Dr. Jessica Smith
320 JC Long
I will make every effort to ensure that your experience of business communication is meaningful and pertinent to your everyday life. In return, please take the time to read this syllabus carefully and contact me right away if you have any questions or concerns.
Why is MGMT 332 an Awesome Class?
Employers demand a high level of communication competence and these “soft skills” are the chief criteria in both hiring and promotion decisions. To help you meet those expectations, we will explore the communication process from an organizational and interpersonal perspective.
This course was designed in response to industry feedback about the communication skills needed for graduates to enter successfully into today's competitive marketplace. This semester, you will develop a foundation for designing effective messages, both written and oral, from concept to delivery. Particularly, the course emphasizes elements of strategic and persuasive communication: how to design messages for diverse audiences and how to present that information in credible and convincing ways.
You will practice drafting and editing clear, precise, and engaging business documents that are easily accessible to a busy, executive-level reader. In addition, you will develop and deliver oral presentations, both formal and impromptu. You will also gain experience managing social media, both for routine and crisis communication.
By the end of the semester, you will gain knowledge and skills that will assist you not only in your chosen career, but will be useful in your academic and social lives as well.
How Should I Communicate With You?
Ask Three, Then Me
I receive hundreds of emails every week, many from students asking questions that could easily be answered by reading the syllabus or asking a classmate. Thus, before emailing me, please follow these steps:
- Consult the class schedule and syllabus.
- Check OAKS for announcements and instructions.
- Confer with three classmates.
If you still don’t know the answer to your question, you may email me or text me using Celly. Please help me maintain my sanity by following these steps!
The way you present yourself in emails says a lot about your work ethic and your priorities. Start practicing email etiquette now so that it will be second-nature when you enter the workforce.
- When corresponding with me, please:
- include MGMT 332 in the subject line
- include a respectful greeting (e.g., “Hi Jessica” or “Dear Dr. Smith”)
- fully sign your name
- use complete sentences
- proofread your email
- I will respond to your email within 24 hours, although my response time will be slower on weekends. I stop responding to emails after 10:00pm. This applies as well to messages sent through Celly.
This is an optional way to communicate with me. Celly allows us to communicate with one another via text message. Members are only identified by username and cell phone numbers are kept private. Join our “cell” by:
- texting @CofCMGMT332 to 23559 or clicking here
- The password for joining is: communication
- PLEASE choose a username that includes your first or last name so I can identify who is texting me.
- To text only me, include @jtsmith in your message rather than @CofCMGMT332 (which would text the whole class).
I do not have drop-in office hours because I work a full-time job in addition to teaching. But, I strongly encourage you to make appointments to meet with me outside of class. Over the years, I’ve found that students who visit my office to chat tend to perform better in class. Office hours are for YOU and are not limited to the discussion of course-related material. If I am not able to help you myself, I will assist you in finding someone who can.
To schedule an appointment, click on the button below. You'll be prompted to log into your Google account and then taken to my calendar.
How Will This Course Be Structured?
This course will be "flipped."
What the heck does that mean??
Well, it means that I will do very little lecturing during our class meetings. Instead, you will watch short video lectures outside of class to absorb the information you need to apply to the simulations and activities that will take place during class.
Why will we be doing this?
First, it has been extensively demonstrated that you learn better when working actively as opposed to listening passively. Second, when I lecture in class, we run out of time for the most useful and fun aspects of learning, such as hands-on application and collaboration with your colleagues. Learning is not a passive process. Nor should it be boring. So jump in, get your hands a little dirty, and have some fun!
What Do You Expect From Me?
All written assignments should be submitted electronically to the Dropbox in OAKS. They should be saved as PDFs and include your first and last name in the file.
Work from in-class activities will be completed in Google Drive and submitted to a folder you will share with me.
Assignments that are emailed, left in my mailbox, slid under my office door, or have file extensions other than .pdf will not be accepted.
Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Laptops are stolen. Hard drives crash. Wireless connections fail. Library computers log off unexpectedly. So, do not wait until the last minute to submit your assignments and SAVE OFTEN. Also, always save copies of your work to an external source like Google Drive or a thumb drive.
Just like any organization, this class is a community whose success is dependent on everyone’s participation. Also, there is a strong correlation between class attendance and grades. Therefore, attendance is vital for your achievement.
THERE ARE NO EXCUSED ABSENCES. Sickness, funeral, personal emergency, school-sponsored event, wedding, family vacation, etc. are all considered absences. Absence memos from the College are not recognized. If an emergency arises, please let me know as soon as possible. Think of this as preparation for your future career—you can only “call in sick” so many times before being fired.
