Mini Syllabus

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Course ID: GBS233
Title: Business Communication
Modality: Internet
Credit Hours: 3.00

Course Section Information

Institution: Rio Salado College

Section: 10857

Term: Fall 2014

Start Date: 10/20/2014

Weeks: 14

Last date to withdraw: None

Instructor: Janet Tolar

Course Materials

Be sure that you have all the necessary materials prior to the start date of your course.

Textbook required for Course:

Title:  Excellence in Business Communication
Author: John V. Thill and Courtland L. Bovée
ISBN: 9780558034986

Rio Salado College has developed a unique Textbook Savings Program that uses customized textbooks and saves students up to 50% off the original price of textbooks. This textbook is included in the Textbook Savings Program and has been customized specifically for this course at Rio Salado College by Pearson Custom Publishing so that it contains information most relevant to the course. Your course materials are available through the Rio Salado College Bookstore.  All materials should be verified by ISBN before purchasing at the Rio Salado Bookstore or from another seller.

You may also find the following materials helpful in this course (although they are not required):

  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  • Roget’s International Thesaurus

Both of these books are typically available at a local library.

Course Description and Competencies

Official Course Description
Internal and external business communications, including verbal and nonverbal techniques.
Official Course Prerequisites
ENG101 or ENG107 with grade of "C" or better, or permission of Department or Division.
Official Course Competencies
  1. Identify general characteristics of language and meaning.
  2. Identify ways of processing messages and evaluating their success.
  3. Write coherent sentences and paragraphs, using fundamental writing techniques.
  4. Describe the process of sending and receiving professional quality electronic mail.
  5. Identify and write business letters for favorable, unfavorable, and persuasive situations.
  6. Identify and write business memos for favorable, unfavorable, and persuasive situations.
  7. Identify and state the purpose of the major parts of the inductive organization for reports.
  8. Compose a report.
  9. Plan and participate in an efficient and effective business meeting.
  10. Describe common uses of visual aids to convert quantitative and qualitative data into meaningful summaries.
  11. Prepare a visual aid for a business situation.
  12. Prepare and present an oral business presentation using visual aids.
  13. Describe how to modify communication behavior in selected cases to overcome barriers arising from interpersonal, and organizational sources.
  14. Prepare a resume of employment credentials, and write an application letter to accompany the resume.
  15. Describe how the technology revolution - national and international - affects the employee and the company.

Course Requirements

Failure to successfully submit the first two assignments by the due dates listed may result in the student being withdrawn from the course for lack of active participation.

  1. You must complete all course assessments listed in your online gradebook to be eligible for a passing grade.  Check the link on the Course Homepage for due dates. 
  2. You are allowed to submit your assignments, including quizzes, only one time unless you have permission from your instructor to resubmit an assignment.
  3. You are expected to write at a college level.  Use the grading matrix (if applicable) to see how your assignments will be evaluated.  Edit your work carefully before submitting it to your instructor.
  4. Keep a copy of all assignments that you submit.
  5. Contact your instructor if you have any questions while you are enrolled in the course.
  6. Assignments must be submitted by the specified due date. If you find that you need an extension on an assignment, contact your instructor before the scheduled due date.  Individual instructors will determine whether or not to grant the extension.  If you do not apply for an extension, or an extension is not granted, your instructor will decide whether or not to accept the work and if points will be deducted.
  7. Each student must submit his or her own original work, as outlined in the plagiarism section in the syllabus.  Plagiarism can include, but is not limited to:
    • submitting work that is not your own
    • submitting work that is copied directly from another source such as another student, a Web site, or a print source without proper citation
    • submitting work that is paraphrased or summarized from another source without proper citation.
  8. Assignments must include information summarized in your own words and personal examples in addition to quoted information from properly cited sources.
  9. You must earn an average of 60% or higher on the exam(s) and/or Midterm/Final Project(s) in order to be eligible to pass the course.

Time Requirements

Remember that this is a three credit-hour class. As such, you will need to dedicate significant time to this course. Plan to spend at least three hours on course content and at least six hours on homework for a total of at least nine hours each week. Be prepared to double your weekly class and study time if you choose an accelerated calendar.

Grading Procedure and Scale

Assignments will be graded based on content, incorporation of course and text concepts, and quality of writing. Even though this is not a writing course, college level writing is expected of all students. Essays should be formatted properly; spell checked; and reviewed for grammar, word usage, and sentence construction before being submitted. Proper formatting of essay assignments includes:

  • an introductory paragraph where your main ideas are presented,
  • body paragraph(s) where your ideas are described in detail and supported with references to the text (references are required), and
  • a concluding paragraph which ties everything together.

