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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

MGMT 254: Business Communication

Course Description

Development of written, oral and interpersonal skills for effective communication in the business world. Emphasis on clear, effective business correspondence, improved interpersonal skills and public speaking. Students learn appropriate real-world skills and strategies to increase their abilities to use this knowledge.

Prerequisite: ENGL 112

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Guffey, M. and Loewy, D.. Business Communication: Process and Product . 9th ed. South-Western Publishing Co., 2017.
    • ISBN-9781305957961
      • Note: MBS offers this textbook with the Student Premium Website Printed Access Card, but it is not required for this course.

Recommended

  • Gibaldi, J. . MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th. Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
    • ISBN-978-1603292627

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

This course will deal with business communication activities. It is designed to give students a thorough introduction to business communication and its basic concepts and theories. It will also provide students ample opportunities to improve upon their writing skills. Participants in this course will gain knowledge and skills that will assist them not only in their chosen careers, but also in their academic and social lives.


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
  • A microphone to record your voice and a working sound-card or integrated audio
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (trial versions are available for download online) or another presentation software such as Google Slides

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


Course Objectives

  • To identify and use writing strategies more likely to obtain the desired reader’s response.
  • To develop and apply an awareness and understanding of small group and cross-cultural communication determinants and issues affecting individual or organizational success.
  • To prepare and deliver an effective oral presentation designed to create a positive image.
  • To develop an effective writing and editing plan prior to beginning a writing project.
  • To develop communication strategies for dealing with various oral and written business communication situations.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Write effective business memos, letters, and reports.
  • Create an effective job search strategy, resume, and cover letter.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal communication skills.
  • Prepare and deliver effective oral presentations.
  • Communicate orally in one-on-one, small group, and large group situations.
  • Apply appropriate writing techniques when communicating good news, bad news, or in persuasive messages.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (11) 200 20%
Quizzes (4) 100 10%
Self-Assessments (8) 200 20%
Assignments (6) 500 50%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1: Class Introductions 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 2: Your Communication Style 20
Assignment 1: Listening Skills 100 Sunday
Self-Assessment 1: Personal Confidence 25 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: Understanding Culture 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 4: Communication Customs 20
Self-Assessment 2: Accuracy 25 Sunday
Quiz 1 25
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5: Message Purpose 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Self-Assessment 3: Emotional Intelligence 25 Sunday
Assignment 2: Business Memo Revision 50
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6: Twitter 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Self-Assessment 4: Empathy 25 Sunday
Assignment 3: Resume Revision 50
Quiz 2 25
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7: Saying No to Job Applicants 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 8: Persuasion 10
Self-Assessment 5: Transparency Through Trust 25 Sunday
Assignment 4: Persuasive Email Message Revision 50
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9: Problem and Purpose Statements 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Self-Assessment 6: Precision 25 Sunday
Quiz 3 25
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10: Visual Aids 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Self-Assessment 7: Relevancy 25 Sunday
Assignment 5: Oral Presentation and PowerPoint 125
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: The Job Search and Interview 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Self-Assessment 8: Originality & Attention to Detail 25 Saturday
Assignment 6: Resume 125
Quiz 4 25
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

All discussions must take place in the Discussions area, meaning that uploading an attachment as your post will not count.  Each week’s discussion will take place from Monday to Saturday, with your initial post due by 11:59 pm Central Time (CT) on Wednesday and two responses to classmates due by 11:59 pm CT on Saturday. 

Each discussion is set so that you must post your original thoughts before reading the posts of your classmates. Your initial response to the discussion question should be a full paragraph of 8-10 sentences; all of the sentences should support your main claim (your topic sentence).  The entire paragraph should be written in your own words, without quoting any other sources.  If you are writing about a reading from our text, be sure to include the author and title in the first sentence or two so others know what piece you are referencing. Your responses to others’ posts should also be well developed, fully explaining your response to the classmates’ posts.  Make responses that add to the conversation and take it further; simply posting “I agree” or “good job” does not help develop ideas.  For maximum learning and point benefits, respond to at least two students’ posts.


Dropbox Assignments

Each week you will write a self-assessment, a reflection on your communication style. During weeks 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 you will also complete hands-on business communication assignments. Your work should be double-spaced,   12-point sans serif font, with 1-inch margins. All written assignments must be submitted to the appropriate dropbox in a .doc, .pdf, or .rtf format (except for the oral presentation week 7 which should be a .ppt file). All dropbox assignments are due to the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT on Sunday of the week they have been assigned (except for Week 8 Assignments which are due Saturday).

