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WMBA 6030 Managing Business Information Systems: Writing Tutor

Meet Sarah, Your Writing Tutor



Click on the image below for Sarah's short video introduction.

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Course Day Converter

Because your course days are listed by number, here is a helpful cheat sheet to remind you the day of the week that corresponds to each course day number:

  • Day 1 = Monday
  • Day 2 = Tuesday
  • Day 3 = Wednesday
  • Day 4 = Thursday
  • Day 5 = Friday
  • Day 6 = Saturday
  • Day 7 = Sunday

Definitions: Summary, Paraphrasing, Analysis, and Synthesis

  • Summary: An overview of a source's important, general information in your own words and sentence structure. A summary generally answers to who, what, when, where, why, and how questions.
  • Paraphrase: An articulation of a specific passage or idea in your own words and sentence structure. Check out these effective paraphrasing strategies, which will help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
  • Analysis: An examination of the summary elements (answers to questions listed above) in order to examine/interpret their meaning. When analyzing, consider: relationships; trends, patterns; cause and effect; advantages and disadvantages; strengths and weaknesses; roles of people, places, or situations; as well as consequences of decisions, events, and processes.
  • Synthesis: The combination of analyses, which rely on the summarized or paraphrased details of individual sources, to create a new interpretation or original argument. See these great tips on constructing synthesis if you need more guidance.

Reference List Checklist

Course Assignment Types and Explanations

 Discussion Posts and Shared Practices

These assignments are intended to provide a lively exchange of ideas among colleagues engaged in scholarly inquiry, which is a key aspect of graduate-level learning and is a requisite activity in this course. To write an effective discussion post, remember to set aside time to read critically, write, and revise. For more guidance on writing exemplary posts and responses, be sure to review the discussion post best practices and the “How to Prepare a Discussion Post” pdf in the Learning Support Docs folder in Bb.      

 Individual Reflections

Individual Reflection assignments vary in type, so you will want to closely read weekly assignment guidelines for specifics. In the Individual Reflection due at the end of week 5, you are asked to construct a formal academic paper. Make sure to review the paper template, provided to you by your instructor (you can find this in Week 4, Day 7--the first reading there), to ensure you are following APA guidelines correctly. At the end of week 7, your Individual Reflection will take the form of an executive summary. For help on writing your executive summary, be sure to review the “How to Write an Effective Executive Summary” in the Learning Support Docs in Bb.

The Blueprint for Professional and Personal Growth (BPPG)

The Blueprint for Professional & Personal Growth (BPPG) is designed to help you to synthesize readings, media, assignments, and exchanges with colleagues in each course of your Walden MBA program and help you to set goals for your professional and personal growth. In this course, you will submit the BPPG in Week 7. It will consist of two components: (1) an executive summary of the course and (2) action plans to achieve the professional and personal goals you have set for yourself. To learn more about how to write an effective executive summary, be sure to review the “How to Write an Effective Executive Summary” in the Learning Support Docs in Bb.

The Life Cycle of a Paper

Week 1: Effective Leadership in a Dynamic World

  • By day 3 of this week, you will be responsible for introducing yourself in the assignment, "Shared Practice: Preparing for Success."  Make sure to start the semester off right by following the discussion post best practices on this page. In addition, be sure to respond to your colleagues by day 5 using the syllabus guidelines. If you are confused at all about which days correspond to what days of the week, be sure to review the above course day converter to ensure you are turning in your assignments on time!
  • In this week's second assignment, a discussion post titled "The Qualities of Leaders," you are being asked to write an analysis of leaders you identify and their leadership qualities. Remember, by day 7 of this week, after describing five qualities of the leaders you identified, you want to then use evidence (from course readings and personal experience) to explain how they've acheived this level of power and influence within their respective organizations. As you will see from reading the prompt, there are many particulars that you will want to address, so be sure to read carefully.
  • After completing drafts of both assignments, it is important that you take the time to proofread your writing. Some great tools for you to do so include the "10 Quick Tips for Grammar and Spelling" in the Learning Support Docs folder in Blackboard and the Writing Center's Grammarly quick check tool. 

