Mini Syllabus

Print Mini Syllabus
Course ID: GBS233
Title: Business Communication
Modality: Print-Based
Credit Hours: 3.00

Course Section Information

Institution: Rio Salado College

Section: 10842

Term: Fall 2014

Course Materials

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

Required Textbook:

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 (480-517-8710 or 1-800-584-8775 or 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

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

Additional Materials: None

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

  1. You must complete all course assessments listed in the lessons to be eligible for a passing grade.  Check the due dates in your course package. 
  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 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

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 Project:

= 200 Points
Final Project: = 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 = F (0% - 59%)
Please 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.

Grading Matrix for Essay Assignments

Criterion 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


There are no in-person exams in this course.

Final Grade Options

  • Letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) - Awarded if the student completes all work, including the final 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 “Deadline for Student to Withdraw with Guaranteed Grade of W” indicated in the college catalog.

    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 or by calling Student Enrollment Services at 480.517.8540 (1.800.729.1197 toll-free). 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.

To receive Credit "P" grade, students must complete all course work, including exams, and attend all required meetings. A "P" grade is judged to be equivalent to a grade of "C" or higher. A No-Credit "Z" grade will be awarded for course work judged to be below the grade of "C."

It is the student's responsibility to request advisement at (480) 517-8580 concerning the transferability of a grade of "P" or "Z."

You have a set number of days from your start date to request to change your grade option. See the table below to determine deadline based upon the length of your course.

For example in a fourteen-week course, you will have until the 11th calendar day to request to change you grade option.

Class Length

Deadline to Request

Two Weeks

1st Day of Class

Three Weeks

2nd Calendar Day

Four Weeks

3rd Calendar Day

Five Weeks

4th Calendar Day

Six Weeks

5th Calendar Day

Seven Weeks

5th Calendar Day

Eight Weeks

6th Calendar Day

Nine Weeks

7th Calendar Day

Ten Weeks

8th Calendar Day

Eleven Weeks

9th Calendar Day

Twelve Weeks

10th Calendar Day

Thirteen Weeks

10th Calendar Day

Fourteen Weeks

11th Calendar Day

Fifteen Weeks

12th Calendar Day

Sixteen Weeks

Within 14 days including the first class period

You may request to change your grade option yourself by calling Course Support at
(480) 517-8243 by the deadline as outlined above.

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.
  1. Midterm Project Preparation: Your midterm project covers Lessons 1-6 (Chapters 1-8 in your text). 
  1. 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. The midterm consists of two case studies, each requiring the completion of an essay.
  1. Final Project Preparation: Your Final Project covers material from all lessons and chapters, but especially from Lessons 7-11 (Chapters 9-16). The final consists of a research paper. A detailed description of the Final Project is found in the Appendix.
  2. 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.

Hints for Success

  1. Homework Labeling: Clearly label EVERY PAGE of your homework with your name, the course number, section number, your instructor’s name, and the homework’s name as it appears in the syllabus. Preferably, this labeling will occur in the top right-hand corner of each page. Make and keep copies of all your submissions.
  2. Homework Feedback: On your homework, your instructor may circle or highlight words, phrases, or sections that could be improved or corrected. It is your job to think through the possible reasons for a change/correction, referring back to your text, course guide, dictionary, or other grammatical reference material. This feedback focuses on the technical aspect of your message. You are to learn how to edit by examining the circled item and attempting to determine how it could be improved.
  3. Rough Drafts: Some of the lesson’s assignments (part A) serve as rough drafts for that lesson’s assignment. Take careful note which assignments will need feedback before submitting the corresponding assignment (final draft).
  4. Feedback Schedule: Student homework and exams are routed to your instructor on a weekly basis. This completed work is also sent back to you with instructor feedback on a weekly basis.

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 5, 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 demonstrate the ability to adhere to the conventions of correct mechanics and sentence structure.