When citing resources, you must adhere strictly to MLA style. All outside resources must be submitted on a separate page, but within the same attachment. All assignments must be your own original work. You are not allowed to turn in papers for this course that you have used previously for another course (even if it is from taking this very course during a previous session).  You are expected to write professionally with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, developing your topic and providing solid examples from our readings, your own research, or your own experiences to back up your statements.  


Quizzes

There will be four quizzes in this course in weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8. Quizzes will open on Monday of each week, and must be completed before 11:59 pm CT on Sunday of the week assigned. Each quiz will consist of 25 multiple-choice questions covering the assigned reading material. You will have 30 minutes to complete the quiz and you will only receive one attempt.  You may use your book to help, but your time is limited so you will also need to study for the quizzes. 



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Introductions
Readings
Chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 1"
Discussion 1: Class Introductions

Introduce yourself in the “Introductions” topic of our class Discussion, our “virtual classroom.” Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Discussion 2: Your Communication Style
Have you ever been surprised at how you came across to others or misread another person’s feelings?

It is very likely and, indeed, human that students have experienced moments when they had no idea they ruffled someone’s feathers, came across in a way that didn’t mesh with their self-image, or felt wronged because someone else misread their intentions. Andrea Kay, author and career expert, advises workers to pay close attention to their own emotions, ask how they come across, and be attentive to others: “Being more aware of your own and others’ feelings will help you say the right words or take the best action.” [Graves, J. A. 2013, January 15. 25 career mistakes to banish for 2013. U.S. News & World Report.] It may surprise students, however, how important these interpersonal and, yes, intrapersonal skills are to career success. Young job seekers tend to focus on the obvious aspects of their job search and typical workplace skills. Yet maturity and the ability to read others take time to develop and may require some frustrating lessons along the way. (Mary Ellen Guffey)

The purpose of this discussion is learning to understand ourselves and others to improve business communication. Post your best example of a moment when you may have been misinterpreted, misjudged, etc. What was the outcome? What did you learn about yourself or the way you communicate?

Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Assignment 1: Listening Skills

In this course the focus is on communication and its complex processes. One of the components of a communication process that is sometimes illusive and too often might get subordinated to its counterparts is the concept of deep listening. Deep listening is that willingness and ability learn about the meaning of the message the speaker intended to convey. Deep listening is about not just hearing what is being said but being able to stop talking, control your surroundings, establish a receptive mind-set, suspend judgment, recognize main points and properly respond after listening. 

Find a practice partner who is an office worker or someone in your business, educational network, family or friend (indicate who it is in your paper). Take turns telling events from your lives. As you listen to your practice partner, sum up your practice partner’s overall experience (explain the background to the dialogue and their experience and feelings conveyed) in a 100-150-word writing. At the end of your writing, indicate why you believe your interpretation of their message required and utilized good listening skills. Support your answer from the text and peer reviewed sources. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Note: The Dropbox folder for Assignment 1 will not open until you have taken the Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz, located in the “Quizzes” section of the course.

Self-Assessment 1: Personal Confidence

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 1." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Week 2: Intercultural Communication
Readings
Chapter 3 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 2"
Video - Jay Walker TED Talk
Video - Diversity Challenge: What would you do? 
Discussion 3: Understanding Culture
After viewing the English Mania video in the Overview section of the course Content area, answer the following questions: Why is it important to understand cultures other than our own? English is a compulsory subject for all Chinese elementary school students; more than 200 million Chinese children study English. By comparison, only about 24,000 U.S. elementary children study Chinese. Why would it be helpful for more U.S. students to study the Chinese language? Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Discussion 4: Communication Customs
Research business communication customs on any country you choose other than the USA. What does one need to be aware of to conduct business and communicate in this country? Briefly describe any topics to avoid in conversation; business dress; gift giving; business cards, etc. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Self-Assessment 2: Accuracy

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 2." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Quiz 1

Covers material from Weeks 1 and 2. Please complete in the Quizzes area by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 3: The Writing Process in the Digital Age
Readings
Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 3"
Discussion 5: Message Purpose

Chapter 4 - Review Zooming In: TOMS Shoes Integrates For-Profit Entrepreneurship With Bleeding-Heart Philanthropy

• Do you remember the proverb declaring that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime? Do you agree with critics who apply this proverb to TOMS’ charity model? Why or why not?

• Beyond judging the charity work of TOMS, think about how its message and appeal have captured so much buy-in from young people. When you write business messages, how can you alter your writing to engage audiences of various ages or at various education levels?

Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Self-Assessment 3: Emotional Intelligence

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 3." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Assignment 2: Business Memo Revision

Study the complete Business Memo. Revise the message with a clear introduction that states the purpose of the message and a body with properly announced lists. Improve the organization by chunking similar material together. What questions must be answered? What tasks should be performed? Make it easy for receivers to respond by "down editing," i.e., returning the message with their responses (in another color) interspersed among listed items. Finally, consider adding "you" view to the message. This revision can be in the form of either an e-mail or a memo. Submit to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Week 4: Workplace Communication Part I
Readings
Chapters 7 and 8 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 4"
Discussion 6: Twitter
In what ways have social media and "real-time Web" changed how Internet users communicate? Have services like Twitter improved the way we exchange information? Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Self-Assessment 4: Empathy

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 4." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Assignment 3: Resume Revision

Review and revise Jack's resume. Analyze Jack's resume for readability, grammar, formatting, etc. Submit to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Quiz 2

Covers material from Weeks 3 and 4. Please complete in the Quizzes area by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 5: Workplace Communication Part II
Readings
Chapters 9 and 10 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 5"
Discussion 7: Saying No to Job Applicants
Your company interviewed Kenyon Patterson for an opening in the marketing trainee program. Kenyon had good recommendations and some experience, but his grade point average wasn't outstanding. You interviewed other candidates who looked as if they would be a better fit for your organization. As the hiring manager, you want Kenyon to know that he was not selected so that he can continue his job search.

Write a brief rejection letter to Kenyon Patterson using the indirect pattern to lessen the blow. Be very careful in your explanation to avoid charges of discrimination or wrongful actions. Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Discussion 8: Persuasion
Persuasion is the ability to use argument or discussion to change an individual's beliefs or actions. In your own career, when might you find it necessary to be persuasive? What techniques are effective or ineffective in persuading others to accept your views? Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Self-Assessment 5: Transparency Through Trust

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 5." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Assignment 4: Persuasive Email Message Revision

View the email message and review Chapter 10 to complete this assignment. List at least seven persuasive writing technique weaknesses within the email message and/or from your chapter readings (do not list spelling or grammar in this assignment). Then revise the message implementing an effective persuasive strategy. Include ideas and examples from your training in conducting and participating in productive meetings. Submit to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Week 6: Reports, Proposals, and Presentations Part I
Readings
Chapters 11 and 12 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 6"
Video - Evaluating Digital Sources 
Discussion 9: Problem and Purpose Statements
Identify a problem in your current job or a previous job, such as inadequate use of technology, inefficient procedures, spotty customer service, poor product quality, low morale, or a personnel problem. Assume your boss agrees with your criticism and asks you to prepare a report. Write (a) a two or three sentence statement describing the problem, (b) a problem question, and (c) a simple statement of purpose for your report. (You are not required to write an actual report). Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.
Self-Assessment 6: Precision

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 6." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Quiz 3

Covers material from Weeks 5 and 6. Please complete in the Quizzes area by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

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: Reports, Proposals, and Presentations Part II
Readings
Chapters 13 and 14 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 7"
Discussion 10: Visual Aids

What purposes do visual aids serve? Why are visual aids critical for both local and international audiences? How do you keep your audience engaged? Support your answer with direct evidence from the text or other peer-reviewed resources. Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Self-Assessment 7: Relevancy

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 7." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT. 

Assignment 5: Oral Presentation and PowerPoint

Choose a current social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Xing, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube,etc.). Create a 10- to 12- slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation with voice over that describes the platform.  Submit to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.

Week 8: Employment Communication
Readings
Chapters 15 and 16 of the textbook
Lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 8"
Discussion 11: The Job Search and Interview
a) How has job searching for candidates and job placement for hiring managers changed in the digital age? In your opinion, have the changes had a positive or a negative effect? Why?

b) Is interviewing a two-way street? As a job interview nears conclusion, what kinds of questions should you ask about the position or company? Provide some examples that you have used.

Post your initial post by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and 2 response posts by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Self-Assessment 8: Originality & Attention to Detail

Review the lecture notes including the "Good Business Communication Key to Success 8." Answer the self-assessment questions located at the end of the lecture notes. Submit your response to the appropriate dropbox by Saturday 11:59 pm CT. 

Assignment 6: Resume

Find a job post online (Careerbuilder, Monster, Indeed, etc) or in a newspaper and create a resume and cover letter that would meet the criteria of the posting. Include a copy of the actual job posting or advertisement your resume is intended for and submit to this Dropbox folder by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT.

Quiz 4

Covers material from Weeks 7 and 8. Please complete in the Quizzes area by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.



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.

No late assignments will be accepted.

Quizzes cannot be taken late, unless the instructor has approved a late quiz ahead of the deadline for completion.

No late final exams will be 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.


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