Week 2: It Takes Two or More

  • In your "Leaders and Followers" discussion this week, you have a choice about the content of your original post. By day 3, you can either discuss how followers could have contributed to the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of a leader you discussed last week, or you can discuss how you, as a follower, could strategically work with a leader whom you admired. No matter the post option you chose, you will need to provide evidence (based on experience, current events, or course readings) to support your claims.
    • Remember to follow the discussion post best practices above to create a solid post that is worth your colleagues responding to.
    • Also, don't forget to respond to one or more of your colleagues by day 6!
  • This week, you will begin work on your first formal assignment, "Individual Reflection: Following and Leading," which is due by day 7. In this assignment, to best combine these 5 separate but related ideas, I suggest crafting a clear thesis statement and five indivual paragraphs to support each of these concepts. Your paragraphs should be organized with a clear topic sentence that states your main idea. If you have trouble organizing paragraphs, remember to use the MEAL plan.
    • M = Main Idea (or topic sentence)
    • E = Evidence (from course readings, experience, current events)
    • A = Analysis (your analysis or interpretation of the evidence you use, relating it to your topic sentence)
    • L = Lead out (or conclusion sentence)

Week 3: The Big Picture

  • Hopefully in your course readings for this class, you have already had a couple of "ah-hah!" moments. In this week's Shared Practice assignment, "Leadership Competencies," you will use some of these lightbulb moments regarding your leadership competancy assessment to craft your post. Remember, you have been asked to provide "rationale" for your conclusions (which is code for providing evidence to support any claims or arguments you make).
    • In this and all postings, be sure that you correctly cite your evidence, which not only gives your claims credibility but helps you avoid unintentional plagiarism
    • Your initial posting is due on day 3, but you will want to provide a response (using the particulars found in the syllabus) to two or more of your colleagues by day 5.
  • By day 7 of Week 3, you are responsible for the "Leadership Theories" discussion post that asks you to flex your paraphrasing, summary, and analysis muscles. This discussion post is a bit different from past posts, as it should be in the form of a business email. For specifics on how to construct a business email, make sure to review the guidelines in the Learning Support Docs in Blackboard. You will also want to make sure your email includes correct APA citations and references

Week 4: Dynamic Leaderhip in Action

  • Week 4's discussion, "Leadership Theories," is a continuation of last week's assignment. By day 3 of this week, you are asked to respond to a colleague's post. You must use both summary and analysis in this post, as you must first summarize your colleague's post and then detail how it relates to your own. By examining the relationship between your colleague's leadership theory and your own, you are creating a successful analysis. 
  • Your second discussion this week was created to mirror a possible "Water Cooler Discussion on Leadership" at the office. First, you'll want to select the author and article of a leadership style that you found most compelling. Next, you'll summarize that article by providing a general overview of the important points and by paraphrasing key passages.
    • Don't forget, by day 7, you will want to respond to a classmate's post following the particulars of the response assignment in your syllabus. This explanation and response mimics a discussion one might have in the lounge or by the water cooler at work; however, you will still want to keep your tone scholarly! 

Week 5: Dynamic Leadership in Reflection

  • Critical reading is extremely important this week, as you are being asked to determine which account(s) resonated with you for your Shared Practice assignment, "Will Your Passion Find Purpose?". By day 3, you will want to select a leadership account and explain how this account supports or refutes concepts of leadership you've explored in the course thus far. Like many of your previous discussion posts, you are being asked to summarize (detail the specific account) and then analyze (explore relationships by comparing that account to course readings and your own values, ethics, and goals as a leader). The final component of this assignment requires a conclusion that connects the readings to creating positive social change in a leadership role. Don't forget to respond to your colleagues' posts by day 5 of this week. 
  • On day 7 of this week, you are responsible for turning in the first formal assignment, your "Individual Reflection: Reflecting on Leadership Styles, Part II".  In this paper, you should not only use the APA guidelines included in the template (provided by your instructor), but you should also make sure that your paper is organized to include these important bullet points:
    • A summary of the reasons why you chose each leader for this paper.
    • Your analysis of how their behaviors and actions were consistent, or not, with contingency theory and the styles referred to in Goleman (2000), Bjugstad et al. (2006), and at least one other resource that you selected from the water cooler discussion in Week 4. In other words, you will explain how the leadership styles of each leader aligned, or did not align, to the challenges they faced.
    • Your analysis on the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of each leader you selected.
    • An analysis of the reasons you, or others, chose to follow, or not to follow, these leaders and the risks you and others take when making this choice.

If you find yourself struggling of how to begin writing your paper, be sure to watch the Writing Center prezi titled "The life cycle of a paper."

Topic Sentences and Paragraph Development

Discussion Post Best Practices

Discussion posts and Shared Practice make up the bulk of your writing assignments this term. So, before you hit "submit," here are some useful tips for writing exemplary posts!

