Business Communication BA 101-003 - Course Term

Business Communication BA 101-003 - Course Term (PDF)

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Summary of Business Communication BA 101-003 - Course Term

BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 1 of 13 Business Communication BA 101-003 Course Term: Spring 2021 (January 19 – May 13) Course Location: Online Class hours: T., Th. 11:00 am - 12:15 pm Course Format: OLSYN (Attendance Online During Standard Class Times) Course Digital Space: This course has an active web page through the Canvas Learning Management System which serves as the primary learning system for our course. Meetings, consultations, and office hours will take place via Zoom (links for these are posted in our Canvas page). Instructor: Dr. Frankie Weinberg Email: [email protected] *primary contact method “Office hour” Tuesdays: 8:45-10:45 am and 12:20-1:20 pm Central time (virtual only) availability: Thursdays: 9:45-10:45 am Central time (virtual only) note: To request a meeting during office hours, send the request via email minimally 48 hours prior to the desired office hours meeting time. Terms of Use A student's continued enrollment in this course signifies acknowledgment of and agreement with the statements, disclaimers, policies, and procedures outlined within this syllabus and elsewhere in the Canvas environment. This Syllabus is a dynamic document. Elements of the course structure (e.g., dates and topics covered, but not policies) may be changed at the discretion of the professor. College of Business Mission Statement In the Ignatian tradition, the mission of the College of Business is to provide a superior value-laden education that motivates and enables students to become effective and socially responsible business leaders. We strive to contribute quality research, serve local and intellectual communities, and graduate students who possess critical thinking skills and courage to act justly in a global business environment. Course Description This course serves to improve the student's ability to create successful communication products–both written and oral. Topics include the process for successful communication, team communication, business writing, report writing using style guidelines, online communication, and presentation skills. BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 2 of 13 Instructor’s note on the course “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” ~ Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement (1987), p. 237 Effective communication is the cornerstone of relationship building. The primary objectives of this course are to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of the basic functions of business communications and current communications practices and issues. Further, this course is designed to improve the abilities of students to communicate effectively through multiple channels in the business world by actively engaging students in a multitude of real-world business communication scenarios. The learning experiences in this course are applicable for all types of positions in all types of organizations in which students may eventually find themselves. If you are interested in learning more about my teaching philosophy, and the experiential learning methodology to which you will be exposed in this course, please visit my personal website at Course Prerequisites BA B100, ENGL T122 Required Course Materials Note: This class has one required textbook for which access to the textbook’s separate online learning environment (through McGraw-Hill’s “Connect” site is mandatory. Students have the choice to either purchase purely a digital-only version which includes the textbook’s online learning environment together with a digital textbook, or to bundle a loose-leaf-paper-version textbook with the Connect learning environment. Further, video lectures, PowerPoint slides, and other material designed and distributed by the course instructor will be organized by module and contained within our class Canvas page. These materials, offered without additional charge to students, are also deemed mandatory to this class. Information regarding the required, mandatory textbook for this class is below: “Business Communication: A Problem-Solving Approach, 2nd Ed. by K. Rentz & P. Lentz (2021); McGraw-Hill Connect access card: ISBN 9781264105274 (online only), $91.50 or Loose leaf with Connect: ISBN 9781264218981 (includes loose-leaf printed text) $120.00 BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 3 of 13 Expected Course Learning Objectives 1. Professionally communicate in business exchanges (LG1) a. Create a professional and effective written document (1.1) b. Produce and deliver a professional business presentation to an audience (1.2) 2. Collaborate in a team setting/environment (LG4) Additional Learning Aligned with Course Modules The lessons in this course are organized around different forms of proactive business communications, as follow: Speaking Skills:  To effectively introduce yourself in a professional manner  To speak effectively in business settings  To provide clear and meaningful feedback  To clearly and concisely articulate ideas and opinions in multiple contexts, and in different roles  To communicate effectively with peers/coworkers regarding work-related issues  To inject appropriate humor into an informative or persuasive speech Listening Skills:  To identify your own listening strengths and weaknesses  To summarize information acquired through verbal and nonverbal feedback  To listen actively to praise and criticism from peers Writing/Composition Skills:  To compose formal business documents: e.g. business proposals, memos, letters, personal bio pages, thank you letters, etc.  