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College of Business
Department of Marketing & Decision Sciences
BUS 137A Soft Skills
Online Course (Section 80: 24279, Section 81: 24280)
Spring 2015


Dr. Jennifer Bechkoff

BT 751
(408) 924-3693
Via Canvas chat, Canvas conference, Skype, or
WebEx by appointment & anytime via email.
Weekly material pre-posted. Class is accessible 24
hours a day.
Bus 130

Copies of the course materials such as the syllabus, major assignment handouts, etc. may be
found on Canvas at You are responsible for regularly
checking with the messaging system through Canvas. I will often communicate with you
through the Canvas discussion board, the Announcements page, or through email. Refer to
this page for help using Canvas: Should you ever experience
difficulty logging into the system, check this page to see if there are any SJSU IT service
An examination of the soft skills (self-management skills and people skills) employers feel
recent college graduates are lacking. Some of these skills include, but aren't limited to,
listening skills, wine selection at business dinners, work ethic, dining etiquette, cultural
sensitivity, etc..
By the end of this class, you should be able to:
Understand the myriad of soft skills employers are looking for
Understand the qualities of a good work ethic
Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)
Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Listen to someones questions/comments before responding

Interpret body language
Use appropriate business writing skills (in reports and emails)
Recite your personal brand
Manage your personal energy
Make eye contact 60-70% of the time while talking to someone
Manage your time effectively
Accept criticism and offer constructive criticism without hurting someones
Use appropriate etiquette at a business dinner
Give a proper handshake
Choose a wine at a business dinner
Manage your online profiles
Deal with difficult bosses
Give honest and sincere appreciation
Arouse in the other person an eager want
Make the other person feel important
Persuade your viewpoint

Carnegie, Dale. (1937, but purchase any reprinted edition). How to Win Friends and
Influence People.



Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Six Ways to Make People Like You
How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

There is one mandatory off-campus meeting you must attend. It will consist of a lecture and
a formal luncheon. You are required to pay $20 for the luncheon; a corporate donation will
cover the rest. Location and additional details will be posted on Canvas later in the
semester. You will also need access to a webcam and microphone (for exam-taking purposes),
your SJSU ID, and a reliable Internet connection.

Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)

Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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As with any class, it is expected that you participate and attend regularly (i.e., log on at least
twice a week). Feel free to ask questions freely and often. All of the exams and assessments
are open for a period of one week. I assume you are taking an online course for flexibility
reasons; therefore, your assessments may be taken any time during the week they are posted
(from 12am Monday morning until 5pm Friday evening.) There is a discussion thread set up
on Canvas for course questions. You may ask AND answer others questions in that thread.
The submission due date for assignments is Friday by 5pm since I am off-duty and generally
considered unavailable on weekends. There is a two day grace period for those of you with
extenuating circumstances. The links for all assignments and exams will disappear on
Sundays at 11:59pm. Be forewarned, if you wait until the weekend and you end up having
issues or questions that need answering to complete your work, I will be unable to help you.
Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops,
academic renewal, etc. Information on add/drops are available at Information about late drop is
available at . Students should be
aware of the current deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes.
There are no in-person classroom sessions (except for the luncheon), nor are there any videos
of me teaching this course live. If you are not comfortable being accountable for your own
learning, you have poor reading/writing skills, you have a poor working knowledge of
computers, or you prefer human contact, do NOT take this course; there are other marketing
electives being taught in a traditional classroom.
The course is asynchronous, meaning there are no specific days/times you need to be
logged on. I will post all course material on Mondays and you have anytime (24hrs a day)
during the week to do your work; weekly coursework is due anytime before Friday
evenings. Since you have 1 week to do all coursework, late quizzes/posts/exams are not
accepted under any circumstances; hence, its in your best interest to do work earlier in
the week to insure against potential mishaps later in the week.
The disadvantage of this course is the lack of real-time classroom discussions and hands-on
teaching; this is offset by the incredible flexibility of the course design. This course benefits
night-owls, those with super tight schedules, and those who just want to learn while
lounging around in their fuzzy bunny slippers.
You only need 3 things for this class: 1) A reliable Internet connection to Canvas, 2) the
textbook (which we will use the second half of the semester), and 3) $20 in cash for the
business etiquette luncheon (+$20 if you choose to partake in the optional wine tasting

Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)

Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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The class will seem confusing at first, but after a couple of weeks, youll realize that it is
extremely structured and organized. Youll get right into the swing of things.