If you miss six (6) or more classes, for any reason, you will receive a WA, which is equivalent to failing the course. I don't enjoy doing this; please don't make me.
I expect you to treat this class like a job and deadlines must be met. LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
- All assignments are due the day they are listed on the course schedule or on the day I verbally announce in class.
- If extraordinary circumstances arise (e.g., hospitalization), notify me as soon as possible so arrangements can be made.
- If you know in advance that you will be absent on the day an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to turn in the assignment early.
You are all juniors and seniors; thus, you will be entering the workforce very soon. Get used to deadlines!
You are responsible for understanding and adhering to College policies regarding academic honesty, as specified in the current Student Handbook.
All work must be original and must reflect careful preparation. Standards of originality and thorough preparation require that the viewpoint, structure, and style of writing and presentations be your own, except where specific indebtedness is acknowledged by oral or written citations. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium is a serious offense, subject to disciplinary action that may include failure in the course and/or dismissal from the College.
I will report all cases of suspected academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students. If you’re uncertain about citing sources or other ways to avoid plagiarism, please ask!
Students with approved SNAP accommodations should email me the Professor Notification Letter and discuss your needs during the first week of class. I want you to be successful, so please talk with me!
Students approved to receive accommodations are responsible for contacting me at least one week before any accommodation is needed. Please plan ahead.
Format: It is expected that all written assignments in this course be word-processed, double-spaced, have 1-inch margins, be closely proof-read, and saved as PDFs.
APA: Since Communication is a social science, we utilize the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual. One resource you may find helpful is the Writing Lab at Purdue University (“the OWL”), which you can find at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Grammatical Errors Policy: I take a very tough stance on grammatical errors to encourage students to edit their work carefully. I will return your work ungraded after five (5) grammatical, sentence structure, and/or formatting errors. You may resubmit your edited work for a one-letter grade reduction. I'm tough for a reason: strong writing skills will get you jobs and promotions. I promise you.
What Can I Expect From You?
My pledge to you:
- My goal is to challenge you and help you excel. I will set high expectations and push you to surpass them. I plan to do this in the most enthusiastic and supportive way I can.
- I will provide you with detailed instructions and expectations for your work and fairly evaluate you according to those expectations.
- I will always make time to listen to your ideas and concerns, and support your endeavors to become a more competent communicator.
- This course will only succeed if, together, we create an atmosphere of respect, openness, and honesty. To be blunt, I won’t “BS” you, so don’t “BS” me.
What Tools Will We Be Using?
For most class periods, we will use the Internet to conduct research, collaborate on Google Docs, access Hootsuite, and tweet. If possible, please bring a laptop or tablet to each class period. If this will be problematic, please let me know and I can arrange to bring extra devices with me to class.
NO TEXTBOOK IS REQUIRED FOR THIS CLASS.
Instead, all required readings and video lectures will be posted in OAKS, under the "Content" tab.
I will also use OAKS to post rubrics, announcements, assignment instructions, and grades. Please check your account regularly.
You can access our OAKS course by visiting lms.cofc.edu
We will rely on Google Drive throughout the semester. As a CofC student, you have free access to a variety of Google apps and should sign in using your g.cofc.edu email address and password.
- During the first week of classes, please create a folder in your Google Drive account and title it with your first and last name.
- Then share that folder with me and give me “editing rights.”
Educanon is where you will access the video lectures. To get the most out of classroom activities, discussions, and simulations, you must watch the video lectures and complete the assigned readings before coming to class. More often than not, you simply will not be able to participate fully without this preparation because you won't have the necessary knowledge.
To encourage you to watch these videos, questions will be embedded throughout and your progress will be monitored. These questions will be graded pass/fail.
Links to these videos will be located inside the Content tool in OAKS.
We will use Twitter as a back-channel source of communication and a place to post relevant observations, articles, and media. Tweeting is a required component of this class. Refer to this document for detailed instructions.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that provides a program for college students to learn about social media marketing, branding, customer service, and more. Your participation will involve watching videos and responding to questions (just like with Educanon) and experimenting with the Hootsuite platform to manage multiple social media accounts. You will even have the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized certification. The knowledge you gain will be applied to a variety of assignments you will complete during the semester.
You will be provided with login credentials in the second week of class. Access Hootsuite University by visiting: learn.hootsuite.com
All video lectures that are posted in Educanon will also be available on Youtube. I do this because Youtube playlists are easier to view on mobile devices so if you're commuting, at the gym, or walking around campus, you can still listen to the lectures.
