Writing That Works: Written Communication for Library Staff
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
October 6 - November 2, 2009
Do you ever feel frustrated because people don't "get" what you're trying to say in your email? When your library board or director asks you to write a report, do you stare at a blank screen, wondering where to start? Would you like to feel more confident that your written communication projects a positive image of you and your skills? You're not alone in feeling anxious about writing.
In this course, communications professional Laurie Putnam will help you:
- Explain the steps in the writing process.
- Develop strategies for writing efficiently.
- Write a document that is focused and organized.
- Revise your writing for clarity, conciseness, and accuracy.
- Write more effective email messages.
- Partner with colleagues to improve your writing with "reality checks."
- Use online tools and resources that will help you continue to improve your writing on your own.
Writing That Works can make library staff more productive—whether you’re the writer or the reader.
Course Description: This four-week online course will give you strategies for improving your work-related writing. The instructor will provide planning templates, editing checklists, and practical tips that can be applied immediately. In online discussion forums, we’ll explore common problems with writing and ways to overcome them. Through individual and partner exercises, you’ll learn ways to write faster and more effectively. You’ll take away tips for writing email that will be read and understood. You’ll polish up writing samples of your own. And you’ll learn about online resources that can help you continue to improve your writing long after the course is over.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using an Internet connection and web browser, you’ll log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: The Writing Process
- Planning before you write
- Finding and using models
- Doing “reality checks”
- Week 2: Organizing and Focusing Your Writing
- Identifying your key point
- Including the right information
- Structuring your content
- Week 3: Writing More Effective Email
- Things to consider before you email
- Getting your point across
- Conveying the right tone
- Week 4: Revising Your Writing
- Avoiding common problems
- Using tools and resources that go beyond the spell checker
Pre-course assignment: You’ll use your own writing for class exercises. That way, you’ll be able to apply the techniques and ideas we talk about in the course to your own worklife right away.
Before the course begins, you’ll need to choose at least one work-related document you’ll be writing during the timeframe of the course. The document should be substantive but brief (one to three pages)—perhaps a policy, procedure, or board report; a letter, memo, or formal email; or a press release, blog entry, or newsletter article. It doesn’t matter whether your document will be delivered electronically or on paper. You may use the same document throughout the course, or choose a different document each week.
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ to 3 hours per week. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, it is recommended that you complete each week’s assignments within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: This course is appropriate for all levels of library staff at any type of library. Anyone who has to write on the job and wants to improve his or her written communications can benefit from the course.
Participants must be fluent in English. This online course is not a substitute for basic writing or ESL instruction. Those who need more intensive assistance and coaching should explore community college courses and writing centers, and other local resources.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on October 6, 2009.
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