To critique the written work of peers and likewise to accept prosocial criticism from those peers  To compose informal business documents: e.g. e-mails, text messages, etc.  To produce and maintain a professional online presence Presentation Skills:  To present effective business presentations to peers and clients Nonverbal Skills:  To use appropriate nonverbal behaviors and etiquette when communicating  To assess the meaning of nonverbal behaviors in others Other:  To communicate effectively with diverse others  To apply all the above skills to real-world situations in an experiential manner BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 4 of 13 INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS: Multiple learning methods will be used throughout this course including readings, lectures, individual reflective exercises, writing activities, small group activities, cases, class discussions, presentations, videos, and projects. Class sessions will highlight certain points from the readings, provide additional information and in almost all cases, have an experiential component. Reading assignments provide a basis for both lectures and discussions and must be read PRIOR to each class session. You will learn most from the class sessions if you read and think about the assigned materials beforehand. The readings introduce many more ideas and tools than our limited class time allows. Please consider your textbook as just one of a multitude of outside resources available to you as you begin your education on business communication. The fact that we do not discuss a particular concept does not mean that the idea is not important. If you are strongly moved or have questions about something in the reading that is not mentioned in class, please bring it up in class or with the professor at another time. Because students bring with them a wealth of insight, experiences, and perspectives, participation is an essential feature of the course. Occasionally, you will be called on to discuss issues and answer questions relevant to the topics being covered. Additionally, you will be working with your assigned teammate(s) on a multi-part project and on additional activities throughout the semester, and a substantial percentage of your final course grade will stem from your group’s grades and your own individual contributions to the different parts of the semester-long project. Students should consider each other, in addition to the above listed learning tools, as important catalysts for learning. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Business communication is a topic that cannot easily be grasped by passive learning; therefore a number of different activities and evaluation criteria will be used throughout the semester, including a multi- stage semester-long project, individual / personal assignments, and participation. Each of these activities is broken down below: Semester-Long Project The continuous paired or small group project reflects the largest and most broad learning component in this class. In the first week of class, you will partner with one or two classmates with whom you will collaborate throughout the remainder of the semester. Throughout the course, each group of students will be tasked with the responsibility to select a local organization for which you will ultimately assess and propose a solution to a business problem it faces. Your responsibilities for this project include: (1) identifying a general business issue that you and your partner(s) have experienced; (2) pairing up with a decision-maker from a local organization who will work with you as your business contact throughout the semester; (3) presenting the instructor with a request for your project proposal (in proper memo format, and including attached personal bio pages from each group member, (4) collecting information to identify and help to solve a specific business issue faced by your business contact, (5) producing a professional, bound formal report addressed to your business contact and suggesting a course of action, and BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 5 of 13 (6) professionally presenting your suggestions to the class, the professor, our business contact, and other interested parties. I will provide you with additional documents detailing the procedures I expect you to follow for the project proposal and the final memo submission, along with the grading rubrics that I will use to grade these assignments. On working in teams … Grades for each step of the project will be conducted in the following manner: I will assign a group grade for