Resources for a business communications open online course

Resources for a business communications open online course

Arley Cruthers, Melissa Ashman, John Grant, Seanna Takacs, and Petti Fong

Contents

1

Acknowledgements

The preparation of this book was funded by a grant awarded in July 2020 in response to a call for proposals by BCcampus.

The purpose of the call for proposals was to identify qualified institutions, departments, or individual educators to work with BCcampus on the identification, evaluation, and development of open online courses (OOC) and other OER in a variety of subject areas, including business communications.

We are grateful for the support of BCcampus in funding our project.

We are also grateful to Lee Beavington, an instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, for his generosity in granting permission to use one of his photographs for the cover of this book.

2

About this course and resources

Thank you for your interest in our Business Communication OOC. This course is a first-year business communication course. This resource contains:

Resources for business communications OOC by Arley Cruthers, Melissa Ashman, John Grant, Seanna Takacs, and Peg Fong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. The files available for download in this book are similarly licensed, except where otherwise noted.

About This Course

We have taken a process-oriented approach to this course that focuses less on genre and more on the decisions that business communicators make. We want students to reflect on their own writing beliefs, values and experiences, then apply these learnings to a business communication context. We have intentionally avoided relying heavily on video content, since many of our students do not have stable Internet access.

This course can be used as a “course in a box” that you can plug into your learning management system and use. You might choose to customize it by developing your own module overview videos and videos to explain the assignments. We also encourage you to personalize this content by adding your own graphics and visuals.

However, we also have tried to build in flexibility so that you can take bits and pieces that work for you and remix them, since everything in this OOC has a CC-BY license.

Using This Resource

In the weekly lesson plans you will find:

A screenshot of a learning management system, which features a label that gives text-based instructions, then has multiple forums and posted resources, and a checklist at the end.
An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencil

In the course plan, assignment deadlines are highlighted in yellow.

Throughout the course, there are opportunities for the instructor to customize and personalize the content, such as through creating and providing personalized module introduction videos and personal stories.

A Note About Blogging

This course is geared around a blogging assignment. Each student will develop their own blog throughout the semester. We chose to have students blog for the following reasons:

In the original version of this course, students developed and maintained their own blog. However, other instructors have modified the assignment so that students keep a class blog about one topic, or work in small groups to create and maintain a blog.

It is also possible to use this OOC without assigning a blogging project. In that case, you may want to swap out blogging examples from the interactive lectures.

1

Week 1: Introductions

Download this week’s plan as a Word document.

Download the PowerPoint slides for week 1.

Download the pre-survey questions as a Word document.

Download the scavenger hunt instructions as a Word document.

Download additional related resources.


An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor Notes:

This is the only session with a synchronous element (except for the last week, which has a class party). This document contains a lesson plan and Powerpoint slide deck for an orientation session. Before the beginning of the semester, you may choose to survey students to understand their technology needs. A potential survey has been included.

Below, you’ll find content that you can paste as a label into the course LMS or send as an email. You may choose to personalize this with a short welcome video.

This session also contains a prompt for a “getting to know you” paragraph that students can submit as a participation activity, so that you can get a sample of their writing.

Student Instructions

Welcome to Introduction to Business Communications! I’m looking forward to meeting you all during our welcome session, which is <<date>>

In this session, we’ll get to know each other and make sure decisions for how the course will be run. To join the session, click on the BigBlueButton link below. If you can’t make the session, please contact me at <<email>>

<<insert welcome video>>

Learning Outcomes

Learning Activities

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilOrientation Session Instructions (For Instructor)

(See Powerpoint)

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilAgenda:

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilIcebreaker

Using the group whiteboard in BigBlueButton, draw a class picture. Take a screenshot and post it to your LMS.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilClass Charter Collaborative Writing Instructions

Goals:

Step 1: You can either create an editable document in OneDrive, or you can do this activity in the shared notes in BigBlueButton (or another video meeting platform). The document should have the categories:

Step 2: During the session, introduce the activity by explaining the purpose. You can either have students all write in the document at once, or you can break students into groups and have each group spend 5 minutes on each topic. If a student agrees with something that someone else has said, they can put a +1 or check beside it.

Step 3: Debrief the activity by going through the document. Ask students to identify trends that they notice. Brainstorm how to overcome barriers.

Step 4: Break students into groups using breakout rooms and have them come up with items for a class charter: 5 things that students will agree to do, and 5 that you will agree to do. Each group will share their 5 things.

Step 5: Negotiate the final charter. Put the charter in the class LMS.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilMoodle and Course Presentation Scavenger Hunt

See attached sheet for an idea of a scavenger hunt. The goal is to get students to engage with the course presentation and practice activities in the learning management system.  Break students into their pods, then have them complete the scavenger hunt. The first group to get all the answers gets a GIF prize.

You might choose to have groups submit this through the LMS or in a forum in order to get the week’s participation points.

