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Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

BUSI 504: Business Commun Theory & Pract

Course Description

This course is designed to strengthen students’ communication skills in the context of managerial communication. Topics include writing and research skills, listening skills, nonverbal communication, conflict resolution and negotiation strategies, conducting interviews and meetings, and giving formal presentations.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • O'Rourke, James S.. Management Communication: A Case Analysis Approach. 5th. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.
    • ISBN-Standard Edition: 978-0-13-267140-8; Custom Edition: 978-1-256-84881-3

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

Welcome to Business Communication Theory and Practice (BUSI 504) online.

In this course, you will be exposed to the fundamental theories of business communication and will learn how to apply a variety of communication skills in business situations. You will also become familiar with the communication process and strategies through the analysis and discussion of case studies.

With the growth of American business and industry following World War II, organizational theorists and industrial psychologists devoted an increasing amount of time to studying organizational behavior. Among the topics of interest was the role of interpersonal and organizational communication in the day-to-day operations of business organizations. In the last twenty-five years, two forces have had a significant impact on business communication: the growth of information technology and the globalization of the marketplace. Both of these phenomena have far-reaching implications for the future of business communication.

This course is designed to provide students with an awareness of communication as a core management skill. Students will learn that in today’s rapidly evolving business and technological environment, the most effective managers at all levels are those who understand that communication strategies must be aligned with organizational goals and objectives. Business Communication Theory and Practice is designed for current and future middle and upper level managers who want to increase their awareness and development of communication strategies and skills.



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 will need the Microsoft PowerPoint program to complete the PowerPoint Presentation assignment

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


Course Objectives

  • To understand management communication in an organizational setting.
  • To explore the role of communication skills and strategy in a variety of managerial functions.
  • To cover topics dealing with intercultural communication issues and technologically-mediated communication.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Devise managerial communication strategies.
  • Explain how to appraise intercultural communication issues.
  • Explain technologically-mediated communication.
  • Analyze and justify legal and ethical issues in communication.
  • Design managerial reports and proposals.
  • Explain non-verbal communication.
  • Evaluate conflict-management techniques.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
F 0-699 0-69%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (16) 150 15%
Quizzes (2) 200 20%
Case Study Assignments (2) 200 20%
Midterm Exam 200 20%
PowerPoint Presentation 250 25%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 0 Sunday
Discussion 2 10
Discussion 3 10
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Sunday
Discussion 5 10
Case Study 1 100
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Sunday
Discussion 7 10
Quiz #1 (Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8) 100
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Sunday
Discussion 9 10
Midterm Exam 200
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 10 Sunday
Discussion 11 10
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12 10 Sunday
Discussion 13 10
Case Study 2 100
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14 10 Sunday
Discussion 15 10
Quiz #2 (Chapters 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12) 100
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
PowerPoint Presentation 250 Wednesday
Discussion 16 10 Saturday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

There are fifteen graded Discussion Topics in this course.  The Discussion Topics relate to material covered in the textbook and resource materials for each week, and typically require analysis, research, and/or critical thinking.  The Discussion Topics are included in the Syllabus and are also available in the “Discussions” section of the course at the beginning of each week.  The first Discussion Topic is intended to have you introduce yourself to the class.  Although it is not graded, your participation is required.

The Discussion Topics are worth ten points each, for a total of 150 points.  You should read each Discussion Topic carefully to ensure that you are answering what the topic asks you to discuss.  To receive full credit for each Discussion Topic, you must post your response to the question, as well as your comments on at least one other student’s original post.  In other words, you will be submitting at least two posts for each Discussion Topic every week.  Discussion Topic postings and responses are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday (Central Time) each week, except for Week Eight, when they are due by 11:59 p.m. Saturday (Central Time).

Your original response to each of the Discussion Topics should include one or more of the following: 1) an example from your personal or professional experience directly related to the Discussion Topic; 2) a reference and citation to material from the text directly related to the Discussion topic; 3) a reference and citation from one of the class resource materials or a credible outside source directly related to the Discussion Topic.  (Note: citations must follow APA format).