However, remember that you still need to complete the questions in Educanon to receive credit.
How Will I Earn My Grade?
College is meant to be challenging and grades are earned, not given. A grade of “C” is earned by students who complete average college work. Grades in the “B” range signify work that stands above the average. Grades in the “A” range are earned by students who do exceptional work and go ABOVE and BEYOND. Will you go above and beyond? I hope so!
Because each student enjoys and benefits from different types of learning opportunities, you will have the chance to choose some of your assignments for this course. I call these "Choose Your Own Adventure" assignments (CYOA). Each assignment has a different due date and different expectations, but the same degree of rigor. You will choose three CYOA assignments to complete. To prevent you from procrastinating, you must select at least one assignment with a due date before November 4th. Much more detailed instructions are available in OAKS.
CYOA: Small Talk Diary
A large percentage of networking connections, client referrals, and leads happen through “word of mouth” and “chit chat.” Thus, small talk is anything but small! Being a skilled conversationalist is of vital importance to your future success. This diary will record your experiences conversing with people you don’t know but who might offer something useful to you (e.g., career advice, leads on a job, an introduction to someone important). You will keep a log of your small talk interactions and reflect on your conversational successes and failures.
CYOA: Business Professional Interview
This assignment asks you to identify two professionals who have jobs you admire - one who has a job you would like to have in the next five years and one who has a job you would want in twenty years. You should compose a list of questions before your interview inquiring about how their careers began, challenges they’ve overcome, and advice they would give to those wanting to follow in their footsteps. These interviews may be conducted face-to-face, over the phone, or virtually using a program like Skype.
CYOA: Crisis Case Study Analysis
While most business communication is routine, even mundane, there will likely be times of organizational crisis. One of the best ways to learn how to successfully manage organizational crises is to examine real examples, modeling your own response on what was done effectively and avoiding the mistakes of others. To complete this assignment, identify a contemporary organizational crisis and analyze the company’s response. What was handled well, what errors were made, and how could the crisis have been managed differently?
CYOA: New Media Audit
You will work on behalf of an organization of your choosing to “audit” its use of new media to communicate with external audiences to conduct marketing and public relations. What publics does the organization seem to be focused on? How does the organization use new media to promote their brand? What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats do you see with how they’re communicating? Finally, you will make recommendations for improved new media use by the organization.
CYOA: Personal Reputation Audit
An important part of being a successful professional is being aware of your own online presence and reputation. Are you aware of what people can find just by Googling you? For this assignment, you will conduct an online audit of your digital footprint. To complete your report, you will need to critically examine your presence on social media platforms and contemplate what your personal brand is. You will assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats then make recommendations for improvement.
Businesses use Twitter for marketing, public relations, and customer service so knowing how to use it effectively will benefit your career. Thus, you will be required to establish a professional handle and tweet multiple times per week. Throughout the semester, I will issue a variety of Twitter Challenges that relate to concepts we're discussing in class.
Impromptu Elevator Pitches
Impromptu speeches are made without preparation. Though this may sound intimidating, most of your communication is impromptu and learning to “think on your feet” is an incredibly useful skill to possess. Throughout the semester, you will be asked to present 1-2 minute pitches, such as selling a silly product or promoting yourself for a job. Impromptu pitches cannot be made up; so if you are absent, you will lose those points.
I treat our class like a workplace and I expect you to do the same and act like a professional. A professional is courteous, focused, motivated, and reliable. But do not equate “showing up” with professionalism. I am looking for quality involvement, not simply quantity.
View this as a performance evaluation. The best performance evaluations are reserved for students who (1) regularly attend class, (2) remain focused and attentive, (3) comment frequently and insightfully during discussion, (4) remain engaged and productive during in-class activities, (5) bring materials to class when requested, and (6) treat everyone in the class with respect.
My full-time position at the College is with the department of Teaching, Learning, & Technology. We are responsible for supporting faculty's endeavors to integrate instructional technologies into their teaching. Our biggest event is the annual Faculty Technology Institute, which has been held since 2002. I was approached by my boss regarding the re-branding of this event and we decided it would be a fantastic opportunity for you to learn about branding and promotions.
You will form teams and, throughout the entire semester, complete all phases of a campaign proposal, including audience analysis, new media audit, logo design, and communication plans. At the end of the semester, you will pitch to my boss and colleagues who will choose the winning proposal. With their permission, the winning team's ideas will actually be used to brand this very popular CofC event.
