CMNS 1291

Introduction to Professional Writing

3.0 Credits


This course introduces students to the theories and practice of professional business and technical writing. Students will learn writing techniques and practice editorial skills as these relate to business and technical writing. Elements of style, awareness of audience, and clarity of purpose will be stressed as integral aspects of effective writing and speaking. This course is designed to be non-program specific and to complement the foundations of academic composition.

Delivery Methods

Print, self-paced

Online, self-paced




CMNS 1290 and CMNS 1811


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Write effective business documents and correspondence consistent with professional writing standards in a variety of practical situations.
  • Analyze the audience for a given document or piece of correspondence, and choose writing and document design strategies appropriate for that context.
  • Critically analyze articles to identify and summarize main ideas and argument.
  • Collaborate effectively with other students.
  • Interact appropriately with peer editors or readers to accept and provide useful and courteous criticism.

Course Outline

CMNS 1291 includes the following twelve lessons:

1. The Importance of Effective Communication

2. Planning Your Message

3. The Audience-Centred Approach

4. Writing Clearly and Concisely

5. Revision and Document Design

6. Routine and Positive Messages

7. Delivering Bad News

8. Persuasive Messages

9. Feedback

10. Reports and Proposals

11. Presentations

12. Employment Messages

Course Duration

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

Students will receive all course materials including the textbook in their course package.

Thill, J.V., Bovee, C.L., & Cross, A. Excellence in Business Communication. 4th Cdn. Ed. Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada , 2011.
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-0-13-700399-0

Students will receive a custom publication of this text - ISBN: 978-1-256-91746-5/1-256-91746-X

All content is the same.

Your textbook comes bundled with free access to a companion website. Bundle ISBN: 9781-323-12489-5. The course lessons suggest you try some model documents and interactive document makeovers from the website, but these activities are not required to complete the course.

Note: The final exam is an open book exam. However, no digital or electronic resources will be permitted.

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet is required.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students to complete their course. The primary communication is by phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the "Mail" tool in the Learning Environment if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Exercises and Reflections 20%
Assignment 2: Planning Messages 5%
Assignment 3: Effective Writing 5%
Assignment 4: Writing Messages 5%
Assignment 5: Providing Feedback 10%
Assignment 6: Revising Messages 15%
Assignment 7: Planning a Report 10%
Assignment 8: Presentation 10%
Final Exam * 20%
Total 100%

* Mandatory