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Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

BUSI 504: Business Commun Theory & Pract

Course Description

This course is designed to strengthen students' communications 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

Hynes, Geraldine. Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications (6th  ed.). Sage Publications. (2016).

ISBN- 978-1-483-35855-0


Course Overview

This course is designed to provide current and future middle and upper-level managers with an understanding of communication as a core management skill. It will introduce you to the fundamental theories of business communication as well as communication skills and strategies in a variety of managerial settings. In today’s rapidly changing information and communication environment, the most effective managers are those who understand that communication strategies must be aligned with organizational goals and objectives.

You will also become familiar with specific topics in business communication, including inter-cultural communication, collaborative communication, conflict-management, negotiations, and technologically-mediated communication.



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. Evaluate management communication in an organizational setting.
  2. Analyze a company’s communication processes or key messages and recommend changes that can help advance communication as an integral part of that organization’s management strategy.
  3. Devise and apply managerial communication strategies in traditional and technology mediums.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of intercultural communication issues.
  5. Analyze and justify legal and ethical issues in communication.
  6. Apply theory of written and oral communication to organizational settings.

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 (15) 240 24%
Dropbox Assignments (2) 320 32%
Midterm Exam 220 22%
Final Exam 220 22%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion -- Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 16
Discussion 2 16
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 16
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 16
Dropbox Assignment 1 160 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 16
Midterm Exam 220 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 16
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 16
Dropbox Assignment 2 160 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 16 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 16
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 16 Wednesday/Saturday
Final Exam 220 Saturday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

There is one ungraded introduction discussion assignment, along with 15 graded discussion assignments. Graded discussion assignments are worth up to a total of 16 points, with initial responses worth up to 8 points, and your response to a classmate's initial post is also worth up to 8 points. Initial posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday in Weeks 1-7. In Week 8, response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.

You must submit your initial post prior to being able to see the responses of your fellow classmates.  To receive the maximum points for each discussion question posted, the initial post must be no longer that 500 words in length. They should be written in the same style you would use in a memo to a co-worker or supervisor, including correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The Discussion Topic posts and responses are more formal than e-mails or text messages, so abbreviations (OMG, etc.), emojis, and/or emoticons are not appropriate.

In addition initial posts should be supported by relevant examples and citations (using the APA citation format), where appropriate. Please note that at least 1 citation is required in your initial post. Discussions must be inclusive of material from the text and/or other competent sources, where appropriate, original, well thought out, and complete.

You must include a separate response to at least 1 of your classmate’s Discussion Topic. Overall, the guidelines for the response posts are the same as for the initial posts. Your reply should engage your fellow learners in a relevant discussion based upon their comments and your additional research. Mere comments such as “Good idea” or “I agree with you” are good to support your fellow students, but that alone is insufficient to earn points.


Dropbox Assignments

There are 2 Dropbox Assignments in the course, with 1 being due in Week 3, and the other in Week 6. The assignments will cover material from the text for those respective weeks. Each is worth 160 points for a total of 320 points. The purpose of the Dropbox Assignments is to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their analytical, critical thinking, and written communication skills in the context of actual or hypothetical cases. You are not required or expected to consult or utilize any outside resources in preparing the Dropbox Assignments. If you choose to consult outside resources, be advised that “Wikipedia” is not considered a credible resource for academic work, and should not be used or cited as a resource.

Dropbox Assignment 1

Dropbox Assignment 1 is an essay based on a case study from the textbook. Details regarding this case can be found in the Week 3 Content Area. The essay should be 4-6 pages double-spaced in 12-pt Times New Roman font, or some other similar business font. It must be submitted in Word format (.docx, .doc, or .rtf file formats) to the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 3. Style, and any use of citations, should follow the 6th edition of the APA Manual.

Dropbox Assignment 2

Dropbox Assignment 2 is a PowerPoint presentation based on a selection from a set of topics from the textbook. Details regarding this project can be found in the Week 6 Content Area. The PowerPoint Presentation should consist of 15-25 slides that includes specific information and/or data to support argument. It must also include a narrative, presented in either a written or oral format. The assignment must be submitted to the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 6.


Exams

 There will be two exams in the course – a Midterm Exam in Week 4, and a Final Exam in Week 8.

Midterm Exam

You will complete a Midterm Exam in the "Quizzes" area of the course worth 220 points in Week 4. It covers the textbook material from Weeks 1-4. The exam is open-book, not proctored, and consists of 50 true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. You will have 1 attempt to complete this 75-minute exam. The Midterm opens at 12:01 am CT Wednesday and closes at 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Final Exam

You will complete a Final Exam in the "Quizzes" area of the course worth 220 points in Week 8. It covers the textbook material from Weeks 5-8. The exam is open-book, not proctored, and consists of 50 true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. You will have 1 attempt to complete this 75-minute exam. The Final opens at 12:01 am CT Wednesday and closes at 11:59 pm CT Saturday.



