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FOR BUSINESS MAJORS, Chapman University School of Communication

COM 219-03, Fall 2017, MWF 11:00-11:50am

Instructor: Amanda K. Olsen, GTA Instructor

Office location: DOTI Rm 101A
Office hours: W: 1:30pm-2:30pm, TH: 11:00am-1:00pm, or by appointment
Faculty contact/GTA Director: Dr. Jennifer Waldeck,

Catalog Description: Prerequisite, accounting, or business administration major. This

course will build students' business and professional communication competence in ways
that reflect (1) job market, cultural, technological, and social demands; and (2) the findings
of empirical research in communication and related disciplines. Offered for Argyros School
of Business and Economics majors only. (Offered every semester.) 3 credits.


As a result of this course, you will be able to:

1. Understand the role of written and oral communication in the workplace.

2. Apply interpersonal and public communication skills effectively and appropriately
in professional environments, including electronic interactions.
3. Write professional business letters, resumes, and memos.
4. Prepare a sound listening plan to increase your effectiveness at work.
5. Develop interview strategies as both an interviewer and interviewee.
6. Select and competently use media that are appropriate to a given task, and apply
media to make effective and persuasive professional presentations.
7. Participate on a team competently.


This course supports your Argyros School of Business & Economics Program Learning
Outcome for Communication: Each student will be able to communicate clearly, concisely
and professionally.

Book (required): Waldeck, J., Kearney P., & Plax, T. G. (2017). Strategic communication at work:
Contemporary perspectives on business and professional communication (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA:
Kendall Hunt.
This material is available as an interactive e-book only. Access cards are available through the
bookstore or by direct purchase at
You will need your access right away, before the end of the first week of class, in order to
complete required work.
Each student must purchase access to the e-book. A significant portion of your grade is
derived from online quizzes and assignments that require your own (not a shared) account.

Readings & online activities. You are responsible for all the readings and completion of
interactive online activities assigned on the attached course schedule. They must be completed
before coming to class on the date assigned. They are essential to your successful completion of
this course. Please pay careful attention to the course schedule. Due to the unique nature of this
particular section, designed for ASBE students, certain sections of the text are emphasized, and the
chapters are not covered in chronological order.

Attendance is required. Lectures, discussions, and in-class activities will enhance your ability
to succeed in this class. Your presence is necessary to gain full value from these activities. From
time to time, extra credit may be offered for in-class activities, and only those students present will
be eligible. Do not be late to class and do not leave at the break unless you have a valid reason
which you’ve discussed with the instructor. Coming to class late or leaving early may be counted as
an unexcused absence. After three unexcused absences, your final grade will be reduced for
each absence by one letter grade. The three “free” absences do not apply to test, presentation, or
due dates.

Absences and Due Dates: Excused absences require a physician’s verified medical excuse (or
other independent verification of emergency) subject to the instructor’s approval. If you miss
graded assignments because you are absent and the absence falls under the conditions for an
excused absence, make-up alternatives will be made available to you. You will receive a zero for
missed assignments and exams if the absence is not excused by the instructor.

Work is due and exams are given on the dates specified in this syllabus. Absences (even those with
valid reasons) on group presentation/assignment dates are particularly problematic. They impact
the entire group negatively, and make-ups for a single person that assess the same learning goals
are nearly impossible to create. Therefore, you must be present on the day your group is scheduled
to present.

Any authorized make-up presentations will be delivered on the date of the final exam prior
to administration of the test.

The final exam will not be given early under any circumstances: Plane tickets, family weddings,
graduations at other schools, etc. are not reasons to request an alternative final exam time. So
please don’t ask. If your parents purchase flights to go home in December for you, inform them of
your finals schedule now, to avoid any problems.

Check the course schedule carefully for presentation, exam, and assignment due dates.

Professionalism: Please be respectful of your peers and instructor at all times and recognize that
both rhetorical and relational sensitivity are important in a course environment (as well as at
 Use your best communication skills; be professional, positive, and supportive of others.
 Consider your classmates as business associates, and consider your teacher as your boss or
 Never enter or leave the room during another student’s presentation.
 Use technology appropriately for note-taking and course-related reasons only during
class. Facebook, Instagram, etc. are not course-related and use of devices to access these
sites during class is rude and distracting to your instructor, and, research indicates, to your
classmates. Therefore, accessing sites or apps unrelated to the course is not allowed.
 Do not use any communication devices (including laptops) during student presentations;
they should be silent and put away.
 Because writing is so important to a successful career, grammar, spelling, typos, and
punctuation will be considered in grading all of your submissions. In other words, avoid
becoming a lax communicator; view all forums as if they were available for anyone to read
at your workplace.

