Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

COLL 107: Career Development And Decision Making

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  Course Description

This course focuses on Career Planning and practical tools for job hunting. Students will learn strategies for successfully getting work in their field of choice. For international students, this course is required if they will be working off-campus in a paid or unpaid job.  (Unless credit is being gained in other ways as allowed by the international center.)

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and cumulative 2.0 GPA

Proctored Exams: None


No textbooks are required for this course.

  Course Overview

COLL 107 is a class designed to help students discover career paths and prepare for their post-graduate life.  Students will use the Focus2 career assessment tool to help understand different career options.  Additionally, students will learn about and put into practice strategies for developing a strong resume, using online career resources, and conducting successful job searches. 

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of how personal skills, interests, values, and motivations should influence the job search.
  2. Utilize at least one professional employment resource to explore major and occupational options.
  3. Write an effective resume and cover letter.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 180-200 90-100%
B 160-179 80-89%
C 140-159 70-79%
D 120-139 60-69%
F 0-119 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (10) 100 50%
Dropbox 1 25 12%
Dropbox 2 20 10%
Dropbox 3 30 15%
Dropbox 4 25 12%
Total 200 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Thursday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 10 Thursday/Sunday
Dropbox 1 25 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Sunday
Dropbox 2 20 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Thursday/Sunday
Dropbox 3 30 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Thursday/Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Thursday/Sunday
Dropbox 4 25 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 10 10
Total Points: 200

  Assignment Overview


While this course does not have a textbook, the weekly Instructional Materials pages contain brief lectures and additional resources that will assist you in completing the assignments that week. Be sure to read each Instructional Materials page. 


In this course, you will participate in one or two online discussions weekly. Your initial post should address all of the questions required by the discussion prompt and is due by 11:59 pm CT Thursdays of the assigned week. At least 2 responses to either peers or your instructor are due by 11:59 pm CT Sundays, except for week 8 when they are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday. Responses to other student’s posts should be substantive. Avoid simple posts like “I agree” or similar rhetoric. College-level spelling and grammar are expected.

Discussions are worth 10 points each; a grading rubric will be available. Late initial posts are accepted up to the Sunday deadline with a deduction (Saturday deadline in week 8). Any post submitted after the Sunday deadline is considered late and not accepted for credit.

Dropbox Assignments

There are 4 written assignments due in the course worth varying points. You will find the complete instructions for each within their individual Dropbox descriptions. Follow those instructions as it pertains to the requested file type; it may be a PDF, .doc or .docx, or a graphic image (.jpg or .png) depending on the assignment. College-level spelling and grammar are expected. The four assignments are:


Dropbox #



Dropbox 1

Career assessment results


Dropbox 2

Rough draft of resume


Dropbox 3

Final version of resume


Dropbox 4

LinkedIn profile


  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

  • Lecture: Introducing Yourself
  • Video: Want to Sound Like a Leader?
Discussion 1

Who are you?  Write an introduction to yourself.  In your introduction include:

  1. Where you are from, where you live now, what is your major (or what majors you are considering) and why did you come to Columbia College?
  2. If you are currently working, please describe your job, including the name of the organization, your job title, and at least 2 sentences about your work there. If you are not currently working, please describe your last job in a similar manner. If you have never worked, you can skip this section.
  3. Tell us about your anticipated career. What field or industry would you like to go into and what would be your “dream job”? Don’t worry if it’s realistic or not; just tell us your dream job.
  • Lecture: Understanding Career Assessment
  • O*NET Interest Search
  • Video: The Holland Hexagon
Discussion 2

Reflect on your career assessment and respond to the following questions:

  1. Do you feel your Holland score correctly reflects your “work personality?” Why or why not?
  2. Review the occupations that match your results. Did any of these occupations surprise you? If yes, how so?
  3. If there was an occupation listed that you want to explore, list the occupation and tell us more information about it (what it does, what is the educational requirement for the field, what is the expected growth of the career). 
Dropbox 1

 For this assignment, you are to complete the Focus2 career assessments and submit your results.

