CMNS 1811: Professional and Academic Composition

Students learn the theory and practice of successful academic and professional writing. Students compare and apply techniques involved in writing for business and academic purposes, learning skills in audience assessment, document planning and design, research, and effective writing. Students complete assignments ranging from academic essays to a variety of professional communication documents.

Learning outcomes

  1. Apply critical thinking and persuasive skills to academic and professional writing situations.
  2. Write with improved grammar and style suitable for both professional and academic contexts.
  3. Design professional and academic communication documents that are responsive to goal, context, and audience need.
  4. Explain the purpose of and create different communication strategies, including information exchange and persuasion.
  5. Explain the purpose of and create properly structured academic documents, including an essay and report.
  6. Explain the purpose of and create properly structured professional documents, including reports, general business correspondence, and employment writing.
  7. Apply effective research and documentation skills.
  8. Produce and deliver an effective oral presentation with appropriate visual support.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Introduction to Professional and Academic Composition
  • Module 2: Academic Composition—The Writing Process and Thesis Statements
  • Module 3: Academic Composition—Library Research and Reference Lists
  • Module 4: Academic Composition—Research Essays
  • Module 5: Editing Documents; Writing Memos, Emails, and Letters
  • Module 6: Professional Communication—Good News and Bad News Messages
  • Module 7: Professional Communication—Persuasive Messages
  • Module 8: Communicating for Employment—Cover Letters and Resumés
  • Module 9: Communicating for Employment—Interviews
  • Module 10: Professional Communication—Informal Reports
  • Module 11: Formal Reports and Proposals
  • Module 12: Visual Presentations and Oral Communication

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Meyer, C. (2020). Communicating for results: A Canadian student’s guide(with Access card) (5th ed.). Oxford University Press.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-0-19-016277-1

The following Open Education Resources (OER) textbook is required for this course:

  1. Smyrl, S. (n.d.). University writing lessons. Thompson Rivers University.

Note: If you have questions about course textbooks or other materials, email OLMaterials.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

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 mandatory final exam.

Assignment 1a: Annotated Reference List 5%
Assignment 1b: Research Essay 15%
Assignment 2: Direct and Bad News Emails 10%
Assignment 3: Resumé and Cover Letter 10%
Assignment 4: Informal Report 10%
Assignment 5: Formal Report 20%
Assignment 6: Formal Report Presentation 10%
Final Exam (mandatory) 20%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of your course.

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