each stage of the project. Each stage of the project has its own points assigned to it, as presented below. Each member of the team will receive the same grade for each stage of the project. Working in teams can be a very stimulating yet sometimes challenging experience. Effective conflict resolution is a vital component of the communication function. To help avoid conflict, we will discuss group management in class. However, if problems do arise, I expect you to articulate your concerns respectfully and directly with your teammates. Further, I recognize that not all team members participate equally at all stages of the project. Therefore, I have implemented a two-stage process through which you may alert me to equity issues that arise in your groups and take action accordingly so that your grade in not negatively affected by a “slacker” teammate. By following this process, you will have the option to retain considerable control over your individual grade in the class: (1) The first step of this process is that when you first experience an issue with your teammate(s) regarding any stage of the project, I expect you to e-mail your teammate(s) about the issue, detailing the facts about the issue and your perspective on the issue. Carbon Copy (CC) me on the e- mail that you send. Do not add me as a blind carbon copy, but rather make the CC visible to all recipients. If you receive an e-mail from your teammate regarding an issue and you would like to reply, please reply-all so that I am copied on the entire dialogue. This entire dialogue should occur before the stage of the project is due. (2) The second step of this process is only an option to you if you have followed the first step and e- mailed your partners as described above before the due-date for the project stage. After you receive your group grade, you have three (3) days to take action. If one member of the team disagrees with the equity with which the grade was assigned, each group member will be asked to use the chart below to individually assign up to 100 percentage points between the two members of the group. This individual assignment of percentage points will be then followed by a private group discussion in which the members must come to a consensus on the distribution of percentage points between group members. The points assigned to each member will correspond to the percentage of group grade that each member will receive for the group project. If a group is unable to agree on the distribution of points after three of deliberating, I will determine the group’s grade distribution based on interviews with each of the team members. An example of this method is elaborated below, followed by the chart that you would use to calculate grade distributions within your team for each affected stage of the project: For example, assume three students work together in Group A, and three different students work together in Group B. Now, assume further that both Group A and Group B earned a full 5 points on one part of their project. Group A came to the consensus that all students contributed equally to the project, so they distribute their 100 percentage points equally (33.33% to each of the 3 BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 6 of 13 members). Group B did not agree that both members contributed equally. They feel as though one person slacked off a bit on this part of the project and the other members really helped to carry the group through this particular project. So they distributed the points accordingly: The “slacker” was awarded a 20% share of the project grade, giving each of the other members 40%. So, in Group A, all members would earn a full 5 points for that project (because they both agreed that each member contributed equally). In Group B, however, members agreed that the “slacker” member should receive only 20% out of a possible 33.33% share which s/he would have received if the grade was evenly split, and thus, this member earned only 3 points, and his/her partners each earned 7 points (see my calculations in the table below). SAMPLE Peer Score (/100) / Max Possible** = % x Group Grade = Indiv. Grade (Group B) (agreed on by all members) (100/#members) Member 1 20 / 33.33 = .60 x 5 = 3 Member 2 40 / 33.33 = 1.20 x 5 = 6* Member 3 40 / 33.33 = 1.20 x 5 = 6* *Notice that it is possible for a student who contributed more to earn more than the total allotted grade for any stage of the project, but that to do so, those points must be taken away from a teammate’s grade. **Note that the maximum possible points for each member of a two-person team is 50 (100/2), the maximum possible for each member of a three-person team is 33.33 (100/3), the maximum possible for each member of a four-person team is 25 (100/4), the maximum possible for each member of a five-person team is 20 (100/5), and the maximum possible for each member of a six-person team is 16.67 (100/6). Additionally, all students will have the opportunity to rate your teammates’ participation toward the semester-long project on a teammate evaluation form, which will apply toward their participation grade, as detailed below in the section on class participation. Stages of the semester-long