Your group will collaborate on resources to add to a continuity folder. For the purposes of this project, you will be creating materials that future students who take Business Writing or Technical Writing can use to guide their activities in the course. Additional details on the project are explained after the following Background information.
If you are lucky, when you begin a new job, you will find a continuity folder on the desk or on the computer to help you complete your work. The exact name of this folder will depend on your workplace. It can be called a continuity folder, binder, portfolio, or book; standard (or standing) operating procedures; or a transition book.
Inside this folder, you will find documents and information that will help you complete your work. The contents can include:
- mission statements and goals
- position responsibilities
- system and social media login information
- advice and tips
- schedules, timelines, and calendars
- instructions, protocols, and procedures
- templates and examples
- budget and funding information
- inspection reports
- organization charts and info on personnel
You will use this folder to guide your daily work, and one of your on-going tasks will be to keep the contents of the folder current. In the event that you are not available, the person filling in for you will use the folder to determine what to do and how to do it. When you move to another position, the next person in the position will use the information that you leave in the folder.
One point of clarification, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations also create continuity plans, which typically account for how the organization will use to continue operations in a time of emergency. FEMA, for instance, offers advice for how to write this kind of continuity plan. For this activity, you are working on a position-focused continuity folder, not a business or agency plan.
Details on Your Project
You will create a document to add to a continuity folder that will be given to new students taking Business Writing or Technical Writing. Think back to the beginning of the course, and reflect on things that you wish you knew from the beginning or strategies that you would advise these new students to adopt to have a positive experience in the course.
Your project should meet the following criteria:
- use a you-attitude that will set readers at ease.
- explain concrete information, rather than general advice.
- include suggestions from all members of the group.
- have a polished, professional design.
Keep in mind that the documents that you include in your continuity folder (for this assignment or in the workplace) will be reviewed by others. Be sure that your advice avoids any unethical commentary. You want to be honest, but you should not include any advice that might focus on someone’s personality or collegiality.
The Project Assignment
Project How-To Documents
- Building a Useful Continuity Book (U.S. Army)
- Job Continuity Books
- How to Write a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for a Farm (Cornell)
- Standard Operating Procedures: A Writing Guide for a Dairy Farm (Penn State)
- Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (EPA)
- Standard Operating Procedure (UN FAO)
Step 1: Review the Project How-To Documents.
The box on the left points to resources on how to create continuity documents for a variety of different organizations. Review the documents to get an idea of the kinds of information that are appropriate. In addition to these documents, share any personal experience you have with continuity documents with your group. For our purposes, a list of tips or lessons learned is just as appropriate as step-by-step instructions.
Step 2: Choose a topic.
Your writing group will choose a topic to focus on from the following list:
- Collaborating on group work
- Succeeding in an online course
- Applying a particular design strategy
- Using Slack as a group
You can make these general topics more specific, if you desire. For instance, you might talk about advice for managing the revision process as a group. One condition however, the specific assignments and activities in the course change, so do not focus on any particular assignment in your document.
Whichever you choose, be sure that you have a way for every member of your group to contribute. If you choose to do advice on group work, for instance, have each member of your group share a tip.
Step 3: Decide how to publish your document.
Choose a basic format for your resource. It can be a Google Doc or an infographic. Since I will share your resources with students I teach in the future, it needs to be simple to integrate with other course documents.
Step 4: Compose your document.
As a group, collaborate on writing your document. Creating a shared Google Doc that you can all add to is probably the easiest way to begin gathering your notes, but choose whatever strategy works for you.
Step 5. Review your project for design and basic writing errors.
Everything you write should use accurate/appropriate image editing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, mechanics, linking, and formatting. These are important basic writing skills that you should have developed in high school.
Review your project, considering the layout and design of your project. Refer to the details listed in the Ten Ways to Improve Your Writing and the grammar and design Lynda.com videos included on that page.
Step 6: Submit your project in Canvas.
One member of your group will submit your link in Canvas. One submission works for the entire group. Since your guide is published on the Internet, one person will submit the link. If you use a Google Share link, be sure that you have shared your document with firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can add comments. For technical help, check out the How do I submit an assignment on behalf of a group? guide on the Canvas Help site.
- Instructions & Process Reports
- Instructions: Tell them how to do it!
- Standard Operating Policies and Procedures: Tell ’em how to do it, how to behave
- Chapter 19: Group Communication, Teamwork, and Leadership
Photo Credit: the unplanned desk coordination by emdot on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.