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BusCom 201 … Business Communication


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  • 1. BusCom 201 – Business Communication – Fall 2008 Section 1750 – M 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – BSUWest Instructor: Mr. Jerry Foster Phone: 426-1966 Office Hours: by appointment Dept. Phone: 426-3356 Office: Education Building E-331 Department Office B-306 E-mail: Text and Support Materials ----Guffey, Mary Ellen. Essentials of Business Communication. 6th ed. Thomson South-Western, 2004. ----COBE Writing Style Guide. Boise State University, 2004. <> -----And a book of your choice on cross-cultural communication. I will provide a list of suitable titles. Course Description This course will focus on letters, reports, and other forms of business communication, including cross- cultural communication. Whatever the form of communication, the primary purpose is the development of clarity in business writing and speaking. We will spend class time writing, talking about writing, and creating solutions to the problems you encounter with your writing. Prerequisites The prerequisite for this course is ENGL102 or its equivalent. I assume a basic understanding of rhetoric, grammar, punctuation, and usage of standard American English. You are responsible for understanding these aspects of writing and I will hold you accountable for them in your assignments. I also assume basic familiarity with computers and that you have an email account which you know how to use. Course Objectives and Evaluation • Demonstrate understanding of the principal components of Rhetorical Situation—purpose, audience, and context or convention—in all of the assignments submitted in this class. • Demonstrate the ability to write at professional levels of writing mechanics, including but not limited to grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, report structure, and proof- reading. • Demonstrate the ability to improve business communication by revising and editing. • Demonstrate the ability to employ one or more standard formats for writing business letters, memos, and emails. • Demonstrate the ability to write proposals, newsletters, resumes, reports, and instructions. • Demonstrate the ability to integrate technology into professional communications, including but not limited to word processing, basic pagination, PowerPoint presentations, and blogs. • Demonstrate the ability to communicate ethically. • Demonstrate the ability to apply what you’ve learned by evaluating the work of peers and professionals. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 1 of 7
  • 2. Policies Attendance: Attendance is required, participation is mandatory and will count for 20 points toward your final grade. Students who miss two consecutive class meeting without notifying the instructor in advance will be asked to drop the course or will fail the course. Submitting Assignments Some assignments will be brought to class, others will be submitted via email. Email assignments to >. I must insist that you type in the Subject Line like this: Campus- Buscom—Last Name-First Initial—Assignment Name. If I were sending in the revising assignment, the subject line for the email would look like this: Gowen-Buscom—Foster-J—Revising. Any email that is infected with a virus or carries a virus-infected attachment will be deleted by Boise State’s email virus protection system and I’ll never see it. Install virus protection on your computer and update the software weekly. Revision Revision is built into some assignments. For those assignments, no remedial revisions will be accepted. However, if you wish to improve your grade on those assignments that do not require revision, you are welcome to revise and submit significantly improved work. Submitting a revision does not guarantee a higher score; the quality of the assignment must improve. Remedial revisions will be due one week after I return the assignment; the score on the revision will be averaged with the original score. Deadlines Deadlines are posted with the assignment. Plagiarism / Academic Dishonesty The use of someone else’s words or even someone else’s ideas in your work without proper acknowledgement is wrong. This syllabus is based on a syllabus written by an instructor named Bob Henry. Without acknowledging his influence in this syllabus, I would be guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism can result in a grade of F for the course. Please refer to the Boise State University Academic Honesty Policies as described in the Student Code of Conduct for further detail on this topic. Grading A view of what the letter grades mean: A (90%-100%) Manager would be very impressed and remember the work at promotion/ compensation time. B (80%-89%) Manager would be satisfied with the job but not impressed. C (70%-79%) Manager would be disappointed and ask you to revise or rewrite sections before allowing those outside of the department to see it. D (60%-69%) Manager would be troubled by the poor quality of work. F (< 59%) Manager would start looking for your replacement (Courtesy of Professor Gerald Alred via Professor Mohan Limaye) Modification of Syllabus I reserve the right to change the syllabus. In fact, I can tell you that it WILL be changed, particularly the class schedule at the end of the syllabus. It is an outline, and in no way limits assignments or in-class activities to the draft issued on the first day of class. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 2 of 7