1. Read the discussion prompt carefully, paying special attention to:

  • Purpose: What question or required reading(s) are you being asked to respond to?
  • Particulars: What is the word limit? When is the due date and time? What sources are you expected to draw on?
  • Response type: Are you being asked to reflect on personal experience, determine a solution to a problem, compare two ideas, or make an argument?
  • Formatting: What formatting has your instructor requested? If no specific formatting is indicated, follow general APA guidelines.
  • Expectations: How will your discussion post be assessed? Consult your course materials or instructor if you are unsure.

2. Prepare Adequately

  • After reading both the prompt and required readings, spend some time jotting down your reactions, ideas, and responses.
  • Determine one-two of your strongest ideas, which you will structure your response around, by assessing the amount of evidence you have to support a particular assertion, response, or claim.

3. Construct a draft

  • Discussion post assignments often have multiple questions. Instead of answering each one in order, use a topic sentence to bring all points together in one central argument, claim, or purpose.
  • Use your evidence to build your response and persuade your readers by supporting your claim with course readings or outside sources (if permitted/required)
  • Make sure that each piece of evidence keeps your post focused, relevant, clear, and scholarly in tone.

4. Review and Revise by asking yourself important questions:

  • Is my main idea clear and relevant to the topic of discussion?
  • Does my response demonstrate evidence that I have read and thought critically about required readings/personal experience?
  • Have I proposed a unique perspective that can be challenged by my classmates?
  • Do I support my claim with required readers or other credible outside sources?
  • Have I used a scholarly tone, avoiding jargon or language that is overly conversational?
  • Have I proofread my response for grammar, style, and structure?

Week 6: Translating Your Values and Principles into Goals

  • By day 3 of this week, you will share personal values, principles, goals, and perceived challenges with your colleages in the Shared Practice assignment, "Values, Principles, Ethics, and Goals." As you should be used to by now, you will have to provide evidence from both course readings and personal experience to support any conclusions you draw in this post. By day 6 of this week, you will need to craft one of two responses to your colleagues using the specific guidelines found in your syllabus. Be sure to follow these guidelines closely and keep a respectful tone when commenting on your classmates' postings. 
  • This week, you will also begin to prepareyour Blueprint for Professional & Personal Growth, Part 1. Be sure to review the learning support document folder as well as your weekly briefing to get a head start on completing this assignment! 


Week 7: Your Personal Leadership Style Means Business

  • In this week's Shared Practice, "Clarifying Your Goals with a Plan of Action," you get to turn all of your knowledge, determined by summaries and analyses or course readings and experience, into a personal action plan for personal and professional development by course day 3. To do so, be sure to read the particular questions you have been asked to answer in this week's post (as they are numerous). Next, continue to create strong posts by using the discussion post best practices. You will want to be well aquainted with the particular milestones you are asked to create this week, as you will need to critique these milestones in two or more colleagues posts by day 5. 
  • The second assignment for this week is a continuation of your Individual Reflection: Creating Goals for the Blueprint for Personal & Professional Growth. Specifically, you are asked to write an executive summary; specifics on how to craft this assignment are located in the Supporting Learning Docs folder in Blackboard. In addition to these guidelines, remember to:
    • Focus on the most important elements/concepts by getting right to the point. In other words, focus on analysis and not description or summary.
    • Explain how and why these elements are important in your own words.

Week 8: Is Managing the Cornerstone of Leading?

  • This week marks the close of the class and, hopefully, your successful completion of another Walden course! I suggest you finish strong by remembering to use the discussion post best practices to complete this week's Shared Practice, "Can Leaders Manage and Managers Lead?" By day 3 of this week, you will want to analyze a leader's effect on a business environment, sharing two lessons this experience has taught you regarding the balance between leadership and management skills in your current position. An analysis is also required in your response, due by day 7 of this week, when you use this week's course readings and your personal experience to analyze a colleague's posting.
  • For your final assignment of the course, you are going to be doing something a bit different. By day 4 of this week, you are asked to use your well practiced analysis skills by performing a case analysis, "The Impact of Leadership at Ford Motor Company". You will want to summarize (providing a clear overview) and synthesize (putting those individual summaries, or overviews, in conversation with one another) different course readings to analyze the impact of leadership at Ford.  As always, be sure to read the particulars for this course assignment within the syllabus of your course. Also, be sure to respond using the particulars also listed under the "Response" section of this assignment by day 6.