Student Information Getting To Know You Paragraph

Please submit a paragraph on the topic “How can I help you be successful in this class?” by <<date>>  in a Word document (or other text document).

Note: This paragraph does not count towards your grade. It’s a chance for me to get to know you and for you to practice submitting assignments through our learning management system.

Bonus Forum

Talk to one of your pod members, then write a short paragraph introducing them to the rest of the class and post it in the forum.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilCare/Connection

Use a mail merge to reach out individually to each student.


Additional resources you may find useful:

An article that helps students recognize that even (especially) introverts can be excellent communicators.

5 Excellent Communication Skills Introverts Didn’t Know They Had

I

Module 1: Reflecting on the past, looking to the future

Download the module 1 overview and week 2 lesson plan as a Word document.


An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructors Notes:

This module only takes one week. It lays the groundwork: helping students reflect on the business communication context and their past writing experience/beliefs/values. At the end of the week, the groups will complete their first mind map and submit it.

2

Week 2: Writing beliefs

Download the week 2 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 2 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 2 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=23

Download the audio recording of the week 2 interactive lecture.


Student Instructions

Welcome to Week 2! This module will last a week, which means you and your group should have it finished by <<date>>.

Learning Outcomes

Readings

In This Module You Will…

Participation Activity: Scavenger Hunt

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor Notes:

For this participation activity, students will collect business writing documents. You can either use a Padlet (https://padlet.com/) or a SPLOT (which you can set up using WordPress). If neither of these are available, students could also post in a forum, but the nice thing about the Padlet/SPLOT is that they can see all the documents at once.

Student Instructions

For this activity, you’ll be working in your pods.

Step 1: Each student will find at least 1 example of business communication (emails, memos, reports, etc). You can find a lot of these documents online, such as government reports. Post your example in this Padlet. You don’t need to make an account. Simply click the + sign, then add the document with a brief description.

Step 2: With your group members, discuss what these documents have in common (organization, use of language, formatting, tone, use of visuals etc). You don’t have to read them all thoroughly. Just skim them. You may choose to have this discussion in the forum, but if you’re more comfortable with texting/BBB etc. you’re welcome to do so. Try to come up with at least 5 features of business communication. Then, think about how these business communication documents are different from essays and other academic writing. Why do you think these differences exist?

Step 3: When you’re done, 1 person from the group should post a summary of the group’s response. Make sure to answer the 3 questions:

Bonus Forum

We’re thinking about the WHYs of business communication. This article gives us an interesting opportunity to think about information and perspectives that may not seem to fit into our mind map about business communication.

https://orionmagazine.org/article/speaking-of-nature/#.XyQ6wL0O_sI.twitter

Read the article and within a couple of days, go for a walk outside. Your walk can be in your neighbourhood, in the deep woods, or along a trail. As the article suggests, think about the nature you see as “ki/kin” instead of “it.” Is that weird, uncomfortable? Maybe it’s hard to even imagine. Think about animals and plants. Did you notice the same things as the students in the article? When you thought about these questions, what connections did you make? Were they unexpected?

Once you have read the article and have taken your walk, consider a response to two ideas in the essay. Consider what changes when you try to think about animals and plants as kin rather than an it. You could consider:

  1. Do words make worlds? Where have you seen evidence of this? When you consider a tree as ki how might it change the way you write to other humans?
  2. Does the passive voice – “the plant was pulled from the earth” – obscure a greater truth?
  3. How can words heal relationships? Does changing the way we see plants and animals help change the way we see and communicate with each other?

Write a short paragraph about what you learned and post it in the forum.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilCare/Connection

Check in with each student with a personalized response to the paragraph they submitted in week 1.

II

Module 2: Meeting our audience's needs

Download the module 2 overview as a Word document.


Student Instructions

Welcome to Module #2! The last two modules were only 1 week long. This one will be 3 weeks long. You should complete it by <<date>>.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN! Work with your pod to start making your mind map for Module 1. The goal of the mind map is to help you deepen your learning by inviting you to make connections between different elements of the course.

Think about what you learned and how those ideas are connected. Think about how your own ideas are connected to ideas of your pod. Your mind map doesn’t have to include EVERY idea presented, just the ones that are meaningfully connected for your group.

You can start drawing the mind map digitally or hand draw it and take a picture. You’ll submit your mind map after each module for feedback, but each mind map should help you get ready for the next module as well.

<<insert welcome video>>

In this module:

Ready to get started? Click on the Week 3 tab.

3

Week 3: Analyzing an audience

Download the week 3 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 3 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 3 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

Download the week 3 interactive lecture as an audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

Download the blog video with interactive H5P elements.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

Download the blog video transcript as a Word document.

Download additional related resources.