project: (The number is the points value for each stage; O = oral assignment; W = written assignment; O/W = both, where the grade is determined by the underlined letter) 10 pts. W Memo proposal submitted to professor 10 pts. O/W Collect information (e.g. interview(s), research), appended to final report 15 pts. W Formal report addressed to organization 10 pts. O Visual presentation to class and organization _____ 45 pts. total (45% of your course grade is determined from this semester-long project) BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 7 of 13 Individual / Personal Projects: The remainder of the course will be devoted to individual business communication assignments and projects, for which your responsibilities are primarily centered on producing written and oral communication which will help you learn how to promote yourself and your ideas to a number of different professional audiences. There are also three non-cumulative quizzes covering the assigned textbook readings. Individual / personal projects include: (The number is the points value for each stage; O = oral assignment; W = written assignment; O/W = both, where the grade is determined by the underlined letter) 0 pts. O (ungraded) 30-second personal brand-oriented elevator pitch 0 pts. O (ungraded) visual aid presentation in front of group, on a business topic of your choice 10 pts. O Informative, persuasive speech to class, based on material presented to group 0 pts. W (ungraded) Creation of a personal Web or other Social Media page as an online presence 0 pts. W Critique of others’ bio (using an indirect approach – inductive sequencing) 0 pts. W Reply to critique of your bio (using a direct approach – deductive sequencing) 15 pts. W Post a novel BCOM question for discussion, and respond to min. 4 students’ prompts 30 pts. O/W But did you read? (three online quizzes covering the reading assignments) _____ 55 pts. total (45% of your course grade is determined from these individual assignments) Participation: By the due date indicated in our course schedule below, each student is required to post a novel discussion post question to the class centering on the general topic of business communication, and respond to minimally four fellow classmates’ posts (not including responses to your own posts which are suggested but not mandatory). These will be posted under a Discussion Board topic on our Course Canvas page titled “Student-Posed BCOM Discussion Forum.” The challenge of this assignment is twofold: (1) your discussion question that you post must be unique and thought-provoking – something that does not have an obvious answer, but instead provides an opportunity for critical thinking by the respondents; (2) in addition to asking respondents to think critically about an aspect of business communication, students will be asked to provide cumulative responses, such that their response not only takes into account the initial question that was posed to which they are responding, but also the previous responses posted by students who had already responded to that discussion forum. Keep in mind that we will be discussing topics that have few “right” or “wrong” answers and it may merely be your informed opinion that is asked for. Note the word “informed” which implies that you are asked to back up your thoughts with citations, references, and examples. Consideration of multiple perspectives is essential for student learning. The deadlines for (a) posting, and (b) responding to these discussion topics are indicated in our course schedule at the end of this syllabus. Together, your post plus responses to others’ posts are worth 15 points (15% of your class grade). Note on discussion post participation: Students must each post at least one unique question to the class, and must respond to minimally 4 discussion questions/topics posted by fellow classmates. Responding to BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 8 of 13 your own question is suggested to provide a discussion prompt that could attract others to respond to your post, but note that responding to your own post does not count toward the four minimum responses required. Urgent participation note (a): During the introductory module, there is also a mandatory, required, but ungraded discussion post assignment. While this post itself is ungraded, failure to complete this assignment will result in a grade of zero (0) for the entirety of one’s participation grade for the course, overriding any other earned participation grades. This Introductory Discussion Post, which is due within the first week of class does not count as a response toward the graded Student-Posed BCOM Discussion Forum assignment. Urgent participation note (b): Students are also expected to participate in synchronous class discussions and team meetings held during our scheduled class times. Absence from more than two (2) whole-class meetings or more than one (1) scheduled team meeting will result in a grade of zero (0) for the entirety of one’s participation grade for the course, overriding any other earned participation grades. Overall Course Grade Semester-long project 45% Individual projects, including discussion