Final Exam Period
Thursday, December 10
7:30 - 10:30 PM
Our official final exam period will be used for pitching your TLT branding campaign proposals. We will not take the entire three hours, but you should plan on two. I realize this is late at night, but this is our official exam period which cannot be changed. Therefore, make plans now. Do not buy plane tickets home or make other arrangements. If you do not attend, not only will you forfeit a huge number of points, you will also be letting your teammates down.
This presentation will be discussed in much more detail in class. But keep in mind: this is not a class activity. This is a real pitch in front of real professionals. Treat it as such.
Throughout the semester, you will complete a variety of tasks and assignments that will be included in a digital portfolio, showcasing your work. Ultimately, this portfolio could be presented to future employers to provide evidence of your skills. Included will be all written assignments, a video of your campaign proposal pitch, and press kit. A press kit, sometimes called a media kit, is an information packet that promotes a business or product. In this case, you will be promoting yourself. It will include your résumé, letter of introduction, and URL to your LinkedIn profile.
Your final assignment will be an exit interview. Exit interviews are conducted with employees who are leaving a company with the intent of gathering feedback that could help the organization improve. Our exit interview will be an opportunity for you to reflect on the progress you’ve made throughout the semester. I will ask you questions about strengths, weaknesses, and future goals. I will also ask you to walk me through your portfolio, pointing out what you are most proud of.
Also as part of the interview, you should identify a job that you would like to apply for in the near future. I will ask you questions related to that position as if I was the person responsible for hiring. You should treat this as a professional interview in preparation, demeanor, and appearance.
Grade Appeals Policy
I encourage you to talk with me regarding your grades. To ensure a productive and thoughtful conversation, please follow these procedures:
- Please do not approach me with grade questions during class, or in the few minutes before or after class. And please do not ask me to reconsider your grade via email. These discussions should take place privately in my office.
- Please wait at least 24 hours after you receive your grade before appealing. Use this time to read my feedback and develop a thoughtful written appeal that details your concerns and justification. After submitting your appeal, make an appointment to see me.
- Please do not ask your parents to contact me regarding your grades. You are responsible for your grades, not your parents. Furthermore, federal legislation (FERPA) prohibits me from discussing your academic record with your family.
- A note about “rounding up” : At the end of the semester, it is possible you may be on the cusp of a higher grade. I make these decisions based upon your performance and professionalism throughout the semester. Please keep that in mind. . .
Points & Grading Scale
- Educanon Reflection Questions: 100 points total
- Hootsuite Participation: 100 points total
- CYOA Assignments: 100 pts each
- Impromptu Pitches: 50 pts total
- Branding Campaign Proposal: 200 pts total
- Twitter: 50 pts total
- Career Portfolio: 50 pts total
- Exit Interview: 50 pts
- Professionalism: 100 pts
- TOTAL: 1000 points possible
93 – 100% = A
90 – 92% = A-
87 – 89% = B+
83 – 86% = B
80 – 82% = B-
77 – 79% = C+
73 – 76% = C
70 – 72% = C-
67 – 69% = D+
63 – 66% = D
60 – 62% = D-
Below 60% = F
5 Things This Instructor Loves
- Teaching. As an adjunct, I earn a few hundred dollars a month teaching you (not joking). So why do I do it? Because I love teaching! I love the energy in a college classroom. I love the discussions and discoveries. I love mentoring and advising. I love being on the sidelines watching you evolve during this exciting time in your life. I teach every day with this passion in my heart.
- Students with Open Minds. This course is a survey of business communication, so we cover a lot of material. You may think something doesn't apply to your major or career path. It's possible you're right, but it's also possible that you just haven't made the connection yet. So I love it when students are a little resistant to my approach to business communication, but eventually realize that so much of it is relevant to them. I always appreciate an open mind.
- Students Who Chat with Me Outside Class. Whether you need help understanding a concept, want to practice a particular skill, are looking for advice, or just want to chat about life, I'm available. I love it when students engage me outside of class (whether that's in my office, on Twitter, via text message, in the Library Starbucks, wherever). Just so you know, I'm an awesome listener.
- Students Who Come to Class Prepared. There is no backseat in my class. There's no room for slacking off. Since this is a flipped class, most of our class periods will involve discussion, activities, and simulations. This means you absolutely cannot be passive. You will get out of this class what you put into it. I love it when students jump right in and give it their all. The return on investment is big, I promise.
- Students Who Own Their Learning. Attending college is a privilege. For most of you, there will never again be a time you can devote your days to meeting new people, learning new things, and enjoying so much freedom. I love it when students recognize this privilege and take responsibility for their intellectual development. Why not soak it all in? Why not experience everything you can? Why not learn something new every day?