This is a very intensive course. You will be expected to read a 225 page book, watch/read all
posted videos/presentations/notes/other lecture material, take 15 online quizzes, complete
15 weekly assignments, respond to weekly discussion thread questions, meet for a formal
business luncheon, and take a comprehensive final exam.
Luncheon/dinner attendance requirement

30 points

Assignments (15@4pts)

60 points

Quizzes (15 @ 10pts ea.)

150 points


30 points

Final Exam

30 points

Total Points Possible

300 points

A: 94-100%
A-: 90-93.9%

B: 84-86.9%
B-: 80-83.9%

C: 74-76.9%
C-: 70-73.9%

D: 64-66.9%
D-: 60-63.9%

F: 0-59.9%


Each week's course material will be posted under the "Modules" tab. Each topic will have one
or more of the following components: Video lecture, audio clip, PowerPoint slides, notes
sheet, assigned textbook reading. You must read/watch/listen to all of the assigned material
during the week it is listed in the syllabus timeline. Dont forget to take the accompanying
quiz after studying the material. (Do not reproduce, alter, or repost any of the material I give
you.) The previous weeks module must be completed before moving on to the current weeks
Videos will take a while to download. You can view them using VLC Player
(, a free download. The videos serve as visual examples to
supplement the course material; it is advised that you read the assigned readings prior to
viewing the videos.
Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)
Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Also posted in the weekly modules are links to the weekly work that is due: Discussions,
assignments, and quizzes.
Each week, you will have a short writing assignment to reflect on the topics you learned that
week. It is worth 20% of your grade.
Each entry must be entered by Friday at 5pm on the week that it reflects. The assignment
will lock after the grace period ends on Sunday at 11:59pm and the link will disappear. Late
assignments are not accepted after the grace period so please dont ask. File uploads are
restricted to .doc and .docx file types.
Your responses must be thoughtful. While there is no minimum/maximum word count
required, it is expected you thoroughly explain your response. Each assignment is worth 4
points. Full points or fractions of points may be deducted for insufficient, incomplete,
and/or thoughtless, generic entries.
Note: The link to assignments disappears at 11:59pm on the Sunday of week the
assignment is due; this means you must have the assignment submitted via Canvas before
then: Leave several minutes for uploading time in case there is lag in uploading; do not
attempt to submit any assignment at the last minute. Do not submit class assignments via
For the weekly discussion threads, there is a question/activity that you must answer/do.
Responses are posted publicly and you may respond to others' answers publicly on that
thread. Links to the weekly discussion topic threads can be found in your weekly
assignment. There are generally 2-3 weekly discussion topics from which to choose; you are
only required to do one.
Do not use past examples to complete these activities; they must all be done during the
week they are due. It is highly recommended you read what is required of you on Monday so
you have time to plan and complete the activity during the week.
This part of the course is meant to create a dialogue in the class. Please make the posts
timely; do not wait until Friday evening to post and respond to everything. Posts which lack
thought or preparation (such as, I agree or I like that post) do not count toward your
weekly participation requirement.
There is also a FAQ thread designed for questions/answers about the class that you are
required to subscribe to. Feel free to both ask questions and respond to others questions. In
addition, there is a thread for Canvas questions and tips. Navigating this platform can be
confusing to some, so dont be afraid to share. I have also added a discussion thread called
"The Common Room". This is an off-topic discussion area for non-class related discussions.
Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)
Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Feel free to ramble on to your heart's content about anything and everything (e.g., school,
work, politics, movies, relationships, sports, etc.)
Please note that it is mandatory that you read all new posts in the discussion area; I dont
want you to miss out on important class dialogue.
You will have a total of 15 quizzes one nearly every class week relating to the material you
read, watched, or heard. The quizzes will only be available on Canvas (under the quizzes tab)
during the week the material is assigned (at 12:00AM). They will disappear at the end of that
week (at 11:59PM). This is to ensure that you keep up on the material and dont try to cram
at the last minute. Please take your quiz prior to Friday at 5pm so I can help you if there are
any issues.
Once you open the quiz, you MUST take it, and it is timed. Please study all course material
on the topic prior to taking the quizzes. Dont forget to click submit when you have
completed the quiz. These quizzes are worth approximately half your grade, so it is very
important that you read/watch all assigned course material. There will not be enough time to
look up all of the answers (since quizzes are open book/note) so make sure you know your
material before taking each quiz.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is an online class; therefore, you must have a reliable computer
with a reliable internet connection and an updated browser. If you have an unreliable
internet connection, take the quizzes/exams in the SJSU computer lab. I will not reset
quizzes/exams on Canvas so take proper precautions to ensure there are no mishaps.
Quizzes (& the final exam) will open in the Respondus LockDown Browser. You will not be
able to print, copy, go to another URL, open other browser windows, or access other
applications. (Reference links for Respondus inquiries can be found here: We will also be using Respondus Monitor, which
requires you turn on your webcam for all quizzes/exams. They will be recorded for purposes
of authentication and academic integrity. If you are not comfortable being monitored during
exams, please take a different section of this course as it is a requirement of this class.
There is an ungraded sample quiz posted under the Quizzes tab that I suggest you take to
familiarize yourself with the assessment process prior to Quiz #1.
This course requires the use of LockDown Browser, a webcam, and microphone for online
exams. The webcam can be built into your computer or it can be the type that plugs in with a
USB cable. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and
the webcam feature. The microphone will record ambient noise during your exam.

