course. Topic suggestions are located in Doc Sharing. If there is a topic you’d like to use that is not on the list, please contact your instructor for approval.

 

Unless you are using a real-world issue from your own workplace to develop for this project, you will need to create a few details to help frame the direction for your project. To this end, your topic proposal should include the following.

 

Title: What is your preliminary title for the report?

 

Audience: Who will be reading your report or proposal? Is this solicited or unsolicited? In other words, have you been asked to investigate this topic or are you making a suggestion to someone who has not directly asked for it? Are there secondary audiences for the report?

 

Purpose: What is the overall goal of the report or proposal? What is your objective?

 

Thesis statement: State the main points you intend to use to develop your argument. Be sure to include at least three main points. See the thesis writing section in the lecture this week.

Submit your thesis to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. Sunday for instructor feedback.

 

Week 3: Annotated References List

 

This week, you will create an annotated References page, including six sources for your report. Include a minimum of three traditional sources (books, newspapers, magazines, journals, and databases, such as EBSCOhost). Electronic sources (credible websites, etc.) are acceptable for the remainder. Your Annotated References list should include the following.

 

Correct APA format: All six references must be listed in correct APA format. Make sure to view the APA Guide for Citing Sources tutorial located at the bottom of the Syllabus. There are also several links to APA citation sites provided in the Webliography.

 

Credible sources: All references, whether they are traditional or electronic, should be from credible sources written by identifiable experts or professionals in the field. 

 

Well-written annotations: Three of the six references must be annotated in a meaningful manner. In other words, provide a short (100-word) description of the article and indicate how it applies to your topic. The annotations must be written in your own words. Note that all references included in your final report must be cited in-text within the report.

Submit the preliminary outline with the bibliographic information for the six sources to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

 

Week 4: Outline

 

This week, you will create an outline of your formal report. You must use the Outline Template located in Doc Sharing for this assignment. Your outline should include the following.

 

Information for all sections of the report: Be sure to fill in every section of the outline template with the required information. 

 

In-text citations: In-text citation for all sources listed on your References page must be included within the outline indicating how you used each of the sources listed on the References page. 

 

References page: Include the References page you created in Week 3.

Submit the outline to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

 

Week 5: Formal Report First Draft

 

This week, you will create a rough draft of the formal report that will include all the required sections of the report, along with in-text citations and the References page. Note that the executive summary and cover letter will be written and submitted in Week 6. The report must be organized and formatted correctly using guidelines in Chapter 10 and the sample report beginning on page 334 in the text as a model. To recap, the draft should include

 

a cover or title page;

a transmittal letter (not required for draft);

a table of contents;

a list of illustrations;

an executive summary (not required for draft);

an introduction;

discussion sections;

conclusions and recommendations;

a references page; and

an appendix (optional).

As noted, you are required to create or locate an appropriate technical illustration, such as a chart, graph, diagram, or schematic to help convey a point in the report. You may use a software application, such as Excel or Visio. You could also create an image or photograph using a digital camera or some graphics package.

 

You must import the illustration into the formal report. It should be labeled correctly with a title and caption. If you did not create the illustration yourself, be sure to include a proper citation for it.

 

Submit the formal report first draft with the technical illustration included to the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

 

Week 6: Cover Letter, Executive Summary, and Peer Review

 

Executive summary: In Week 6, you will create an executive summary that accurately describes the entire report in a condensed one-page version. See pages 318–320 for a discussion and sample reports for examples. 

 

Cover letter: You will also create your cover letter (or transmittal letter) and add it to your formal report. Information for this part of the project is on pages 314–316 of your text. 

 

Peer review: You should submit the first draft of your report to the Peer Review Discussion Forum by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday for peer review. You will be completing a review of another classmate’s report by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Your grade for your peer review is given in your discussion grade this week. NOTE: You must use the Peer Review feedback form in Doc Sharing for this assignment.

Week 7: Final Report and Technical Briefing

 

Final Report: Your final report is due this week. The final report must follow the formatting elements described above and include the following components.

 

Cover or title page

Transmittal letter

Table of contents

List of illustrations

Executive summary

Introduction

Discussion sections

Conclusions and recommendations

References page

Appendix (optional)

Technical Briefing (narrated PowerPoint): Create a 5–7-minute multimedia technical briefing based on the highlights of your formal report. You will record your presentation using the audio narration function within PowerPoint. You will need a headset microphone. The directions are located in the iConnect Present section under Course Home.

 

You should create eight to 10 highly effective slides. The following details apply.

 

How many slides? Your PowerPoint slides should align with and support the points of the thesis. A good rule of thumb is approximately two to three slides per main point of your report or proposal. You also need a title slide that appears during your introduction and a slide that appears during the conclusion of your presentation. This adds up to approximately eight to 10 slides. 

 

Slide design: Use a business- or professional-design template with appropriate font styles, sizes, and colors. PowerPoint has choices. Keep fonts consistent and easy to read. Follow the design principles for visual aids found in your text and in the Week 7 Lecture. 

 

Slide content: Write full-sentence headlines that summarize or synthesize the content in the slide body and tell a coherent story from start to finish. Bullet slide copy with words or short phrases; do not put in paragraphs of text. 

 

Visuals within the PowerPoint: You are required to include a minimum of two visuals within your slides. More is better. Clip art (cartoon-type images, etc.) is not acceptable. Good visuals include charts, graphs, tables, diagrams, maps, screenshots, photos, and other images that add meaning and value to the presentation and make the information easier to comprehend for the audience.

 

Presentation time frame of 5–7 minutes: Remember to preview and review. When we make oral presentations, we always tell the audience where we are taking them, and then end with a summary of where we have been. So, for your presentations, preview your main areas or points in the opening, and then review those same points in your closing to reinforce the messages and signal the ending of the speech.