An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor’s Note

This week’s interactive lecture begins with a story from the instructor. The goal of this story is to show vulnerability in order to invite students to share their own miscommunications. It also illustrates many of the concepts in the CMAPP model. You will likely want to swap this out with a story of your own.

Student Instructions

Welcome to Week 3! Last week, we reflected on your writing beliefs. This week, we’re going to learn some basic communication models and learn how to do audience analysis.

This week, you will:

Participation Activity

For this week’s participation activity, you’ll apply your audience analysis skills to your blog or Coronavirus Archive. Choose your best idea for a blog or Coronavirus archive and apply the CMAPP model to it. Write a few sentences for each step of the model. I’ll post an example in the forum.

Example:

I’m going to be creating a Coronavirus archive.

CONTEXT: The context of my project is that I’m creating a record of my time during Coronavirus for historians in the future. I suspect that they will know about what was happening in the news, so I can be valuable by sharing small moments of my life.

MESSAGE: I want to give them a peek into exactly what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing during this time. I will use descriptive words and try to make them feel like they’re right there with me.

AUDIENCE: My audience is historians of the future. My other audience is me, since I think that blogging will help me work through my feelings.

PURPOSE: My purpose is to capture my life during Coronavirus.

PRODUCT: I realize that by doing this activity, that pictures and videos will be as important as words. I am going to create a blog using WordPress so I can mix images and photos.

Instructions for signing up for a KPU Blog

https://wordpress.kpu.ca/how-to-get-started/

Bonus Forum

Use your audience analysis skills to share something that will make your classmates happy. It could be an uplifting news story, a funny GIF, a photo, a poem: anything.

What is a Blog?

<<refer to H5P video at the top of this page>>


Additional resources you may find useful:

This resource is by Melissa Ashman and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

This resource is by Melissa Ashman and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=25

4

Week 4: Choosing words effectively

Download the week 4 lesson plan as a Word document

Download the ineffective assignment sample as a Word document.

Download the week 4 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 4 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

Download the week 4 interactive lecture as an audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

Download additional related resources.


Student instructions:

Welcome to Week 4! This week, you will be responsible for the following tasks:

Survey Questions

1. How would you rate the workload of this course? (By workload, I mean the amount of work you have to put into this course doing the readings, participation activities, assignments etc)
Far too much work
A little too much work
Just right
A little too light
Far too easy

2. How would you rate the difficulty of this course? By difficulty, I’m referring to how challenging the participation activities, readings and assignments are.
Far too difficult
A little too difficult
Just right
A little too easy
Far too easy

3. Please tell me about a time when you were most interested/ engaged in this course.

4. Please tell me about a time when you were the least engaged/ confused/ disinterested in this course.

5. Do you have any suggestions/ideas to improve this course?

6. Is there anything else you think I should know?

Participation Activity Option #1

This participation activity will give you practice in using words and details to create a particular feeling in the reader. To begin, pick a mood (happy, sad, lonely, angry etc). Then, go outside (socially distanced, of course!) and write down details that would reflect your mood.

For example, if I was standing in the park and I was happy, I’d see green grass, happy children, smiling faces, blossoms on trees, flowers, etc. If I was annoyed, I’d see children screaming too loud, mosquitos buzzing, dog poop, muddy grass, people not socially distancing etc.

Then, write a paragraph that doesn’t say your mood, but uses word choices, details, sentence rhythm, etc. to convey it. I’ll post an example in the forum. Please post your paragraph in the forum too. Then, see if you can guess someone else’s mood.

Participation Activity Option #2

I have written a version of your first assignment that contains a lot of style and tone errors. Click on the link above to view the assignment, then write a paragraph that gives the writer feedback about how they could improve the style and tone of their work.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor note:

You can customize or change this assignment to suit your needs.

 Student instructions:

Bonus Forum

For our bonus forum, we’re going to have a Bulwer-Lytton competition. This is a competition that’s held annually where people try to write the worst sentence they can come up with. Using the style and tone mistakes we discussed in the interactive lecture, write a sentence that contains as many style and tone mistakes as possible. The “worst” sentence will win a fabulous prize (probably a cute animal GIF).


Additional resources you may find useful: 

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

This resource is by Arley Cruthers and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

This resource is by Arley Cruthers and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

This resource is by Arley Cruthers and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

This resource is by Arley Cruthers and is licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=27

A link to a reading about how to handle situations where you might be emailing when angry:

Instead of emailing when angry do this [Forbes]

5

Week 5: Telling stories

Download the week 5 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 5 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 5 interactive lecture as an H5P file by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=29

Download the week 5 interactive lecture as an audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=29


Student instructions:

Welcome to Week 5! This week, we’re focusing on storytelling. While it may seem odd to focus on storytelling in a business communications course, storytelling will help you be more persuasive, think about organization in a different way, and blog more effectively.

This week, you will be responsible for the following tasks:

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor notes: 

Create a spreadsheet so students who are blogging publicly can share their blog URLs. Include a video about the midterm. The Danger of a Single Story video is not open, but it is freely accessible.