Students are expected to include citations or references to the text or other sources to support their ideas. Proper citation format for a reference includes the name of the authors, the date of publication, and the page number (Levy & Weitz, 2007, pg. 25).

Your instructor will evaluate your assignments using the grading matrix found below. Be sure you review this matrix as you prepare your assignments.

Grading Procedure

There are 920 possible points for this course.

Short Answer Assignments: 4 at 30 points each = 120 Points

Essay Assignments: 4 at 100 points each

= 400 Points

Midterm Exam: 200 points

= 200 Points
Final Exam: 200 points = 200 Points
Total = 920 Points

Grading Scale

Letter grades for assignments, examinations, and the course will be determined by the following scale:

828 - 920 points = A (90% - 100%)
736 - 827 points = B (80% - 89%)
644 - 735 points = C (70% - 79%)
552 - 643 points = D (60% - 69%)
0 - 551 points = F (0% - 59%)

Grading Matrix for Essay Assignments


Below Standards

Minimal Standards

Meets Standard

Exceed Standards


No understanding to incorrect understanding

Correct understanding with insufficient supporting rationale

Correct understanding with sufficient supporting rationale

Correct understanding with excellent supporting rationale

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking not evident – no supporting rationale

Weak critical thinking – flawed supporting rationale

Solid critical thinking – logical supporting rationale

Excellent critical thinking – excellent supporting rationale

Key Concepts and Terms

Key course concepts and terms not used, or used incorrectly

Key course concepts and terms used incorrectly, or seldom used correctly

Key course concepts and terms used sufficiently throughout answers

Key course concepts and terms used correctly and exceptionally well throughout answers


Ineffective introduction, body, or conclusion; gross grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation errors

Appropriate introduction, body, and conclusion; frequent grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation errors

Appropriate introduction, body, and conclusion; few grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation errors

Excellent introduction, body, and conclusion; no grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation errors

Note: The grading procedure for this course is based on the total number of points possible.

The grading scale is administered equally to all students in the course. Do not expect to receive a grade higher than that earned by your total points. There will be no “point adjustments” made for such things as “class participation” or other subjective factors.

There is no “Extra Credit” available for this course.

Helpful Hints

  1. Homework Resubmission: Do not resubmit your homework unless you have permission from your instructor. In general, assignments are submitted only one time. Read through and edit your work carefully before you submit it.
  2. Homework Feedback: Your instructor will make notes on the assignments you submit indicating areas that could be improved or corrected. Read the feedback carefully and use that information as you prepare your next assignments.
  3. Rough Drafts: Some assignments require you to submit a rough draft for feedback before submitting a final draft for grading. Be sure you are aware of those assignments where a rough draft is required.
  4. Study Hints: You should take notes while studying your text and the lessons. Use these notes, particularly the lesson objectives and course competencies, to prepare for your exams.
    1. Some students find it helpful to outline the chapters as they read.
    2. Some students find it helpful to create flash cards to review important concepts. One way to do this is to use the right side of a piece of paper to write definitions and the left side to write key words or phrases. See if you can identify the key term or concept from the description.
  5. Midterm Project Preparation: Your midterm project covers Lessons 1-6 (Chapters 1-8 in your text).
    1. a. In order to do well on this project, you must complete all assignments in Lessons 1-6, review the text material as well as the lessons, and be able to apply the concepts you have learned. Using the end of chapter exercises as additional practice and study will also add to your understanding of the concepts.
    2. b. The midterm consists of two case studies, each requiring the completion of an essay.
  6. Final Project Preparation: Your Final Exam covers material from all lessons and chapters, but especially from Lessons 7-11 (Chapters 9-16). The final consists of a research paper.
  7. Point Calculations: Your work will be graded according to the Grading Procedure and Scale listed in this syllabus. By keeping track of your points on each assignment, you can calculate your grade throughout the course.

You will find that having a good, college-level dictionary and a quality thesaurus available to you either online or in hard copy will be invaluable as you complete your assignments. The Rio Salado library Online Writing Lab (OWL) found at is also an excellent source of help for you as you write.

Final Grade Options

  • Letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) - awarded if the student completes all work, including any exams.
  • Extension (in lieu of Incomplete grade) - Students may request an extension because of illness or other extenuating circumstances, if they have been doing acceptable work. The instructor will define the requirements and timelines to complete the course. Please Note: Instructors are not obligated to give extensions.
  • Withdrawal-Students may submit a withdrawal request on or prior to the “Last Date to Withdraw” indicated in their RioLearn Gradebook.  

    Students should not contact their instructor to request a withdrawal. A student wishing to withdraw from a class within the stated timeline must do so by visiting In extreme circumstances, students do have the option of requesting a complete withdrawal from the college by providing Student Enrollment Services with appropriate documentation.