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


Sentence Structure and Mechanical Errors

4 Uses correct, varied sentences with few, if any, errors in mechanics, grammar, syntax or spelling

3 Uses sentences that are usually correct but sometimes awkward with some errors in mechanics, grammar, syntax or spelling

2 Uses sentences that are often incorrect and are difficult for the reader to understand with multiple errors in mechanics, grammar, syntax, or spelling

1 Uses sentences that are incorrect and are impossible for the reader to understand with many errors in mechanics, grammar, syntax, or spelling

Late or Missing Assignments

Assignments that have due dates are due on time according to the due dates. If you need to request an extension for an assignment, a request must be made to your instructor by voicemail at least one week prior to the due date. Late points may be applied at the instructor's discretion. It is up to the instructor to determine whether an extension will be granted.

Copyrights and Acknowledgements

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

The following items are copyrighted and have been reproduced in this course through special permission granted by the rights holders, with all rights reserved. The material is made available solely for the use of registered students in this class and may not be further distributed to any person outside the class, whether by copying or by transmission in electronic or paper form.

Adubato, Steve. “How to Lead and Communicate During a Crisis.”  NJBIZ 21.30 (2008): 15. Used with permission.

Altilia, Tony. “The Seven Sins of Business Communications.” Marketing Magazine 112.4 (2007): 35. Used with permission.

Divita, Sal. “We Hear; That Doesn’t Mean We Understand.” Marketing News  31.7 (1997): 26. Used with permission.

Domeyer, Diane. “Résumé Writing the Right Way.”  Office Pro  67.3 (2007): 6. Used with permission.

Duffy, Michael. “Why Your Lazy e-mail Habit is Bad for Business.”  Advertising Age 26 Nov. 2007: 24. Used with permission.

Kennedy, Marilyn Moats. “Don't Get Burned by Resume Inflation.” Marketing News  41.7 (2007): 37-38. Used with permission.

Lary, Sarah & Karen Pruente. “Powerless Point.” Public Relations Tactics 11.2 (2004): 28. Used with permission.

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Submitting Assignments

All assignments are listed under the "Reading Assignment" box and in the "Assessing Your Learning" section.

Note to students: Keep a copy of everything that you submit. That way if your work is lost you can submit your copy for grading. If you don’t receive your graded assignment or quiz results within two or three weeks after submitting it, please contact your instructor.

The due date listed in your course calendar is the last date on which an assignment can be delivered to the Course Support Office, or postmarked.

Distance Learning Drop Box

Distance Learning students can now drop off class assignments (in an appropriately addressed envelope) and return library books, videotapes and/or cassettes at the Distance Learning Drop Box.

The Drop Box is conveniently located along the curb in front of the Rio Salado building at 2323 W. 14th  Street in Tempe.

Mailed Assignments

All mailed assignments must be properly addressed and mailed with adequate postage. Please remember all correspondence to Rio Salado College must have a return address, an addressee, and the correct postage. The U.S. Postal Service may refuse delivery if any of these three are missing. All items placed in the Rio drop box must have a return address and an addressee. Please keep a copy of all work turned in to your instructor. Assignments will not be accepted if postage is due. If you are unsure of the postage required, take the item to the post office and have it weighed.

Include the course section number and assignment identifier on the envelope below your name and return address. Envelopes that are labeled incorrectly can cause a delay in processing your work. Address your envelope as shown in this example:


Your Name:  Jane Q. Doe
Your Address:   1234 Anywhere Street, Anytown, AZ
Course and Section Numbers:   GPH111, Section ______
Assignment Identifier:   Essay 1


The Course Support Office Rio Salado College
P. O. Box 63310
Phoenix, AZ 85082-3310
Attn: (Write your instructor’s name here)

Your section number can be found in your "Welcome Letter".

The Course Support staff cannot answer questions about the receipt of specific mail-in assignments. Only your instructor can do so.

Note to students: Please submit only one assignment in each envelope. The special envelopes provided to you by Rio Salado are only for computer answer sheets. Please mail all other assignments in separate envelopes.

Note to students: The U.S. Post Office no longer offers Sunday or holiday mail posting, and pick-up does not automatically mean that your envelope will be posted the same day. To be safe, allow extra time: mail early.

Faxed Assignments

Assignments may be faxed to (480) 377-4728 for print and mixed media courses. Your name, your instructor's name, and the course name and section numbers must appear at the top of every page. When the Course Support Office receives assignments, they are sent to your instructor for evaluation. Once your instructor has graded your assignment, he or she will return it to you.