Finally, a note about the style and format of the Discussion Topics.  Although the style and format of your Discussion Topic postings need not be as formal as the style and format of a written assignment or business document, neither should the style and format be as casual and informal as an e-mail or text message.  In other words, the style, format, and tone of your postings should be thoughtful, professional, and respectful.  Postings that include errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and composition will be graded accordingly.  Similarly, points will be deducted for the use of emoticons, emojis, abbreviated comments (i.e., LOL, OMG), and inappropriate language, slang, jargon, or other unprofessional terminology.  This is, after all, a Business Communication class.

The Discussion Topics are intended to foster a dialogue among you and your classmates.  Dialogue and discussion refer to the exchange of ideas, which sometimes involves disagreement. Please be respectful of classmates with whose opinions you disagree.


Case Study Assignments

Students will be responsible for preparing and submitting two written case studies. One of the case studies will consist of written responses to questions pertaining to the assigned case. The other case study will require the preparation of a communication strategy memo. The case study assignments should be from 3 – 5 pages in length, double-spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman or similar font. Case study assignments should be submitted to the Dropbox in Word format.

Students are not required or expected to consult or utilize any outside resources in preparing the case studies. Each case study assignment should reflect your original analysis and discussion of the case.


Quizzes

There will be two Quizzes, in Week Three and Week Seven. The Quizzes will consist of 25 multiple choice and True/False questions. The Quizzes will be open-book format, and will be timed, with students being allowed one-hour to complete each of the Quizzes.


Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will consist of one case study and related questions. Answer the questions using the same format as you did with the case study assignments. Submit your answers via the correct Dropbox folder. As with the other written assignments, the midterm should reflect your original analysis and discussion of the case, and should not include outside research.


PowerPoint Presentation

During this course, you will be required to prepare a Case Study Analysis in PowerPoint format. The presentation will be due during the final week of the session. Although your presentation will not be lengthy (15-25 slides), the assignment does require a basic knowledge of PowerPoint techniques. For those of you who are unfamiliar with graphic presentation software programs such as PowerPoint, it is strongly recommended that you visit a PowerPoint tutorial at the following site:

http://office.microsoft.com/training/training.aspx?assetID=RC011298761033

This is an excellent resource if you are preparing your first PowerPoint presentation.


A NOTE REGARDING PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED WORK

Work submitted in a previous course, in whole or in part, will not be accepted.  If you have taken this course previously, you must inform the instructor of this fact as soon as possible so alternative assignments can be arranged.



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Introductions, Communication Principles and the Communication Process
Readings
  • Chapter 1: Management Communication in Transition
  • Chapter 2: Communication and Strategy
  • Appendix A: Analyzing a Case Study
Video
  • “Communicating Effectively in the Global Workplace.”
Resource Materials
  • Theoretical Bases of Business Communication
  • Business Organization Communication Model
  • Case Analysis Worksheet
  • Developing A Communication Strategy
Discussion 1

Introduce yourself to the class. Please give us more than just your name. Tell us where you live, your job/profession, interests, career goals, and any other information that will help the instructor and your fellow online learners get to know you.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 2

Communication in most business organizations takes place via both formal networks that are approved/sanctioned by the company and informal networks that are not officially approved/sanctioned. An example of an informal network would be the “grapevine” or “rumor mill.” Discuss some of the reasons organizational managers should or should not be concerned with “grapevine” and other informal communication networks.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 3

Identify the eight elements of the communication process (discussed on pp. 29-30 of the text) and briefly describe each element. Are some elements more important to the communication process than others, or are they all equally important?