Student instructions:

Participation Activity Prompts

Use this document to write your story. You can either meet as a group and write it, or you can each add a couple of paragraphs. When you’re done, see if you can identify the parts of the story that we discussed in our lecture.

If you’re having trouble getting started, use one of these prompts.

Prompt #1: Last Thursday, I returned from work completely exhausted. I pulled into my driveway, walked up to my front door and….

Prompt #2: When I’m stressed, I like to take a walk on the beach. That day, I was walking along, listening to the sound of the waves against the shore, when I saw…

Prompt #3: Last summer, I earned some extra money by cleaning out old houses and getting them ready for sale. It was dirty, sometimes smelly work. One day, I was dusting a bookshelf in this old mansion when…

Prompt #4: When I got on the airplane, I was expecting adventure. Little did I know…

Prompt #5: The night was quiet. I had just finished brushing my teeth and was about to climb into bed when I heard a faint sound coming from outside in the garden.

Bonus Forum

For your bonus forum, reflect on a time that you experienced the dangers of a single story. How could you use your blog to tell a different story?

Or

Talk to an elder in your life and ask them to tell a story. You don’t have to write down the story, but write a paragraph about that experience. What was it like listening to the story? What did you learn?

III

Module 3: Helping our audience understand our message

Download a copy of the module 3 overview as a Word document.


Student instructions:

Welcome to Module 3! This module will take you three weeks and should be completed by <<date>>. In our last module, we learned how to meet an audience’s needs. Now, we’ll help our audience understand our message by writing genres effectively, organizing our work clearly and using charts, graphs and images.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN! Work with your pod to make your mind map for Module 2. Remember: the goal of the mind map is to help you deepen your learning by inviting you to make connections between different elements of the course. You should find connections between the 4 elements of the course (Brenda Knights narratives, readings, interactive lecture, activities/ assignments) and between Module #1 and Module #2.

Working in your group, think about what you learned and how those ideas are connected. Your mind map doesn’t have to include EVERY idea presented, just the ones that are meaningfully connected for your group.

When you’re done, submit your mindmap and move on to Module #3.

This short video will give you an overview of what we’ll be studying in this section.

<<insert module overview video>>

In this module:

Ready to get started? Let’s go! Click on Week 6 to get started!

6

Week 6: Working with workplace genres

Download the week 6 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 6 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 6 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=31

Download the week 6 interactive lecture audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=31

Download an additional related resource.


Student instructions:

Welcome to Week 6! This week, we’re thinking about workplace genres like emails, memos, letters and instant messages.

This week, you will:

Participation Activity

Open the folder provided, then find your group’s name. Use the collaborative Word document to write an email/memo/letter reacting to your scenario. When you’re done, post your scenario and your email/memo/letter in the forum.

When your group is finished your email/memo/letter in the collaborative writing document, post the results in this forum. Then, respond to another group’s work with a paragraph about what you admired about their email/memo/letter and how they could improve it.

Participation Activity Scenarios

Working in your group, please create an email/ memo or letter that responds to one of the following scenarios. When you’re done, post your scenario and your email/memo/letter into the participation forum. Then, discuss another group’s work and post a paragraph offering feedback. Remember to consider both what’s working well about the group’s work and what they can improve.

Your scenario choices:

#1) In your textbook, you read the Brenda Knights narrative about the dangers of emails. You work for a company that has some of the email challenges that Ms. Knights describes. Your boss has asked you to write a short email to your colleagues with some advice about when and how to use email. Using what you learned in Brenda Knights’ narrative, write an email to your colleagues giving them advice about email use.

#2) You recently purchased a new guitar at a local music shop. One of the shop’s employees, Maria, spent over an hour helping you make your purchase. She was very knowledgeable, and was the reason that you purchased the guitar at the small local store instead of going to a larger store with more selection. You want to let Maria’s boss know about her excellent service.

#3) Your company has decided to consider allowing employees to work from home (obviously this situation takes place before the pandemic). Anyone who is interested in working from home must have a conversation with their manager to determine if their position would be appropriate for this arrangement. If the manager approves, they must submit Form 4A to their HR representative. Those who are approved to work from home will start with a 3 month trial period, where they will be required to submit a weekly log of the tasks they performed at home. Your job is to inform employees of this new opportunity and make sure they know how to apply.

#4) You volunteer on your condo’s strata (the group of residents who make decisions about the building). The strata has approved painting the outside of the building. Between April 5-10, the residents must not open their windows and must remove everything from their balconies. You don’t have email addresses for every resident, but you do have access to their physical mailboxes.

#5) You volunteer for an organization that gives out scholarships to new high school graduates based on the results of an essay writing contest. You’ve already informed the winners of the scholarship by phone, but your boss wants you to send them something in writing with all of the official details and any forms that need to be filled out to claim the scholarship.