  • Credit/No Credit Option (P/Z) - This course may be taken on a credit/no credit basis. If interested, See detailed information about the (P/Z) option.

Writing Assessment

Rio Salado College is committed to the success of its students.  The college has identified some core competencies that will be the focus of student learning within some classes.  In this class, the writing competency is the focus of attention.  What does this mean to you as a student in this class?  In Lesson 7, the assignment will be evaluated not only on the content related to the course, but also on the writing skills demonstrated.  The evaluation of your writing skills will not  affect your grade on the assignment, but is meant to give you direction and guidance so that writing skills at a college level can be attained and improved.  The scoring will be done using the matrix below.  If you have any questions concerning the writing competency, please contact your instructor for further information.  The assignment is identified in the Introduction of the lesson.

Note:  Even though you will not receive a grade for the writing assessment, it is a required assignment in this course.  Note also that submitting all assignments is one of the requirements for passing the course.

Writing Assignment
Scoring Matrix

On a written assignment, the student will be able to organize his or her thoughts coherently.

Writing Competency: Four-Point Rubric

4 =       High level excellence in evidence of writing ability and performance at the college level
3 =       Demonstrable, competent, expected evidence of writing ability and performance at the college level
2 =       Minimally acceptable, inconsistent evidence of writing ability and performance at the college level
1 =       Poor, unacceptable evidence of writing ability and performance at the college level



4 = Maintains clear and obvious organization. Demonstrates effective paragraphing using appropriate transitions with emphasis upon conveying the relationship between ideas.
3 = Uses a suitable organizational plan; contains adequate paragraphing with some transitions that attempt to convey relationships between ideas.
2 = Unclear order of essay; inadequate paragraphing with few or no transitions; unclear or jumbled paragraphs or unclear or jumbled sentences. Paragraphs not balanced in amount of development and support. (intervention needed in 2 or 3 of these areas)
1 = Unclear order of essay; inadequate paragraphing with few or no transitions; unclear or jumbled paragraphs or unclear or jumbled sentences. Paragraphs not balanced in amount of development and support. (intervention needed in all of these areas)

Copyright Acknowledgements

Some images used in courses are licensed as follows: Accunet/AP Multimedia Archive,, Thinkstock, EBSCO Image Collection.

Submitting Assignments

Note: Your lessons will provide course specific instructions for submitting your assignments. Please carefully read all assignment instructions before you submit your work to your instructor.

All assignments are listed under the “Readings, Resources, and Assignments” and in the “Assessing Your Learning” sections of the lesson. All lessons can be accessed from the Course Section Home Page.

Quizzes: You are expected to complete the quiz once you access the link in the lesson. Please make sure you have answered all questions prior to clicking the Submit button.  Once submitted, you will not be able to access the assessment again.

Essay Assignments:  Unless instructed otherwise, it is recommended that you compose your essays in a word processing program, then copy and paste into submission box. Be sure to carefully proofread all written work before submitting. Also, make sure to properly cite and reference all sources. Failure to do so, will result in loss of points, lowered grade or course failure.

Midterm or Final Exams/Projects:  You can only complete or submit Midterms and Finals once, therefore, please be sure to carefully review before completing or submitting your work.  For objective exams, make sure you have answered all questions prior to clicking the Submit button. Note: Please keep a copy of everything you submit.

Late or Missing Assignments

Assignment due dates are listed in the Gradebook. If you need additional time, you must submit an due date change request through the Due Dates tab in the Gradebook.

Students must complete all assignments and assessments to qualify for a passing grade.  If any assignments have not been completed by the course end date, a failing grade will be issued.

Course Completion Policy

A student who registers for a Distance Learning course is assigned a "start date" and an "end date. "It is the student's responsibility to note due dates for assignments and keep up with the course work.

If a student falls behind, she/he must contact the instructor and request an extension of her/his end date in order to complete the course.

Course end date extensions are only allowed in situations where the student has made consistent progress throughout the course and has only 1-2 assignments remaining at the course end date.  Instructors are not obligated to approve end-date extension requests.

Originality of Written Assignments

Students are expected to submit work that is primarily original in nature. Failure to do so is a violation of the Maricopa County Community College District Academic Misconduct Policy. What does this mean?

  • Quoted Passages - If you quote work from a source, a maximum of 10-20% of the essay may be quoted. Quoted material should support your original work, not replace it. All quoted work must be surrounded by quotation marks, should end with an in-text citation that includes the page number(s), and correspond to a reference listed at the end of the essay.