  • 3. I can tell you right now, for example, that I will require progress reports on your major project, the cross- cultural communication assignment. You do not see progress reports in the Class Schedule because it is an outline, not an exhaustive compendium of class activities. CLASS SCHEDULE The class schedule is an outline of major activities; it does not include the every-week activities like grammar checks, quizzes, and reviews/discussions of the chapter readings. Week 1—August 25 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS: 1. Review the syllabus and class schedule 2. How the class works—peer evaluation, etc. 3. Why group sessions 4. Explain the mid-term project—company newsletters (See end of the syllabus) 5. Explain the final project—international business/cross cultural communications (See end of the syllabus) 6. Read and discuss Chapter 1 in class. 7. Rhetorical Situation FOR CLASS TWO WEEKS FROM NOW—September 8. Before Week 3, read Guffey Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5. Assignments: 1) Write a 250-300-word memo. In the first quarter or half of your memo, explain your background and what motivates your interest in your major. In the remaining portion of your memo, focus on your goals. DUE: Via email by noon Friday, September 5. Bring five copies to class. 2) Write a 250-300-word email to me. Identify the book on cross-cultural customs and etiquette that you bought, and explain why you close that particular book and that particular culture. DUE: Via email by noon Friday, September 5. Bring five copies to class. Week 2— September 1 (Labor Day) No class meeting tonight. Despite missing class, this is NOT an off week. Complete the assignments posted above. Week 3—September 8 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS: 1. Review and discuss Unit 2 and Chapter 5. 2. Introduction to rubrics—quantifying and measuring performance. 3. Practice revision in small groups. 4. Small Group Peer Review of the 300-word memo and the 300-word email. FOR NEXT WEEK Read Guffey, Chapter 9—Informal Reports Assignment: Write an informal report to me in either format. Assume I am a potential investor. This is not a business plan but a business concept paper. In direct language, explain your intent to form a company in which your role is a position of middle-management within the realm of your major. If you are an accounting major, your role in the company will be associated with accounting. If you are an English major, you will assume a role in public relations, etc. Length is two pages. DUE: Via an attachment to email by noon of September 12. Bring five copies to class. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 3 of 7
  • 4. Week 4—September 15 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS Peer review of the informal reports (business concept papers) Instruction on company newsletters FOR NEXT WEEK 1. Revise the informal reports based on evaluations of the original. Submit your revisions with the marked originals. 2. Read Guffey, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7—Letters and Persuasive Messages Assignment—Write a one-page sales letter on one or two of your company’s products or services. Bring five copies to class. Week 5—September 22 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS 1. Peer evaluation of the revised informal report. 2. Discussion of Chapters 6 and 7. 3. Peer evaluation of sales letters. FOR TWO WEEKS FROM TONIGHT • Read Guffey, Chapter 8—Negative Messages • Read a handout on ethics in business (and everyday life) • Write a letter of complaint to one of your classmates. (Bring 5 copies to class). Recipients will respond to the complaints in class. • Find two or three items that are misleading or down-right unethical. Look through the newspaper, television, grocery story—anywhere. Bring them to class Week 6—September 29—NO CLASS On Monday night, go to the main campus and listen to a lecture delivered by world-renowned economist Dr. Robert Higgs. Take careful notes and then write an informal report (2 pages) on what he had to say. Be sure to add your company’s (in other words: your) business perspective on the speaker’s comments. Submit via email by noon of Friday, October 3. Bring five copies to class. HERE ARE THE DETAILS: • Dr. Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy The Independent Institute • Monday, September 29, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) • Jordan Ballroom, Student Union Building, Boise State main campus • Topic: The Perilous Path to Unlimited Government • You will need to sign-in and identify me as your professor. If you have another class or some other commitment on Monday nights, talk to me about it. We’ll work something out. Week 7—October 6 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS 1. Discuss Chapter 8 2. Show and Tell. What did you find that was misleading? 3. Letters of complaint. Read and respond to letters of complaint, in class. 4. Discuss the economist’s lecture. 5. Evaluate the reports on the economist’s lecture. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 4 of 7