#6) Easter is coming up in a few weeks and you work for a flower shop. Many people order lilies for Easter, but these can be toxic to pets. The florist has come up with a pet-friendly Easter bouquet. He asks you to let the customers know about the dangers of lilies and suggest that they order a non-toxic Easter bouquet instead.

Bonus Forum

For your bonus activity, you have two choices:

1) Read this article about Dr. Bonnie Henry’s communication practices. Then, write a short paragraph about how you could apply her strategies to your own business communication practices.

2) Go to the list of your classmates’ blogs and write a friendly comment on one blog.


Additional resource you may find useful:

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International license.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=31

7

Week 7: Organizing our writing, using images, charts, and graphs

Download the week 7 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download an additional related resource.


An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor Notes:

This week does not have any interactive lesson/lecture as it’s intended to afford students an ability to catch up on their work and to ease their stress during midterm season.

Student Notes:

It’s Week 7, so we’re more than halfway through the course. Time flies! Your first blog post is due this week and I know that everyone has midterms, so I’ve decided to lighten the load. We have a bit more reading this week, so we won’t have an interactive lecture. Instead, you’ll help each other out by summarizing the readings.

This week, you will:

Participation Activity

Let’s help each other learn the readings. Read Chapter 5 and 12, then pick one concept you learned. To help your classmates learn the material, you can either:

  1. Create a chart, graph, infographic or other visual that illustrates the topic. You can use free image makers like Venngage (you have to make an account) or Canva.
  2. Use what you learned about paragraphs to write a clear, well-edited paragraph to explain the topic.

Bonus Forum

For the bonus point, call up someone (a member of your pod, a friend or family member) and read them one of your blog posts. Write a short paragraph about how the experience went and what you learned.


Additional resource you may find useful:

This resource is by Melissa Ashman and is licensed under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International license.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=33

Download this resource as a PowerPoint file.

8

Week 8: Getting feedback to make our work stronger

Download the week 8 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 8 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 8 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=35

Download the week 8 interactive lecture audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=35


Student Notes:

Welcome to Week 8! This week, we’re focusing on making our work better through peer review. The goal of this week is to give you the skills to both give feedback and incorporate feedback into your work. You will need these skills for your midterm.

This week, you will:

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor notes:

It’s recommended that a mid-course survey be issued to assess how students are feeling and so that any adjustments can be made to the approach being taken with the course. This can also be used to help identify students who may require additional support. Below are sample survey questions:

Survey Questions

1. How would you rate the workload of this course? (By workload, I mean the amount of work you have to put into this course doing the readings, participation activities, assignments etc)
Far too much work
A little too much work
Just right
A little too light
Far too easy

2. How would you rate the difficulty of this course? By difficulty, I’m referring to how challenging the participation activities, readings and assignments are.
Far too difficult
A little too difficult
Just right
A little too easy
Far too easy

3. Please tell me about a time when you were most interested/ engaged in this course.

4. Please tell me about a time when you were the least engaged/ confused/ disinterested in this course.

5. Do you have any suggestions/ideas to improve this course?

6. Is there anything else you think I should know?

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor notes:

For the participation activity below, students should be divided into groups (in their pods if this approach is taken) and assigned one scenario to address this.

Student notes:

Week 8 Activity

For this activity, you will work with your group to practice giving and receiving feedback in a workplace situation. I will give you a situation, then your group will work together to create a short script where both the person giving feedback and the person receiving feedback use the generative listening skills and peer review we learned about this week.

You can write down your script using this document, or you can create a video or audio recording. When your group is done, please post your response in the participation activity forum. You can make up whatever details you would like.

Scenario #1

You are the Director of Programming for a community centre. You have decided to offer a Minecraft summer camp for kids. Your graphic designer Raj has just sent you a poster to advertise the camp, and you find it way too ‘busy’ and garish. However, you are not sure if your instincts are correct because, although you have many years of experience in your role, you are outside of the target audience for the Minecraft camp. You want to have a productive conversation about your concerns with Raj.

Scenario #2

You have recently been promoted to a managerial role and are supervising 3 employees. The first two employees do excellent work, but the third employee, Cassie, often turns in work that feels sloppy to you. For example, she recently wrote a report that was well-researched, but some parts were unfinished and it was clear she hadn’t done much proofreading. You need to sit down with Cassie to discuss the problem. Since you are new to the role, however, you are worried that your inexperience as a manager will make it difficult for you to be productive with Cassie.

Scenario #3

You own a small restaurant and have a waiter named Chad who is your “star” waiter. Customers love him because he delivers great customer service. Unfortunately, sometimes Chad achieves this customer service by being hard on other wait staff and kitchen staff. He often yells at other wait staff for minor errors. You have been approached by a group of 4 other waiters who say that if Chad doesn’t stop this behaviour, they will quit. You need to have a discussion with Chad where you discuss this problem.