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Managing in Contemporary Organizations
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 1 and 2

Mandatory Resource: “Characteristics of Corporate/Organizational Culture”

Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself to the class. Share your name, where you live, job/profession, interests, career goals, and any other information you wish to share that will help the instructor and your fellow online learners get to know you.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 1

Chapter 1 focuses on several historical approaches to management communication, including the scientific management approach, the administrative approach, the behavioral approach, and the contingency approach. Discuss the characteristics of each of these approaches, including an example of a business or enterprise in which each of the approaches is the prevailing type of management communication.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 2

In the “Content” area of the course for Week 1, there is a resource item entitled “Characteristics of Corporate/Organizational Culture" found within the Instructional Materials. After reading the material, describe the organizational culture of your current or a previous employer. You don’t need to discuss each of the 18 characteristics listed – only the characteristics you feel are most relevant to your organization’s culture.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 2: Managerial Writing
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 6 and 7

Discussion 3

According to the textbook, managerial writing takes place in a unique context that involves consideration of several factors, such as the fragmented nature of a manager’s time, size and culture of the organization, the type of authority and political influence the manager is perceived to have within the organization, and legal concerns. Discuss one or more of these factors in relation to managerial writing, and how the manager’s written communication is affected by the factor(s).

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 4

Two of the most important considerations in planning a written message are the purpose of the message and the intended audience. If you were preparing to write a memo to your company’s employees announcing a major organizational change, discuss the purpose(s) of your memo, as well as some of the employees’ concerns that you will need to address in your memo.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 3: Management Reports and Proposals
Readings

Textbook: Chapter 8

Discussion 5

List and discuss the four elements that are required in the “Introduction” section of a Formal Report. Which of the elements do you think would be most important to a decision-maker receiving the report? Why do you think this element would be the most important to a decision-maker?

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 6

Read the “Communication Audit Report” on pp. 244-249 of the text. For this discussion, assume that you are Jeff Walters, the Executive Vice-President for whom the report was prepared. Discuss what you consider to be the report’s greatest strength and most serious weakness from your perspective as a decision-maker. Support your argument with specific examples from the report.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Dropbox Assignment 1

Read Case 2-4, “Resigning From the TV Station,” on pp. 49-50 of the text. After you have read the case, prepare an essay answering Questions 1-4 at the end of the case. Your answers to the questions should be original, thoughtful, and well-reasoned, demonstrating your insight regarding the case and the questions presented.

Dropbox Assignment 1 is due in the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 3.

Week 4: Listening and Nonverbal Communication
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 9 and 10

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.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 8

In the accompanying photo, 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.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam covers the textbook material from Weeks 1-4. The exam is open-book, not proctored, and consists of 50 true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions.  You will have 1 attempt to complete this 75-minute exam.

The Midterm opens at 12:01 am CT Wednesday and closes at 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 5: Technologically Mediated and Intercultural Communication
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 3 and 11

Discussion 9

Advances in technology in the past 30 years have radically transformed the way people communicate, both personally and professionally. With respect to business and professional communication, discuss what you consider to be the greatest benefit of this transformation, and the greatest disadvantage. Provide specific examples to support your opinion.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 10

Today’s workforce is more culturally diverse than ever. Consequently, employers are confronted more frequently with requests to accommodate employees’ ethnic and/or cultural customs and practices. How far do you think employers should go in accommodating such requests, in the interest of creating an inclusionary work environment?

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 6: Oral Presentations and Managing Meetings/Teams
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 4 and 5

Discussion 11

When giving oral presentations to a group, there are a number of obstacles, or barriers with which speakers might be confronted. The most common obstacles are: stereotypes, prejudice, feelings, language, and culture. Select one of these barriers that you have experienced, either as a speaker or a member of the audience, and discuss how it affected the presentation.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 12

Describe your experience with an ineffective meeting at your current or previous job. Based on your experience, what would you have done to improve the effectiveness of the meeting?

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Dropbox Assignment 2

Create a PowerPoint Presentation based on one of the topics in Exercise 5-3 on p. 148 of the text.  Since this is to be a persuasive presentation, you should assume that your audience consists of business people who are generally skeptical of the position you are advocating in your presentation. 

Dropbox Assignment 2 is due in the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 6.

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: Employment-Related Communication
Readings

Textbook: Chapters 12 and 14

Discussion 13

Which of the five conflict management strategies discussed in the text best describes your own approach to resolving conflicts at work? How does your conflict management style affect your communication strategy in conflict situations at work?

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 14

As noted in Chapter 14, employment-related interviews present specific barriers to effective communication, including 1) different intentions of the people involved; 2) bias; 3) the fact-inference fallacy; 4) nonverbal communication; 5) effects of first impressions; and 6) organizational status. Discuss two of these barriers that you have experienced during an interview, and describe how you dealt with the barriers, either as an interviewer or an interviewee. Were you successful in dealing with the barriers?

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 8: Managerial Negotiation
Readings

Textbook: Chapter 13

Discussion 15

Chapter 13 returns to the “strategic communication model” from Chapter 2 (the “onion” analogy) and states that it is the best way to approach the negotiation process. Negotiations also incorporate elements of conflict-resolution strategies, since negotiation involves parties with conflicting objectives. Using either the strategic communication model or the conflict-resolution model, describe a negotiation process to which you were a party, and discuss how the negotiation process was resolved, whether successfully or unsuccessfully.

Your initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, and response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.

Final Exam

The Final Exam covers the textbook material from Weeks 5-8. The exam is open-book, not proctored, and consists of 50 true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions.  You will have 1 attempt to complete this 75-minute exam.

The Final opens at 12:01 am CT Wednesday and closes at 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. You only have one week allowed to submit a late written assignment, and your grade will be reduced 10 points for each day the assignment is late. In addition, no late exams will be accepted without prior instructor approval, which will be granted only in extenuating circumstances beyond your control.

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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