  • 5. 6. Submit hard copies of your company newsletter, both formats. FOR NEXT WEEK • Read Guffey, Chapter 13—Job Application Materials • Write a resume and cover letter (1 page) DUE: Via email at noon Friday, October 10. Bring five copies to class. Week 8—October 13 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS 1. Guest Speaker. A job-service professional will evaluate your resumes and cover letters. 2. Discuss Chapter 13. 3. Mid-term exam FOR NEXT WEEK • Read Guffey, Chapter 14—Job interviews • Come to class next week prepared to interview. Week 9—October 20 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS Job interviewing … hopefully we can get a professional to visit class NOTE: 1. We will not meet next week because I will be in Seattle for a conference. 2. Email your Cross-Cultural Reports and Presentations by noon Friday, Oct. 24. a. Email one copy to me. b. Email one copy to each member of your group. 3. Evaluate the reports submitted to you by members of your group. 4. Bring the evaluated reports to class on November 3. 5. Read Guffey, Chapter 11—Communicating in Person, on the Phone 6. Practice your live presentation for your cross-cultural report. Week 10—October 27 NO CLASS. I will be at a conference, but this is not a week off for any of us. Week 11—November 3 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS 1. Discuss Chapter 11. 2. Evaluate more job interviews. 3. Workshop the cross-cultural reports. FOR NEXT WEEK’S CLASS • Read Guffey, Chapter 12 • Develop a live presentation on cross-cultural etiquette. Plan to incorporate a technological presentation tool, such as PowerPoint. Week 12—November 10 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS Continue workshopping cross-cultural reports. Discuss Chapter 12. Practice oral presentations. FOR NEXT WEEK’S CLASS Be ready to present and evaluate cross-cultural presentations. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 5 of 7
  • 6. Week 13—November 17 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS We will present and evaluate cross-cultural presentations. FOR THE NEXT TIME WE MEET No class next week because of Thanksgiving. Week 14—November 24-30 NOTE: This is Thanksgiving Break. Week 15—December 1 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS Present and evaluate cross-cultural presentations. FOR NEXT WEEK No reading or submissions this week. Week 16—December 8 IN TONIGHT’S CLASS Present and evaluate cross-cultural presentations. Part I of the final exam. FOR NEXT WEEK Write a one-page reflective letter to me, reflecting on what you learned in this class, on whether we met the course objectives, and what you liked best about the class. What aspect of business communication would you have liked to see in this course? Week 17—FINALS WEEK IN TONIGHT’S CLASS We will finish presenting and evaluating cross-cultural presentations. Part II of the final exam. Midterm Project Company Newsletters 1. Get some newsletters a. Contact companies and/or associations b. Tell the receptionist you are a BSU Business Communications student, and c. Ask for a copy of the newsletter and (if a publicly traded company) the annual report. 2. Bring your copies to class to share and compare on Week 4—September 15. 3. Instruction on newsletter production is scheduled for Week 4—September 15. 4. Write a two-page company newsletter. a. Format it in two columns. b. Format it without columns. c. Instead of stories on company sales, expansion, personnel, etc., I will ask you to write several short articles on your area of business. 5. Contact me by phone or email, or catch me after class if you have questions or challenges. 6. Submit your newsletters (same info formatted with and without columns) on Week 7–October 6. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 6 of 7
  • 7. Final Project Cross-Cultural Communication 1. This project is really two projects in one. Part A is a 5-page formal report written and formatted in APA style. Part B is a 5-minute technology-assisted oral report, utilizing some of the same information detailed in the formal written report. 2. Buy or borrow a book on cross-cultural communication from the library. If you buy a book, go to a local book store go online to and search for “cross-cultural communication.” If you buy online, expedite shipment to get the book here right away. 3. Read the book and be ready to submit the formal report on Friday, October 24. Be ready to practice your oral report on November 10, and be ready to make your presentation on November 17. BusCom 201 – Sec. 1750 – Boise State University – Fa08 – Foster Page 7 of 7