Scenario #4

Now that BC is entering Phase 3, your friend Aziz is being told to come back to his office. He doesn’t want to, since he lives with his elderly parents who are immunocompromised and has a son with asthma. He has drafted an email to his employer but he’s asked you to take a look at it before he sends it. When you read the email, you notice that Aziz has done a great job of doing some research to back up why it’s not safe for him to the office and has also referred to his work plan over the past 3 months to show that he’s able to keep up with his work while at home. However, his tone is very angry. You’re not sure if this expression of anger will make his audience unwilling to listen to his message, even though you feel that it’s justified. You’re uncomfortable telling Aziz to tone it down, but you also want to increase the chance that he gets a positive response. You’re not sure what advice to give.

Scenario #5

You work for an accounting firm. You’ve asked your intern, Jaspreet, to write a blog post explaining the tax changes for 2020. Jaspreet is very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. She has written a 2,000 word blog post that would be very interesting to another accountant, but is overwhelming for the average client. You need to talk with Jaspreet to figure out how to maintain her passion and excitement for the topic without overwhelming the reader with too much information.

Scenario #6

You have been hired as a communications coordinator for a small business. Your boss, Mira, is in her 50s and has a habit of writing her emails the way she talks and often uses ‘…’ between her sentences. For example, she might write, “Thanks…I will think about it…will get back to you when I figure out what to do and talk to some other colleagues…” Other colleagues and customers have interpreted Mira’s style of writing as being passive-aggressive and some have a hard time reading her long sentences. You’ve been tasked with editing Mira’s writing for a report, and you want to help her understand how others are interpreting these stylistic choices without offending her.

Participation Activity Final Forum

Once your group is finished, one member should post your response here.

Bonus Forum

For your bonus forum, go to this section on revision, then pick 3 – 4 questions from the list. Re-read one of your blog posts, and answer the following questions about your blog. Then, write a short paragraph about what you found out and what revision you’d like to do on your blog.

IV

Module 4: Bringing in other voices

Download the module 4 overview as a Word document.


Student notes:

Welcome to Module #4! Up until now, we’ve focused on expressing our own ideas in different genres and formats. Now, we’re going to bring other voices into the conversation by learning how to find sources and use them effectively.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN! Work with your pod to make your mind map for Module 3. Remember: the goal of the mind map is to help you deepen your learning by inviting you to make connections between different elements of the course. You should find connections between the 4 elements of the course (Brenda Knights narratives, readings, interactive lecture, activities/ assignments) and between Module 1, 2 and 3.

Working in your group, think about what you learned and how those ideas are connected. Your mind map doesn’t have to include EVERY idea presented, just the ones that are meaningfully connected for your group.

<<insert overview video>>

Learning Outcomes:

9

Week 9: Finding and evaluating sources

Download the week 9 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 9 research scavenger hunt handout as a Word document.

Access an additional related resource.


Student notes:

Welcome to Week 9! Let’s begin this week by reflecting on your group’s mindmap. What connections did you find between the modules? What unanswered questions do you have? What knowledge from the previous modules do you think you’ll use in this module?

This week, we’re learning about how to find and evaluate sources. This week, you will be responsible for:

Participation Activity Forum

With your group, complete the research scavenger hunt. Once you’re done, one group member can post your participation activity response in the forum. The first group to answer all the questions correctly is the winner.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor Note:

The scavenger hunt template is included.

Bonus Forum

When the semester gets busy, it can be hard to take a break. So, for your bonus, engage in some kind of rest. Go for a walk and practice some of the listening skills we learned last week, then write a few sentences about it. (If you don’t want to take a walk, then do some other form of self care and write about it).

Anonymous Source Use Survey

Next week, we’re learning about citation, quoting and summarizing. Now’s the time to ask your questions about source use, plagiarism, citation etc. I’ll answer them in the next lecture.

What questions do you have about source use, plagiarism, citation, quoting, summarizing etc?


Additional resource you may find useful:

Here is a quick online trivia game to assess if you can suss out examples of true versus fake news! Have fun with it. You’ll be required to watch three short videos that help you detect fake news, and then can jump right into the quiz:

https://newsliteracy.ca/fakeout/learning-the-skills/#

10

Week 10: Working with sources

Download the week 10 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 10 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 10 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=39

Download the week 10 interactive lecture audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=39

Download additional related resources.


Student notes:

Welcome to Week 10! Last week, we learned about how to find sources. This week, we’re learning how to quote, summarize and paraphrase sources.

This week, please:

Participation Activity Forum

For this week’s participation activity, we’re practicing paraphrasing and summarizing. Using the research skills you learned last week, find an article that offers a different perspective on something you’ve written about in your blog. For example, if you wrote about a great vacation you had in Kelowna, find an article about someone else’s vacation in Kelowna.