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Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Computers with the Respondus LockDown Browser and webcams installed are available on
campus at the Academic Technology Computer Center in Clark Hall Room #102.
Right now, Respondus only has a mobile solution for an iPad. Android-based tablets such as
Samsung, Google Chromebooks and Microsoft Surface with Windows RT are not supported.
However, Windows tablets running full versions of Windows 8.1 such as the "Microsoft
Surface Pro" tablet are supported. You will not be able to take quizzes/exams on a
smartphone (including the iPhone.) If you would like to take your assessments on an iPad,
download the LockDown Browser app from iTunes and Respondus Monitor will work from
your iPad camera.
Open the sample quiz via the Quizzes tab and download LockDown Browser when prompted.
Note: Don't download a copy of LockDown Browser from elsewhere on the Internet; those
versions won't work at our institution. After youve downloaded and installed it, look for it
on your computer to open it.
To take an online test, start LockDown Browser from your computer and navigate to the
exam. (You won't be able to access the exam with a standard web browser.) For additional
details on using LockDown Browser, review this Student Quick Start Guide (PDF).
Finally, when taking an online exam, follow these guidelines:
Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
Turn off all mobile devices, phones, etc.
Clear your desk of all external materials books (except for our textbook),
papers (except for class notes), other computers, tablets, smartphones, and
Have your SJSU photo ID ready so you can snap a webcam picture of it when
prompted. Only if your SJSU ID is unavailable, use another form of photo ID.
(Feel free to cover up any personal information on the non-SJSU ID.)
Remain at your desk or workstation for the duration of the test
Make sure your webcam and microphone are plugged in or enabled before
starting LockDown Browser
LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or
applications; do not exit the test until all questions are completed and
You will be recorded via your webcam and microphone during the test to ensure you're using only
permitted resources

The final is comprehensive. The exam will be available to take on Canvas only during the
exam week. You may only take the exam once. It is open note/book (obviously), timed, and
multiple choice/fill-in/short answer/true-false.