post participation 55% Total: 100% Grading Policy: * Completion of all course activities is required to receive any grade other than an “F.” Loyola University New Orleans has implemented a plus/minus system for course grades. Based on your final percentage, grades will be allocated as follows: 94-100% A 90-92.99% A- 87-89.99% B+ 83-86.99% B 80-82.99% B- 77-79.99% C+ 73-76.99% C 70-72.99% C- 67-69.99% D+ 60-66.99% D < 60% F BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 9 of 13 Assignment Deadlines, & Missed Exam, Presentation, or Group Project Work Day Policy: Assignments, including preparation to conduct a synchronous speech or presentation to the class, are due at the beginning of class on the due date listed in the syllabus. Online quizzes are due to be completed by the date and time noted for each quiz. On occasion, due dates may change to accommodate a flexible class schedule as needed. If I decide to change a due date for an assignment, I will notify you via e-mail or Canvas announcement regarding the change. Unless otherwise noted, assignments are due in electronic format, uploaded through our Canvas system (neither paper copies nor emails sent to the professor are accepted for grading unless otherwise indicated by the instructor). Moreover, all assignments which are not turned in on time (or presented on the appropriate due date) will be assigned a grade of zero (0), without exception, other than one of the very few “excused” absences listed below. It is your responsibility to note the due dates which are listed at the back of this syllabus in the “course schedule.” The purpose of this class is to teach effective business communication, and if, for example, a proposal is not turned in on time or a presenter is not there to present, the proposal has zero chance of being approved, and the presentation would obviously be ineffective. It is your responsibility to turn your projects in on time and in the correct manner as assigned. Also of note, no instances of plagiarism will be tolerated, and any evidenced plagiarism will result in a grade of “F” for this class; further, these instances will be noted in your university record and may lead to expulsion from the university. Note that any assignment turned in with plagiarized work will be assumed duplicitous, and handled in this manner. Thus, if you are unclear what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the Loyola student bulletin, and if you remain confused, please see me for a full explanation before turning in your assignment. Further, as evidenced by the unique way in which this class is set up, in some instances you are more accountable to your teammates and classmates in terms of your absence or lack of participation than you are to me. If you miss out on any important aspect of the class for legitimate reasons, you should contact your teammates via e-mail (and cc: me on the e-mail) prior to the missed day or as soon afterward as possible. It is your responsibility to provide within 12 hours of a missed graded component evidence of a legitimate reason for missing an examination, presentation, or other graded assignment. Among the legitimate reasons are: (a) an illness treated by a physician who will put in writing that you were too ill to attend or complete an assignment due that day (note that a doctor’s note that merely indicates that you were at the doctor that day do not constitute an excuse); (b) a documented serious illness or death in your immediate family; and (c) an accident that prevented your attendance at the scheduled time. In the event of an excused missed day which detains a student from participating in part of the group assignment or arriving in person to turn in a completed assignment, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his or her teammates (in the event of group work – and cc: me on the correspondence) or contact me directly (in the event of an excused absence not allowing you to turn in a completed assignment on time) so that I can determine the best course of action. Please do your best to arrange work-related travel or events at a time other than our class time. For any unexcused absence an individual grade of zero will be given; note that any excuse provided greater than 12 hours past the deadline for the assignment or graded work will be treated as unexcused and graded accordingly. BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 10 of 13 Attendance Policy See “Urgent participation note (b)” above. Participation Expectations - Course Activities/Coursework and Learner Interaction This course employs what is known as a “partially flipped classroom” experience. Some lectures will be provided synchronously via Zoom during our scheduled class time, and some video lectures are prepared in advance by the professor which students are expected to watch on their own time ahead of scheduled due dates for that course content. Like all other material for this class, these videos are organized and embedded within our course Canvas page. We will also meet “face-to-face” via Zoom for class meetings, teamwork and team presentations, and for consultation opportunities. Further, students will participate in