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Week 2: Written Communication in a Business Organization. Organizational Culture
Readings
  • Chapter 5: Writing
  • Chapter 6: Persuasion
  • Appendix D: Sample Strategy Memo (pp. 387-389).
Video
  • “Effective vs. Ineffective Communication.”
Resource Materials
  • Characteristics of Corporate/Organizational Culture
  • Legal Aspects of Business Communication
  • Audiences vs. Stakeholders
  • Transitional Words and Phrases
Discussion 4

In the “Content” area of the Course Home Page for Week Two, there is a resource item entitled “Characteristics of Corporate/Organizational Culture.” After reading the material, describe the organizational culture of your current or a previous employer. You do not need to discuss each of the 18 characteristics listed – only the characteristics you feel are most relevant to your company’s culture. Provide specific examples to support your observations.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 5

In Chapter 6, O’Rourke discusses several theories related to human needs and the role such needs play in the art of persuasion. Discuss how an understanding of “needs theory,” as articulated by Abraham Maslow, Clayton Alderfer, or Vance Packard would be useful to you in preparing a document explaining your organization’s early retirement incentive program to employees.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Case Study 1
  • Read the case for analysis: “A Collection Scandal at Sears, Roebuck and Co.”, that starts on page 69 of your text.
  • After reading the case, prepare the communication strategy memo described on page 71. Do not prepare the business letter.
  • Please submit via the Dropbox by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. (CT).
Week 3: Interpersonal Communication, Listening and Feedback
Readings
  • Chapter 4: Speaking
  • Chapter 8: Listening and Feedback
Video
  • “Second City Communication.”
Discussion 6

In Chapter 4, O’Rourke identifies five types of obstacles, or barriers that speakers should be aware of when speaking to an individual or group: stereotypes, prejudice, feelings, language, and culture. Select one of these barriers that you have experienced, either as a speaker or a listener, and discuss how it affected the communication process.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 7

According to a recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, employers rank the ability to listen number two among 25 skills they demand in new graduate business-school hires, placing it above writing ability, presentation skills, or quantitative analysis. Yet, it is generally acknowledged that of the four basic communication activities – speaking, listening, writing and reading – listening is the most difficult to master. Discuss why you agree or disagree that listening is the most difficult communication skill to master.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Quiz #1 (Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8)

Quiz #1 will be available in the “Quizzes” section of the course from 12:00 a.m on Monday until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. The quiz consists of 25 True/False and Multiple Choice questions covering material from Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8. This is an open book quiz, but once you open the Quiz, you will have only one hour to complete it, after which you will not be allowed to answer any more questions. The Quiz is worth 100 points.

Week 4: Non-Verbal, Symbolic, and Meta-Communication
Readings
  • Chapter 9: Non-Verbal Communication
Discussion 8

In the accompanying photo (located in D2L), discuss various non-verbal signals or forms of expression (facial expressions, body language, gestures, attire etc.) and how they influence your interpretation of the people and situation depicted in the photo.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.
Discussion 9

In Chapter 9, O’Rourke uses the terms “metacommunication” and “paralanguage.” What are the differences between the two terms? Give examples to support your response.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Midterm Exam

The case study for the Midterm Exam will be available in the Dropbox area of the Course Home page this week. Please complete the exam and submit it to the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. (CT) Sunday.

Week 5: Information/Communication Technology and Communication Ethics
Readings
  • Chapter 3: Communication Ethics
  • Chapter 7: Technology
Video
  • “Ethical Communication.”
Resource Materials

Visit the website of the National Communication Association at www.natcom.org. In the drop-down menu under the “About” column, click on the link entitled “Public Statements.” Click on the “Ethical Statements” platform, in which you will find the “NCA Credo for Ethical Communication:” Read the Association’s principles of ethical communication contained in the Credo.