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Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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You are required to log in more than once weekly and participate fully. This means you must
not only do your weekly work, but you must also read each new post on the discussion board
within a few days of it being posted, and, if you know the answer or have an opinion, respond
to discussion board postings. (I can tell who waits until the last minute to download
everything and read the posts.) Participation points will be docked for lack of timely
participation in the course. Remember, I communicate with you via the discussion board and
other students may need your help through there, too. Be an active member of this online
Do NOT ask questions that have already been answered publicly online. Do not email me
questions about the course unless they are private (otherwise, that's what the discussion
board is for.) Read this syllabus more than once; all of your questions are likely answered
here. If you email me questions that have already been answered either online or within this
syllabus, that is indicative of your lack of participation and attention in this class.
Everybody starts off with 30 participation points. They are lost (-2pts per infraction) by: not
reading all of the discussion board posts, not responding to (or inadequately responding to)
the weekly required discussion question, not reading/watching all posted module content,
not logging into class at least twice a week (generally once in the beginning of the week to
read that weeks assignment activity and module content, and once to turn in the
assignment), not subscribing to the FAQ thread, not participating in a timely manner, and for
asking questions that have already been answered in the syllabus or on the discussion board
or announcements page. Participation points will be awarded at the end of the semester.
The one mandatory in-person class meeting is for our business dining etiquette luncheon.
This is a formal 4-course meal with a formal place setting. You are expected to dress in
interview attire for the occasion. The luncheon begins with an hors doeuvres networking
mixer, where you will practice politely entering and exiting conversations. Once we move
to the tables for the actual meal, you will have the option of participating in a wine
tasting lesson from a sommelier. (You must furnish a valid ID proving you are of legal
drinking age at the restaurant.) During the luncheon, I will walk around and critique your
etiquette (and business attire) based on the lessons you have learned in your coursework.
A few esteemed guests at the event (executive members of the Bay Area Retail Center who
are volunteering their time) will each take a moment to talk to you about their actual
corporate experiences with soft skills during the meal.
You are required to pay $20 (in cash) for the luncheon at the beginning of the event; the
rest of the cost (including gratuities) will be paid for by BARC sponsors. You also have the
option of purchasing a glass of wine yourself.
If extenuating circumstances prevent you from attending this mandatory event, there will
be a (not-so-fun) written assignment for you to complete instead. (If you work, request the
time off now!)
Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)
Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Learning online can be difficult. As such, I am available via email, discussion threads, and
live chat. To reach me via live chat, first send me an email letting me know youd like to set
up a live chat appointment. We can either meet on the Canvas Conference tab in class (which
is private), Canvas Chat (which is public), Skype (which is private and has voice/video) or
WebEx (which is private and has voice/video and the ability to share desktop).
You may not collaborate with anyone during any assessments or assignments. Everything
done in this course must be done individually. By taking this course, you agree to uphold
the honor code and to not cheat, copy, plagiarize, or help others cheat. Students who are
caught cheating will be reported to the Judicial Affairs Officer of the University, as prescribed
by Academic Senate Policy S04-12. In addition, cheaters will be given a failing grade for the
assignment, and possibly a failing grade for the course.

When the semester ends, please do NOT do the following:

Ask for extra credit because youre not happy with the grade you earned. If extra credit
is offered at some point during the semester (which is rare), it will be stated publicly to
the entire class via the Announcements tab and/or the FAQ discussion thread.

Ask me if you can make up assignments you didnt do on time; as stated earlier, I do
not accept late work.

Ask to earn extra points because your grade is borderline; you get the same amount of
points possible as everyone else.

Tell me you are graduating and need to pass this class to graduate so is there
anything you can do to earn a passing grade; if this class was so important to you
then you shouldve turned in all of the coursework.

Wait until class has ended and grades are submitted, then ask if you can do anything
to increase the grade you received. Really?!?

For those of you who are diligent students and would never dream of doing these things, Im
sorry you had to read this. I only post it in the syllabus because I get asked one or more of
these questions every single semester. Its really kind of ridiculous.
If anyone does any of the above, I will proceed to go back to what you thought was your final
grade and deduct 5 points from that total. Yes, its come to this.

