End-of-Semester Assignment: Formal Letter to Professor

Posted by Janet Mizrahi

At the end of my business communication course, I like my students to reflect on what they’ve learned and then demonstrate those accomplishments in a final assignment. Because they have not written a formal business letter, I use this genre for the last writing task. However, it could easily be reworked as an e-mail, a blog post, a short presentation, or a memo.

My objectives for this assignment are twofold. First, I want to reinforce the writing techniques we’ve worked on during the course. These include utypingsing the appropriate organizational strategy, in this case the direct strategy; breaking up text using graphic markers, white space, and shorter paragraphs; and writing tightly edited, correct prose.

My second objective is for students to reflect on two areas: what they have learned in the course, and their experience in a collaborative project.

More often than not, I am quite pleased when reading these letters at the end of our arduous quarter together. Not only are the letters well done—I learn that students are almost universally grateful for gaining the practical knowledge I’ve taught!

Below is one version I use, but you can adapt the bulleted points to specifics in your own course. Good luck, and happy reading!

Course Evaluation Assignment

Write me a letter using the direct organizational strategy in which you incorporate the following elements:

  • Components of formal business letter. Personal letterhead, dateline, inside address, salutation, body, complimentary close, and signature block. If your letter goes on to a second page, use a second-page heading.
  • Discussion of your growth as a business communicator. Include specifics about how your writing has evolved over the course. You may want to address your growth from an academic writer to a more professional writer.
  • Evaluation of your performance. What did you do well? What could you have improved?
  • Assessment of your group project. What did you learn about working collaboratively? If so, explain using specifics. Finally, objectively evaluate your own participation in the project.

Remember this is your final assignment in our class. Show me what you have learned about effective business communication!

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