Discussion 10

Since Congress enacted the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act” in 1986, company policies relating to employee use of computers, telephones, e-mail and the internet for personal, non-work-related reasons typically try to achieve a balance between employer concerns regarding security, productivity, confidentiality and legal liability and employee concerns about privacy, responsibility and fairness. Discuss how restrictive or flexible you feel a policy should be to achieve this balance.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 11

The nature of business communication has become increasingly complicated, as organizations, managers, and employees try to understand and adapt to advances in information/communication technology. A growing number of organizations, both public and private, are utilizing social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr to communicate more quickly and effectively with a larger audience than would otherwise be possible. Other organizations are creating corporate “blogs” on the company website. Yet, a number of companies believe that social media are more effective for marketing purposes than for communicating with stakeholders. What are your thoughts?

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Week 6: Cultural, Generational, and Gender Communication Issues
Readings
  • Chapter 10: Intercultural Communication
Video
  • “Intercultural Communication.”
Resource Materials

Read the essay by Deborah Tannen entitled “Can’t We Talk?” The essay is excerpted from her book “You Just Don’t Understand,” about the differences in communication styles between men and women. The essay can be found by clicking on the following link: http://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/you-just-dont

Discussion 12

Employers are required by law to accommodate employees’ reasonable expressions of sincerely held religious beliefs. It is less clear to what extent employers are obligated to accommodate ethnic/cultural customs and practices. To what extent do you believe employers should accommodate employee expressions of their ethnic/cultural heritage with respect to their attire, work schedule, and similar activities?

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 13

Based on your personal or professional experience, discuss some gender and/or generational differences in communication styles that you have observed.

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Case Study 2
  • Read the case for analysis, “Facebook Beacon: Cool Feature or an Invasion of Privacy?” which begins on page 215 in the Textbook.
  • After reading the case, prepare a paper answering Discussion Questions 1, 2, and 5 at the end of the case.
  • Please submit via the Dropbox by Sunday 11:59 p.m. (CT).
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Communication Strategies for Managing Dynamic Processes: Crises, Conflict, and Change. Communication Strategies for Interviews and Meetings
Readings
  • Chapter 11: Managing Conflict
  • Chapter 12: Business Meetings that Work
Video
  • “Interviewing Skills.”
Resource Materials
  • Keys to Effective Business Meetings
Discussion 14

Which of the five conflict management styles discussed by O’Rourke on pp. 295-296 best describes your own approach to conflict management? How does your conflict management style affect your communication strategy in conflict situations at work?

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Discussion 15

Based on your experience with meetings at your current or previous job, what would you do to improve the effectiveness of business meetings?

Post your responses by Sunday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.

Quiz #2 (Chapters 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12)

Quiz #2 will be available in the “Quizzes” section of the course from 12:00 a.m on Monday until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. The quiz consists of 25 True/False and Multiple Choice questions covering material from Chapters 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12. This is an open book quiz, but once you open the Quiz, you will have only one hour to complete it, after which you will not be allowed to answer any more questions. The Quiz is worth 100 points.

Week 8: Media Relations
Readings
  • Chapter 13: Dealing with the News Media
  • Appendix F (pp. 399-404): Media Relations for Business Professionals
Video
  • “Giving and Oral Presentation.”
PowerPoint Presentation
PowerPoint Presentation: Please submit your PowerPoint presentation to the Dropbox no later than Wednesday, 11:59 p.m. (CT).
Discussion 16

Assume you are the Communications Director for a large corporation. You are leaving to pursue a better career opportunity and your successor has asked for some professional advice regarding the media. What is the most important advice you would offer with respect to dealing with the media? Explain why you feel your advice is so important.

Post your responses by Saturday, 11:59 p.m. CT, and remember to respond to at least one of your fellow students’ responses.



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.

Plagiarism

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.

Non-Discrimination

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.

Any written assignment submitted late will result in the assignment grade being reduced. You have only one week to submit late written assignments. After one week, you will receive no credit.

With regard to discussions, the only way to conduct a proactive discussion online is to respond promptly. If you miss the opportunity to post your response by the end-of-week deadline, you will receive a “zero” for that particular discussion question(s).

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.


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