quizzes, discussion posts, and a research project, as elaborated above. Please see the above sections regarding expectations for and the grading of student participation and assignments. Weekly Calendar of Topics and Coursework with Due Dates (Readings, Media, Lecture Material, Discussion Board, Assignments, Quizzes, Tests, etc.) Please see the Course Schedule below. According to the Academic Affairs Continuity Plan, in the event of a campus evacuation and closure, instruction for all CoB courses will continue via Canvas. In such an instance, it is the learners’ responsibility to tune into both Canvas and the email account associated with your Canvas access so that we may continue our course with any modifications deemed necessary by the instructor. Changes to the Syllabus This course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the professor may be necessary. Announcements will be made either in class, via email, or on our course Canvas page. Students are expected to check their .loyno email accounts and the course Canvas page prior to each class. Further, the schedule that follows is dynamic. We may take more or less time on particular topics as we begin to engage in discussion of those topics. Thus, corresponding adjustments may be necessary. BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 11 of 13 Course Schedule and Assignments: Notes on readings: (L) = Lentz & Rentz textbook; (C) = Reading is posted on our course Canvas page. Date Topic Due Today 2021 (All readings are expected to be completed before class on the day noted; Assignments are by the end of the day (11:59 pm, CST on due date) Module 1: The Communication Process Jan 21-28 Introduction to the class, to our projects, and to each other, including elevator pitches and introduction to teams * Jan. 26 – introductory post due * Jan 28 – 30-second elevator pitch Feb 2-4 The communication process & communicating in today’s workplace Read Ch. 1-2 Module 2: Persuasive Communication Across Media Feb 9-11 Communicating persuasively: persuasive speeches, messages, memos, and proposals Read Ch. 4, 6, 9 * Feb 11 – Quiz 1 (covering Ch. 1, 2, 4, 9) must be completed by the end of day today. (Note: quiz does not cover chapter 6) * Feb 11 – Bio page upload to dedicated discussion board due by end of day Feb 16-25 Preparing and revising specialized written communication: Communicating good & bad news and conveying criticism TUESDAY, FEB. 16 IS MARDI GRAS HOLIDAY Read Ch. 7, 8 * Feb. 25 – Project proposal memo due, with individual Bio pages attached March 2-4 Technology and electronic communication used in the workplace and for effective personal professionalism. Website instruction and creation. Website and social media sharing. Read Ch. 14 * Mar 4 – Quiz 2 (covering Ch. 7, 8, 14) must be completed by the end of day today. * Mar 4 – Critique of two bio pages due BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 12 of 13 Module 3: Presentations and Speeches March 9-11 On presentations and speeches: Effective oral communication, appropriate use of visuals, communicating in a P-R-O-P-T manner, and injecting appropriate humor THURSDAY, MAR. 11 IS A UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY Read Ch. 5, 12 * Mar. 9 – Post a novel BCOM question for discussion to dedicated discussion board March 16-25 Injecting humor into informative, persuasive speeches: Individual visual aid presentation to team (for practice), then improved speech to class (without visual aid) Note: All students must be prepared to present their speech on any of the speech days. I will call on students in random order. You must be present when called. Missed speeches will not be graded. All speeches must be between 4-5 minutes long. * Mar 16 – Visual aid presentation (practice for speeches) due for presentation to your teammates today * Mar 18-25 - Informative, persuasive speech to class (no visual aids, no notes) Module 4: Researching and Writing Reports Mar 30- Apr 1 Researching and writing reports Read Ch. 10, 11 * Apr. 1 – Response to Bio Critiques Due * Apr. 1. – Responses to minimally four classmates’ novel BCOM question for discussion due Module 5: Culture and Listening Apr 6-8 Diversity in communication: Diverse communication styles, gendered communication, cross-cultural communication Read Ch. 3 * Apr. 8 – Quiz 3 (covering Ch. 3, 5, 10, 11, 12) must be completed by the end of day today. BA 101: Business Communications (F. J. Weinberg) Syllabus Page 13 of 13 Apr 13-15 Listening & etiquette skills in consideration of the workplace and professional contexts Writing thank-you letters Read Ch. 13 Apr 20-29 Final project presentations Note: All teams must be prepared to present their presentation on any of the presentation days. Not all members must present, but all members must be present in class. I will call on teams in random order. Your team must be present when called, or forfeit grade. All presentations must be between 9-12 minutes long. * Apr. 20 – Due – Uploads of Semester-Long Projects (addressed to the organization) due today, with all attachments * Apr. 20-29 – Project Presentations Module 6: Contemporary Issues in BCOM May 4 Contemporary Issues in Business Communications