  • Paraphrased Passages - You can use paraphrased information for a portion of your essay provided you include a proper reference and the material supports your original work. The entire essay may not be paraphrased, even if properly cited, from the work of others. This would not constitute original work.

  • Plagiarism Detection - All essays submitted at Rio Salado College are compared with previously submitted work to ensure students are submitting original work. You may not submit work that another student has previously submitted in a course as this violates the Academic Misconduct Policy.

  • Assignment Sharing Web Sites - Using content from Web sites where students share their assignments is considered plagiarism as it violates the Academic Misconduct Policy and will result in academic discipline.
  • Tutoring - If you need assistance writing college-level essays, Rio Salado College provides free online and in-person tutoring. Please see the Tutoring Web Site for hours and locations.

Library Services

The Rio Salado Library is committed to student success and provides a variety of materials and services to enhance student learning.  Utilizing Rio’s online library for your research is the best way to ensure that your sources are validated, authoritative, and appropriate for college-level coursework. Librarians are available to help you at all times via our Ask a Librarian live chat service. Also, the How Do I..? Streaming Video Series provides instruction on how to use the online library to find books, articles, ebooks, streaming films, and more.

Please note that when library materials (e.g., articles, ebooks, and streaming media) are integrated into your lesson content, you will see the notation “…provided to you through the Rio Salado Library.

Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct includes cheating, conspiring to cheat, soliciting to cheat, attempting to cheat, plagiarism, fabrication on an assignment, or other forms of dishonest presentation.

Posting assessments on an unauthorized web site, soliciting assessment answers and the unauthorized acquisition of assessments, assessment answers, or other academic material is cheating.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use of paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment.  It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling or sharing of term papers or other academic materials.  Information gathered from the Internet and not properly identified is also considered plagiarism.

We expect every student to produce his/her original, independent work. Any student whose work indicates a violation of the MCCCD Academic Misconduct Policy (including cheating and plagiarism) can expect sanctions as specified in the college catalog.

Rio Salado College uses software that uncovers plagiarism from student to student and other data sources on the Internet. If a student is found to have plagiarized content, grade consequences will be applied in accordance with departmental policies.

Civility Policy

The faculty of Rio Salado place a high value on the importance of general ethical standards of academic behavior and expect that communication between students and instructors or among students shall maintain the level of formality and mutual respect appropriate to any college teaching/learning situation.

Language or behavior that is rude, abusive, profane, disruptive, or threatening will not be tolerated. Activity of this type is Academic Misconduct as defined in MCCCD Policy AR 2.3.11. Students engaging in such behavior will be removed from the course with a failing grade. Additional sanctions may be applied pursuant to AR 2.3.11.

Requirement for Active Class Participation

Please note that students may be withdrawn from class for non-participation.

If you receive financial aid of any kind, it is your responsibility to protect your eligibility to receive financial aid by meeting the active participation requirements of this class.

Honors Program

If you are taking this course for Honors credit, you must complete all assessments, including the Honors Project(s). The Honors Project(s) are listed in one or more lessons of the course and are designated for “Honors Students.” Failure to complete the Honors Project(s) will result in a failing grade in the course and a loss of Honors credit.

Change of Address

Please notify Course Support at (480) 517-8243 or 1-800-729-1197 or by email at Please include your name, student number, phone number, and new address including city, state, and zip code.

Academic Adjustment Needs & Disability Resources and Services

In accordance with Rio Salado College and Maricopa Community College District policies, all students should have equal access to course materials and technology. Please contact the Disability Resources and Services Office prior to the start date of your course at 480-517-8562 if you have any of the following needs:

  • you are a student requiring an academic adjustment due to a documented disability (as protected by The Americans with Disability Act Amendment Act)

  • you are experiencing difficulty accessing course materials because of a disability

  • you are pregnant or parenting and would like to discuss possible academic adjustments (as protected under Title IX)


1 Maricopa Community College District Administrative Regulation 2.8.1:

2 Rio Salado College Disability Resources and Services website:


Course content may vary from this outline to meet the needs of this particular group.

Student Solution Center

Rio Salado College is dedicated to a quality learning experience and has provided the Student Solution Center webpage as a resource for students to raise issues to our attention. We look forward to the opportunity to provide an equitable solution for all involved parties. For grading or instructional issues, students should first contact their faculty member(s) in accordance with the Instructional Grievance Process. For non-instructional complaints, students may contact the Judicial Affairs team by telephone at 480-517-8749 or 480-517-8152, or email at Students may also contact their state regulatory agency; the Arizona SARA Council; and/or the Higher Learning Commission to escalate their concerns.

Rio Salado College Copyright

Course Content © Copyright 2016 Rio Salado College. All Rights Reserved.

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Please see the following page for contact information.