  1. Take all of the Focus2 assessments. Students will need to create an account using the access code ccis3977.
  2. Follow the instructions to receive a PDF of your combined assessments and submit the PDF to the course dropbox. 
Students who have already taken the Focus2 should complete the Strong Interest Inventory. Additional information on both assessments will be located in the course. 
  • Lecture: How To Write a Successful Resume
  • Additional Reading: Discrimination Laws
  • Resume writing guides
  • EEOC employment policies
Discussion 3

Imagine that you are the hiring manager for a small employer. You have recently opened up a job and have received three applicants. Your manager wants you to select only one person to interview. Review the three sample resumes and the sample job description and recommend one candidate to interview.

In your discussion post address the following topics:

  1. Who did you select to interview and why? Be descriptive.
  2. Name two things you liked about the resume of the candidate you chose and two things you didn’t like about the resume of the other candidates.
  3. What strategies did you pick up to use in writing your own resume?

Alternative Discussion for those who have previously reviewed the resumes:

During the recruitment process in the United States, there are a number of questions that employers should generally not ask during an interview.  What are 5 of these questions? How might you respond to these questions?
Dropbox 2
Submit a rough draft of your resume. This draft should have all of its main elements in place, but may require fine-tuning of wording or formatting.
  • Lecture: Job Search Sites and Handshake
  • Handshake Training Videos
Discussion 5
In Handshake, find an opportunity or employer in your field and tell us what about that opportunity or employer caught your eye. 
Discussion 4

Watch the 5 Handshake user guide videos (each is only 2 minutes). Afterwards, discuss at least one aspect of Handshake that you find helpful. (Links will be located in course). 

  • Lecture: Perfecting a Resume
  • Resume Writing Guides
  • Purdue OWL resume guides
Discussion 6
What is the most challenging part of writing a resume for you? What writing advice can you offer to your classmates?
Dropbox 3
Submit a final copy of your resume. This copy should be significantly improved from your initial draft, having incorporated edits after receiving instructor feedback on the draft.
  • Lecture: Creating a cover letter
  • Cover letter writing guide
Discussion 7
Submit a draft of a cover letter for a real job that you found on Handshake. In your responses to classmates, identify 2 things you liked about their cover letter drafts and 1 area of improvement.
  • Lecture: Creating and Using a LinkedIn Profile
  • LinkedIn Help pages
  • LinkedIn for Students
Discussion 8

In your readings this week, you learned about best practices and tips for creating a social profile. On LinkedIn, find three people to connect with (they don't have to be classmates) and provide a brief review/evaluation of the following items for each person, labeling them simply as profile, A, B, and C.

  • Photo
  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Education
  • What was one thing that you liked or found particularly interesting about their profiles? What have you learned about creating your own profile from this exercise?
Note that you should not reveal personal information about these persons in your review. You may also change your browsing profile settings to private or semi-private if you desire before completing this assignment.
Dropbox 4

Create or refine your LinkedIn profile according to the provided rubric. Submit a screenshot of your LinkedIn profile to the dropbox.(Rubric is located within the course.)

Note that you may make your public profile visible to no one if you desire.
  • Lecture: Putting Everything Together for the Job Search
  • Video: 8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John
Discussion 9

What can help you succeed, no matter your industry? Watch the very short Ted Talk on success. Post your reaction to the video. Do you agree or disagree with Mr. St. John’s ideas? Choose one of the secrets and explain how you meet this expectation or how you will work to meet it. 

Alternative Discussion:

For those of you who've previously viewed and discussed the above video, view this Ted Talk on career fulfillment. Please post a reaction to the video - do you agree or disagree with the sentiment? If you agree, what do you feel like would grant you fulfillment in your work?  How will you follow a path that will lead you to a fulfilled career?  If you disagree, please explain why, and what will motivate you to find your ideal career.

Discussion 10
Reflect on the last 8 weeks.  What have you learned about your steps after you graduate from Columbia College?  What is your plan to pursue your career post-graduation?  In your responses to classmates offer encouragement and tips.   

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. However, late initial posts may be accepted with a deduction, provided they are received before their end-of-week deadline.

Late dropbox assignments are not accepted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.