Write a paragraph that responds to the article in some way. You must paraphrase or quote at least once. I’ll put an example in the forum.

Example:

In this article about pandemic parenting, Deb Perleman writes about how parents are feeling burnt out trying to parent and work at the same time. She says, “We are not burned out because life is hard this year. We are burned out because we are being rolled over by the wheels of an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential.” As someone who’s currently up past midnight writing this, I definitely appreciated her honesty and her ability to think of the big picture. However, I struggled with the piece’s inability to suggest some specific solutions. If school’s not safe, and having kids at home isn’t working out, what should be done?

Bonus Point Forum

For your bonus point, post the paragraph that you wrote during the interactive lecture about this tweet:

Image description: Tweet from Jorge J Rodriguez V @JJRodV Text from the tweet: To me, citations are about love and connection. In my citations you see a story of who I grew with, who I struggled with, who I built with, who I challenged. I do not generate thought alone, and any praxis that stems from my work builds from another. That’s love and connection.

Additional resources you may find useful:

This resource is by John Grant and is licensed under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License.

Video: Citing Sources

A video about three paraphrasing techniques:

How to paraphrase – 3 paraphrasing techniques [QUT]

V

Module 5: Persuading our audience

Download the module 5 overview as a Word document.


Student notes:

Welcome to Module #5! In this module, we’ll be bringing together all of the skills we’ve learned throughout the semester to focus on persuasion. This module will take 2 weeks, and you should complete it by <<date>>.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN! Work with your pod to make your mind map for Module 4. Remember: the goal of the mind map is to help you deepen your learning by inviting you to make connections between different elements of the course. You should find connections between the 4 elements of the course (Brenda Knights narratives, readings, interactive lecture, activities/ assignments) and between Module 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Working in your group, think about what you learned and how those ideas are connected. Your mind map doesn’t have to include EVERY idea presented, just the ones that are meaningfully connected for your group.

<<insert overview video>>

In this module:

11

Week 11: How to change someone's mind

Download the week 11 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download 10 fake resumes for the participation activity.

Download the week 11 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 11 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=41

Download the week 11 interactive lecture audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=41


Student notes:

This week, we’re thinking about persuasion. Your readings will give you a sense of general persuasive strategies, then your interactive lecture will show persuasion in action by focusing on cover letters and resumes.

This week, you will:

Optional reading: https://kpu.pressbooks.pub/businesswriting/part/chapter-17-communicating-for-employment/

Participation Activity Forum

This activity will be done in your group. It has two parts.

Part 1: For the first part, your group is going to get a chance to be a hiring manager. In the folder, you’ll find 10 fake resumes of people who’ve applied for a job as an administrative assistant. The average hiring manager looks at a resume for 6 seconds, so take 1 – 2 minutes to look at all 10 resumes. Working as quickly as you can, sort the resumes into ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Part 2: As a group, discuss your top picks and select 2 people to interview. You can look more closely at the resumes that you said ‘yes’ to. Write a short paragraph about which candidates you selected to interview and why. Did everyone in the group pick the same resumes? If there were different opinions, how did you decide? What about the 2 candidates you selected persuaded you to interview them? Post this is in the participation activity forum.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor note:

You can customize or change this assignment to suit your needs or have students bring in their own early drafts of their resumes.

Student notes:

Bonus Forum

Pick one of the resumes that you studied for the participation activity. Pretend that this is your friend’s resume, and they have asked you for feedback. Using your peer review skills, tell your friend what’s persuasive about their resume and how they could make it more persuasive.

12

Week 12: Making an argument and oral presentations

Download the week 12 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the week 12 interactive lecture as PowerPoint slides.

Download the week 12 H5P interactive lecture by clicking the “reuse” button.

An interactive or media element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:
https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=44

Download the week 12 interactive lecture audio recording.

An audio element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can listen to it online here: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/businesscommsooc/?p=44


Student notes:

This is our last week of class work. Next week is our big class party! This week, we’re continuing our discussion of persuasion by thinking about how to create arguments in reports and oral presentations.

This week, you’ll be responsible for the following tasks:

Optional:  https://kpu.pressbooks.pub/businesswriting/part/chapter-11-writing-reports/

Participation Activity

The CMNS 1140 Oscars

This week, we’ve been learning about argument and creating effective oral presentations. Now, it’s time to combine the two at the CMNS 1140 Oscars. You have 1 minute to make the class care about something that you’re passionate about. Create a video (using your cellphone or My Media) or audio that’s no longer than a minute. You can convince the class to care about anything, and you can use any strategy (as long as it’s ethical).

Next, vote for who should win the Oscar by commenting “Vote” under their post. The video with the most votes will win a $5 Tim Hortons/Starbucks gift card. We’ll announce the winners next week during our class party.

Good luck!

Bonus Forum

This week, we had an optional reading about writing reports. Help your classmates out by writing a short summary of the chapter.