Equity and Diversity: Chapman University is committed to ensuring equality and valuing
diversity. Students and professors are reminded to show respect at all times as outlined in
Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Any violations of this policy should be discussed
with the professor, the Dean of Students and/or otherwise reported in accordance with this policy.

Accommodations: If you have a permanent or temporary disability that may impair your ability to
participate in this class and for which accommodations are available, you are responsible for
notifying me and making all arrangements with the Tutoring, Learning, and Testing Center.

Academic Integrity: Chapman University is a community of scholars that emphasizes the mutual
responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Written or oral work is
assumed to be original unless your source material is appropriately documented. Academic
dishonesty of any kind will be subject to a range of sanctions by the instructor including a failing
grade on the assignment and/or course, and referral to the university’s Academic Integrity
Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including dismissal. Using the ideas
or words of another person, even a peer, or a Web site, as if it were your own, is plagiarism. See
the Student Conduct Code, Appendix 6, for the full policy. When delivering an oral presentation, the
use of oral citations is critical when relying on the words, research, or opinions of others. Quizzes
and other assignments completed online must be done independently unless otherwise directed
by your instructor.

Grading Options: The pass/fail grading option is not available for this course. If you have already
registered for the pass/fail grading option, you will need to change that option to a letter grade or
drop the course.


Online Chapter Quizzes (10 pts each): Twelve quizzes will be required on the content of each
chapter to test your recall and understanding of material you have read. You must take all twelve
during the timeframe designated on the attached course schedule and discussed in class. Your
lowest two grades will be dropped for your final grade calculation. 120 points possible before two
quizzes are dropped; 100 points possible after two quizzes are dropped. Quizzes are due on
Fridays at 5 pm (although there are some weeks without quizzes; see the course schedule). The
next quiz opens at 5:30 PM after the previous one closes. Therefore, you have at least one week to
take each quiz. There are no extensions or retakes available for quizzes.

Short Informative Briefing: Teaching Something New and Unfamiliar (25 pts): Are you
prepared for the language of the business and professional environment? Do you have a high “BVQ”
(Business Vocabulary Quotient)? For example, do you know the following?: What exactly is a
corporation? What’s the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit organization? What’s
ROI? A P&L? A benchmark? Equity? Economies of scale? Best practice? If your boss asks you to
create a brand extension strategy for a new market segment, what exactly is he or she looking for?
Relying on the power of the “story” (see Chapters 8 & 9 and On the Job features 7 & 8), prepare and
present a two-minute briefing designed to inform your co-workers about a specific business term
or 2-3 related terms that you select. The rubric for evaluating this presentation will be provided
and discussed in class. Bring a printed copy of the rubric on your briefing day. NOTE: Everyone is
required to attend class on all presentation days—not just your own.

Long Informative (Group) Briefing: Organizational Culture (100 pts): On the Job Feature #1
introduces you to socialization to workplace culture, Chapter 2 discusses the features of
organizational culture, and Chapter 5 discusses the importance of obtaining important information
about an organization’s culture during your job search and interviewing process. For this
presentation, working with a group, you will research, prepare, and deliver a 10-15 minute
informative presentation about 3-5 key aspects of a particular organization’s culture. This should
be an organization that might realistically employ members of the team after graduation (or where
you might intern while still in school). Your presentation should be supported by sensory aids that
are prepared following the guidelines in Chapter 11. Further guidelines for preparing this
presentation and the evaluation rubric will be provided and discussed in class. Bring a printed
copy of the rubric on your group’s briefing day.

LinkedIn Profile (50 pts): Using the guidelines and strategies suggested in On the Job feature 11, create
a LinkedIn profile or revise and refine your existing LinkedIn profile. The final profile should shoot for
the criteria for LinkedIn “expert” status as well as the other parameters provided in class, and follow the
guidelines for professional writing discussed in Chapter 14.