Protect your hard work. Again, clearly label every page of your assignment with your name, the course and section numbers, your instructors name, and the name of the assignment as it appears in the syllabus.

Course Completion Policy

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

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: It is the prerogative of the instructor to decide whether or not to grant the request.

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. You can access all library services at

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 at (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.

Change of Address

Please notify Course Support at (480) 517-8243 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.

Disability Statement

Rio Salado provides reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Please contact Disability Services at

(480) 517-8562) or


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

Contact Rio Salado College

Advisement 480-517-8580, Fax: 480-377-4899

Bookstore 480-517-8710 or 1-800-584-8775 Fax: 480-517-8356

The RSC Bookstore does not accept credit cards over the phone. If you want to purchase textbooks with a credit card, including a Citi Prepaid Visa Card, you must either order your books online ( or visit the store in person. The bookstore is located in the Conference Center at 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281. (Major cross streets are Broadway and Priest).

You may also purchase textbooks using the online ordering system.

Cashier's Office 480-517-8334, 480-517-8330, Fax: 480-517-83594

College Safety 480-377-4555 (

Computer Labs 480-517-8450 (

Information about Rio Salado College computer labs located throughout the valley. The computer labs are open to registered students and have a variety of software available. Computer courses can also be taken from your home or office if you have the appropriate hardware and software. Some RSC locations have either Knowledge Commons or staff-supported and monitored Computer Labs.

Counseling 480-517-8785 (

Counseling for personal concerns that are interfering with your academic success, scholarship information, career planning, job hunting skills, and information or referrals to community services.

Course Support 480-517-8243

Course Support produces and distributes introductory materials such as welcome letters and instruction on how to access their courses to distance learning students and faculty.

Dental Hygiene 480-517-8020 (

The facility is located at 2250 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281.

Disability Resources & Services 480-517-8562 (

Provides support and services to students with documented disabilities.

Financial Aid Toll-Free: 1-855-622-2332 Fax: 480-377-4702 (

Grants and scholarships are available to assist eligible students with college expenses. To be eligible for federal financial aid, students must meet application criteria and select a program of study. Applying for financial aid will take at least eight weeks, so begin early!

Grades (

Honors 480-517-8656 (

Includes the President's Honor Roll, Phi Theta Kappa, and Honors Program classes with award stipends for eligible students.

Instructional Helpdesk 480-517-8380, Toll Free 1-866-511-8380 (

Available to answer questions about your course, help you contact your instructor or your faculty chair, provide Successful Start information, and to help you work through instructional issues that may arise during your course.

Library Services 480-517-8424, Toll Free 1-800-729-1197, Fax 480-517-8449 (

Library books, DVDs, online databases of magazine and newspaper articles, online encyclopedias, image collections, e-books, reference assistance (phone, in-person, or e-mail).

Registration & Transcripts 480-517-8540, Toll Free 1-800-729-1197, Fax 480-517-8199 (

Public Safety 480-377-4555

Student Enrollment Services/Student Affairs) 480-517-8540 (

Ask for a Student Enrollment Representative to assist with general college information, registration and records information, tuition and fee payment information, transcript requests, pre-requisite approvals, basic course selection, or waivers.

Ask for a Student Enrollment Advisor for assistance with: educational goals and objectives, transcript evaluation, disability services and resources, advisement issues, scholarship and financial aid options, program and admissions information.

Sun Sounds 480-517-8300

Technology Helpdesk 480-517-8600

Available to help you work through any technological barriers that may come up during your "Online Experience."

Testing 480-517-8560 or Toll Free 1-866-517-8560

Distance learning midterm/final exams; testing sites, directions, business hours and schedules; exam proctoring for out-of-county students; disability services; placement testing; GED; prior learning assessment; national exams: CLEP, DANTES; degree specific exams.

Testing Information (recorded), 480-517-8558

Tutoring Services 480-517-8247

Tutors help Rio Salado Community College students prepare for tests, learn new concepts, improve study techniques, and answer questions about assignments.

Veteran Affairs 480-517-8153