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Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Students should know the Universitys Academic Integrity Policy that is available at
Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State
University and the Universitys integrity policy, require you to be honest in all your academic
course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student
Conduct and Ethical Development. The website for Student Conduct and Ethical
Development is available at
Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism
(presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another persons ideas without
giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this
class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise
specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted,
or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSUs Academic Policy F06-1 requires
approval of instructors.
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to
make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please let me know as
soon as possible. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities
requesting accommodations must register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to
establish a record of their disability.
Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the
1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2 nd floor of the Student Union. An additional computer lab is
located in the Boccardo Business Complex, Room 302. Computers are also available in the
Martin Luther King Library.
A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media
Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta
video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems,
wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.
The Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) is located in Room 600 in the Student
Services Center. It is designed to assist students in the development of their full academic
potential and to motivate them to become self-directed learners. The center provides support
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services, such as skills assessment, individual or group tutorials, subject advising, learning
assistance, summer academic preparation and basic skills development. The LARC website is
located at http:/
The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall. It is staffed by professional
instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven
SJSU colleges. Our writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are
well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers.
The Writing Center website is located at
The Peer Mentor Center is located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall in the Academic Success
Center. The Peer Mentor Center is staffed with Peer Mentors who excel in helping students
manage university life, tackling problems that range from academic challenges to
interpersonal struggles. On the road to graduation, Peer Mentors are navigators, offering
roadside assistance to peers who feel a bit lost or simply need help mapping out the
locations of campus resources. Peer Mentor services are free and available on a drop in
basis, no reservation required. The Peer Mentor Center website is located at

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Jan 22

Jan 26

Feb 2

Feb 9

Feb 16

Feb 23

Mar 2

Mar 9

Familiarize yourself with the syllabus. Seriously, read it twice. (Post any
questions on the discussion thread.)
Take this Inventory Survey prior to starting the class:
Topic: Work Ethic
Assignment 1, Discussion 1, Quiz 1
Topics: Communication Skills: Listening, Speaking, Body language
Assignment 2, Discussion 2, Quiz 2
Topics: Communication Skills: Writing, Presenting, Elevator pitch
Assignment 3, Discussion 3, Quiz 3
Topics: Personal Effectiveness: Likability, Smile, Personal brand,
Appearance, Authenticity
Assignment 4, Discussion 4, Quiz 4
Topics: Personal Effectiveness: Sense of humor, Personal energy, Eye
contact, Posture
Assignment 5, Discussion 5, Quiz 5
Topics: Dependability, Conscientiousness, Responsibility, Integrity,
Assignment 6, Discussion 6, Quiz 6
Topics: Stress management, Time management, Procrastination
Assignment 7, Discussion 7, Quiz 7
Section 80
Topics: Respect, Criticism: Accepting it, Learning from it, Giving it
Assignment 8, Discussion 8, Quiz 8
Section 81
Topics: Dining: Dining etiquette, Wine selection; Handshake
Assignment 9, Discussion 9, Quiz 9 Note these come before 8
Mandatory class meet-up for business etiquette luncheon: March 13th at
11am-2pm. Location: California Kitchen in Los Gatos Assignment 9,

Mar 16


Mar 23

Section 80
Topics: Dining: Dining etiquette, Wine selection; Handshake
Assignment 9, Discussion 9, Quiz 9
Mandatory class meet-up for business etiquette luncheon: March 20th at
11am-2pm. Location: California Kitchen in Los Gatos
Section 81
Topics: Respect, Criticism: Accepting it, Learning from it, Giving it
Assignment 8, Discussion 8, Quiz 8 Note these come after 9
Spring Break No Class This Week

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Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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Topics: Business Etiquette: Email, cell phone. Job search Info: Facebook
profile, salary negotiation, Gen Y on the job market; Dealing with difficult
Mar 30
Assignment 10, Discussion 10, Quiz 10
Tuesday, Mar 31st is Cesar Chavez Day, so keep in mind campus is closed.
Reading requirement: Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Apr 6
Assignment 11, Discussion 11, Quiz 11
Reading requirement: Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You
Apr 13
Assignment 12, Discussion 12, Quiz 12
Reading requirement: Part 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
Apr 20
Assignment 13, Discussion 13, Quiz 13
Reading requirement: Part 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without
Apr 27
Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Assignment 14, Discussion 14, Quiz 14
Topics: Teamwork, Cultural sensitivity, Networking
Assignment 15, Discussion 15, Quiz 15
May 4
Take this Inventory Survey after youve finished the class (prior to the final
Final Exam Week (Final is open starting May 12th and will close on
17 May 11
the 17th)
Note: This syllabus is tentative subject to change. Check Canvas regularly for

Soft Skills - BUS 137A (Online)

Course # 24279 (Section 80), 24280 (Section 81)
Spring 2015

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