Running Headlong into the World of PWR

Guest Blogger Maggie Miller ’16

maggiemillerI’ve recently been introduced to the world of Professional Writing and Rhetoric through the CUPID course. Because of my intent until last semester to concentrate in Creative Writing and Literature rather than Creative Writing and PWR, I had not yet taken the introductory class, and the subject was a bit new to me. However, the course was extremely helpful both as an introduction to the subject, and as a chance for me to try my hand at personal portfolios and resumes as well as client projects.

The project to which I was assigned was updating the Professional Writing and Rhetoric webpage. Because the program was relatively new when the site was first created, our goal was to focus on its growth, placing special emphasis on current students’ projects and the opportunities Elon provided to get hands-on PWR experience. Our final product would be a recommendation report for the website, complete with mockups of the major changes we suggest.

Our initial methodology in updating the PWR website was combing through and finding all manner of minor details which we could change, expand on, or delete. However, as we continued our work on the project, our understanding of what a recommendation report is changed. Recommendations mentioned in the report must have some sort of basis. Although we had several ideas, we needed to be able to prove why they were valuable changes, and not just personal whims. In order to do this, we studied Professional Writing and Professional Communication pages of different universities and noted where they succeeded or failed. Using that information, we were able to compare our site and find evidence for the changes we wished to make. Some of these changes included updating our FAQ page, focusing on ease of communication and collaboration with professors, including current student works, including where students went after their graduation from the program, and removing some information that was no longer as relevant.

Overall, we ended up with six mock-ups of new site content as well as a seven-page recommendation report which explained our reasoning based on evidence from other PWR sites. Although projects such as this may seem daunting at first, they can be easily broken down into smaller, much more doable parts. I would encourage those who are attempting similar feats to

  • look at the overarching project as several smaller projects.
  • set due dates and take them seriously in order to pace yourself through the process of completing the project.
  • don’t be afraid to ask questions of more experienced PWR students or professors. Speaking as someone who knew nothing about the program before taking the CUPID class, I can say that professors and fellow classmates are incredibly willing and helpful resources readily available to you through all number of media.

As a final piece of advice, I would advise you to remember what an incredible opportunity the Elon PWR program offers as far as hands-on experience. Client projects, publications, and internships are all readily available. Take advantage of them. Encourage yourself to face challenges and learn from them. And as always, do it with proper grammar. We are English majors, after all.

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