Business Writing Assignment: Requesting a Letter of Recommendation (25 pts): Using the
guidelines defined in Chapter 14, compose a formal digital business letter to a professor requesting that
that individual write you a letter of recommendation for a job or graduate school admission. Further
guidelines for preparing this letter and the evaluation rubric will be provided and discussed in class.

Final Exam (100 pts): There will be one exam. It will cover information from readings, interactive
online content and “On the Job” features, discussions, and any guest speakers. Exams will consist of
multiple choice, true/false, and short answer-type items.

Grades are calculated by dividing the number of points you earn by the total points available
(400). The grading scale is as follows:

A 93-100% C 73-76% D- 60-62%

A- 90-92% C+ 77-79% F 59% and below
B+ 87-89% C- 70-72%
B 83-86% D+ 67-69%
B- 80-82% D 63-66%

In accordance with University administrators’ concern about course rigor and that
students be academically challenged, the full spectrum of this grading scale will be utilized.
All work will be evaluated according to the highest standards appropriate for a 200-level
course. Simply completing an assignment, trying hard, putting a lot of time into an
assignment or project, or a high grade in other communication courses prior to this one is
NOT a basis for earning an A in this course or on any particular project.


NOTE: “Readings” column refers to the Chapter listed plus all On the Job features linked
within that chapter. Some On the Job features appear more than once throughout the book;
you do not need to complete them more than once, but you may want to review their
content. You will be quizzed and tested on that feature’s contents along with the first
chapter in which it appears.


1 (8/28) Approaching Contemporary Workplace Ch. 1
Communication Strategically: What Skills Do You Need,
and What Obstacles Will You Face?
Chapter 1 quiz due Friday 9/1 @ 5 PM

2 (9/4) M: No Classes, Labor Day

Using Verbal and Nonverbal Communication: How Ch. 3
Can You Make Every Word and Gesture Influential at Work?
Chapter 3 quiz due Friday 9/8 @ 5 PM

3 (9/11) Listening and Critical Thinking Skills for Ch. 4

Strategic Workplace Communication:
How Can You Become a Better Listener and Thinker
at Work?
Chapter 4 quiz due Friday 9/15 @ 5 PM

4 (9/18) Making Teams Work: How Can You Build Strong Teams? Ch. 13
Planning and Facilitating Meetings that Matter: Ch. 12
How Can You Make Meeting Time Count?
Chapter 13 and Chapter 12 quizzes due Friday 9/22 @ 5

5 (9/25) Planning Workplace Presentations: How Can You Plan to Tell Ch. 8
an Effective Story?
Explain both short and long informative briefing assignments
Chapter 8 quiz due Friday 9/29 @ 5 PM

6 (10/2) Giving Informative Presentations at Work: How Can You Help Ch. 9
Others Grasp Important Information at Work?
Chapter 9 quiz due Friday 10/6 @ 5 PM

7 (10/9) Using Sensory Aids to Engage Audiences Ch. 11

Chapter 11 quiz due Friday 10/13 @ 5 PM

8 (10/16) Short informative briefings delivered

9 (10/23) Giving Persuasive Presentations at Work: Ch. 10
How Can You Influence Others With Your Ideas?
Chapter 10 quiz due Friday 10/27 @ 5PM

10 (10/30) Using Communication Media and Technology at Work: Ch. 7

How Can You Use New Media Strategically?
Chapter 7 quiz due Friday 11/3 @ 5 PM
Explain LinkedIn assignment

11 (11/6) Writing Well at Work: How Can You Present Yourself Ch. 14
Competently in Writing?
Chapter 14 quiz due Friday 11/10 @ 5 PM
Explain business letter assignment

12 (11/13) Long Informative Briefings delivered

13 (11/20) Thanksgiving Break: No Classes

14 (11/27) Interviewing Strategically: How Do You Get the Job, Ch. 5

Negotiate Compensation, and Deal with Rejection?
Chapter 5 quiz due Friday 12/1 @ 5 PM
Friday: Business Letter due

15 (12/4) Putting Your Communication Skills to Work: Ch. 15

What Can and Should You be Doing Now to Prepare
for Your Professional Career?
Chapter 15 quiz due Friday 12/8 @ 5 PM
Friday: LinkedIn profile due

Final Exam: 12/11/2017 @ 10:45am-1:15pm

Make-up presentations