VI

Module 6: Wrapping it all up!

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor note: 

This module is one week, and it is the last week in the course.

13

Week 13: Celebrating our learning

Download the week 13 lesson plan as a Word document.

Download the paragraph handout for the business communications Olympics as a Word document.


Student notes:

Congratulations!! We’ve reached the end of the semester. I am so grateful for your hard work, creativity and insight. Now, it’s time to look back on what we learned. This week, we’ll have our wrap-up party, where there will be fabulous prizes for the talent show (and <<name of instructor>> embarrassing <<pronoun>>self!), some dance party hangouts, and some other surprises.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN! Work with your pod to make your final mind map for Module 5. Remember: the goal of the mind map is to help you deepen your learning by inviting you to make connections between different elements of the course. You should find connections between the 4 elements of the course (Brenda Knights narratives, readings, interactive lecture, activities/ assignments) and between Module 1-5.

As an optional “reading,” I’ve uploaded a video called “Everything is a Remix.” This is an entertaining video about how everything from Apple to Star Wars came from remixing. It’s optional viewing, but it ties together many of the things we’ve been thinking about during the course.

For your participation activity, you’ll be writing a letter to a future CMNS 1140 student, offering some advice for how to do well in the course. If you give me permission, I’ll share your responses with next semester’s students. And for your bonus activity, acknowledge the hard word of your group members by sharing one thing you admire about each one of them.

As a reminder, here are the upcoming due dates:

Thank you again for your contributions to CMNS 1140. Keep in touch, and stay safe!

Readings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJPERZDfyWc

Participation Activity

To reflect what you learned (and help out next semester’s class), write a letter to a student who’s new to CMNS 1140. Give them some advice about what they need to know to be successful in the course.

Bonus Activity

Share something that you admire about each of your group members.

An illustration of a piece of paper with writing on it and a pencilInstructor’s Note

 For Week 13, you may choose to have a synchronous party to celebrate your learning. You can give students control over the party, but the following lesson plan contains activities that you could potentially include:

Activity: Talent Show

To celebrate our success and the community you’ve built, hold a business communication talent show. Tell students about the talent show in advance so that they can plan. Students can work in groups or individually to share something that relates to business communication. It could be a paragraph from their blog that they’re proud of, or they could make up a parody song, etc. There will be a prize (I use gift cards) for winning entry (as voted on by the class).

Activity: Business Communication Olympics

To review the course materials, hold a Business Communication Olympics.

This will have 3 rounds:

You can do the Olympics in groups or individually. Depending on whether you’re doing it individually or in a group, come up with a scoring system that awards a maximum of 5 points to a group/individual per round. Suggested scoring system:

Round #1: QuizMaster

Using the quiz platform of your choice (you can also make one in Powerpoint), host a quiz where students are scored on their percentage of correct answers. You can also give 1 point to the first person to type in the correct answer.

Quiz

What are the 3 parts of the writing process?

What is pathos?

What is an email frame?

We use quotation marks to show that…

In the phrase “Read the information security policy for more information,” the link should be put on:

CMAPP stands for

Which of the following sentences is in passive voice?

Round 2: Business Communication Pictionary

Using the multi-user whiteboard in BigBlueButton (Zoom etc), play Pictionary. Tell students that you will be giving them a word (through the private chat function). They have to draw the word, without spelling it out. If someone guesses their word, they get 1 point. The person who guessed also gets 1 point. Play to a maximum of 5 points. You will likely have to do an example of this. I use the word ‘email’ to do so. Here are some words you can use:

  1. Email
  2. Writing process
  3. Report
  4. Communication
  5. persuasion
  6. Question of the Day
  7. Run on sentence
  8. Audience analysis
  9. Paragraph
  10. Ethos
  11. Citation
  12. Blogging

Round 3: Paragraph Revision-O-Rama

In this activity, students will receive a paragraph that is badly organized.  The badly organized paragraph is contained in the handout for this module. Sentences are numbered, so that students can simply state the correct order of the sentences (1,5, 4, 3 etc) to show their answer, rather than having to copy and paste the entire paragraph. The first person/group to do it is the winner. 

1

Additional resources

The intent with this business communications course is for instructors to select and use the elements and resources that work best for them. In support of this perspective, we have provided additional resources (that are not actively incorporated into this course) in case they may be useful or of interest.

These additional resources are grouped together by topic in the index below. Click on a link to be taken to the corresponding resource (in this book or elsewhere, if it is external).

Audience analysis

Bad news messages (direct approach and indirect approach)

Business communication cases/scenarios

Communication skills

Document formatting

Employment communications (including cover letters and resumes)

Grammar, writing mechanics (including style, tone, and concision), and writing process

Icebreakers and wrap-ups

Intercultural communication

Oral communication

Persuasive messages

Reports

Researching, evaluating, and documenting sources (source use)

Routine and negative news messages