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Instructions for the major assignments

Assignments are due in Canvas on the dates noted in the syllabus, all at 11:55 p.m. unless otherwise instructed. Late work is penalized 10% per day. You are responsible for assuring that your submission has been correctly uploaded. The document files should be titled yourlastname, followed by the number of the assignment as listed below; for example, perry1.

8. Issues Tracking Report (issue choice due Jan. 21 in introductory letter) due May 2

Issues Tracking Report

The communication process of organizations includes monitoring for emerging issues that can affect the organization or its stakeholders. We will discuss in the first week of class some issues relevant to agriculture and other life science industries. As you scan the environment for relevant issues, identify three that are important to an organization in agriculture and/or the life sciences and that you can track all semester. You will need to settle on your top issue and two backups by Jan. 21, when the letter is due to the instructor.

For the remainder of the semester, track this issue's development, as reported in various media. It is extremely important to remain objective and balanced while completing this assignment. To insure that objectivity, plan how you will find articles about your issue. Write a sentence, or two, in the letter due Jan. 21 explaining your media-selection plan.

As you track your issue over the semester, continually build an annotated bibliography: Write a brief summary of each news clip or report, as you would for top management. Add the complete citation for each summary, using modified APA style.

Here is an example of an annotated bibliography entry. Note the added retrieval date. Note also that the summary does not start with "this article says." It merely summarizes. The example below may appear double-spaced in some browsers. For this assignment, you may single-space the citations and annotations.

Pittman, Craig (2013 January 27). Florida's aquifer models full of holes, allowing
more water permits and pollution. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 16, 2013,

To trace the source of pollution in Silver Springs, scientists in April 2010
dropped 30 pounds of fluorescent dye into wells and sinkholes a few miles
away. The results suggest the state has issued thousands of water-pumping
permits while underestimating their impact. The state bases permitting decisions
on a computer model that assumes the aquifer flows at a steady rate through
layers of sand and gravel. The dye showed widely varying flow rates and that
pollution reaches the aquifer much faster than previously thought. The faulty
models have resulted in over-pumping, a depleted aquifer and springs, and
hundreds of sinkholes.

As the issue and your monitoring progress, your summaries need only contain updated or new information and developments. You should have about 12 short summaries by May 2.

Write a 400-word overall summary of your issue, including its historical development. Include it in the overall report, explained below.

The report should be written in third-person and in correct APA style, including no contractions, the limited use of abbreviations, the use of the Oxford comma, and complete citations. The report should have the following sections, with all but the annotated bibliography double spaced:

(1) Title page: It should contain the title, issue's name, author's name, and date of submission.

(2) Introduction: Write a concise paragraph introducing the topic and purpose of the report. The introductory paragraph should appear on the same page as the next section.

(3) The issue tracked: Include the full 400-word summary of your issue, including historical development, here.

(4) Annotated bibliography: Compile the annotated bibliography for the issue, single spaced using hanging indents, into one section. The annotations and citations should be in APA style. Use the guidelines in Purdue Owl for APA style reference lists. DO NOT USE CITATION-GENERATING SOFTWARE. 

The word requirement for this assignment is 1,000. The report is due on May 2.

Use the checklist below to assure you have included all the required components. The rubric for how your report will be scored will be in Canvas: Files.

Issue Tracking Report Checklist

The Report
_____ The assignment is doubled spaced and submitted in MS Word via Canvas with the
correctly styled file name.
_____ The report is about 1,000 words.

Title Page
_____ Follows the guidelines given in lecture on page design.
_____ Contains title, issue's name, author's name, and date of submission.
_____ BONUS for picture inserted in title page (up to 5 points, template art not included)

_____ Briefly introduces the topic and organization and states purpose of the report.
_____ The section is factual, with all judgment terms and opinion attributed in the text and
citations given.
_____ In-text citations are used appropriately.

Issue Summary:
_____ The issue is summarized succinctly in about 400 words, including the history of its
development and its current status.
_____ The summary is factual, with all judgment terms and opinion attributed in the text, with in-text citations. 
_____ In-text citations are used appropriately.

Annotated bibliography
_____ The citations are complete, including web page retrieval dates.
_____ The citations are in correct APA style
_____ The annotations are concise summaries of the articles rather than merely a range of topics covered.
_____ The citations are not shadowed by citation-generating software. 

_____ The report is written in third person.
_____ The report is objective.
_____ The writing is in correct APA style, including no contractions, the limited use
of abbreviations, the use of the Oxford comma, and complete citations.
_____ The writing is in plain English, with active sentences.
_____ The writing is well organized overall, with section headings and transitions.
_____ The writing is concise.
_____ The writing is clear.
_____ The writing is free from grammatical errors, including no run on sentences or fragments.
_____ The writing is free from spelling errors.
_____ The writing is free from capitalization errors.
_____ Punctuation is used correctly.

___________ Content, including in-text citations throughout the summary, and meeting specifications (40)
___________ Annotated Bibliography, with web page retrieval dates & APA style (30)
___________ Writing, grammar, spelling, APA style (30)
___________ TOTAL (100)
__________ + Bonus for relevant illustrations added to title page and/or to body of report (up to +10)
___________ GRAND TOTAL