Course Syllabus

Endicott College

Beverly, Massachusetts


School of Business

Course Syllabus


Course No:                  BUS 270 01

Course Title:                Communicating in Business

Credits:                       3 credits

Class Type:                  Lecture

Weekly Contact:         Class meetings

Semester & Year:        Fall 2015


Time:                           Tuesday and Thursday 12:30pm – 1:45pm

Faculty:                       Linda Richelson

Telephone:                   603-785-8880 (cell)


Office Hours:              by appointment


Catalog Description

The focus of this course is on developing the critical oral and written managerial communication skills demanded in the workplace. Highlights include the need to identify audiences, their preferred communication styles, and identifies the characteristics of effective business communication. Students will develop their written, oral and interpersonal communication skills through a variety of exercises including crafting email, letters, memos, executive summaries, visual aids. Students will learn how to effectively deliver negative and positive business news and to communicate persuasively. They will develop proficiency in incorporating evidence and effectively structuring communications. Additionally, students will become adapt in the use of tables, figures, and graphs.


Learning Outcomes

The overall objective of this course is to enable students to communicate effectively in a professional work environment, to a range of audiences using a variety of communication styles and formats. In particular, at the completion of this course students should be able to:

1) Identify audience and appropriate tone and communication format

2) Write effective emails, letters, executive summaries, and memos

3) Appropriately incorporate and source evidence, and avoid plagiarism

4) Apply ethical frameworks in the resolution of dilemma and communicate controversial messages

5) Develop high-quality tables, figures, and graphs in support of oral and written communications

6) Deliver oral presentation supported by electronic presentation software

Teaching/Learning Strategies

A number of methods will be used in class in order to build students’ communication skills. The course will include in-class lectures and writing exercises, individual written homework assignments, and student presentations. Students will be provided feedback from faculty on assignments through a combination of verbal discussion and written comments. Students will have opportunities to revise and improve upon their work based on faculty and peer feedback. Students will be expected to have read the assigned materials, to come to class with written assignments completed, and be prepared to discuss them in class. Students will also be expected to provide feedback on other students’ work and to provide constructive ideas for improvement.  


Evaluation Methods

Students will develop a number of short written pieces related to the course lectures both in class and as homework. Additionally, students will work in teams to develop a persuasive case study written report and presentation focused on a topic of their choice. Students will be graded on their individual written work, and participation in in-class exercises. Evaluation criteria for the written work and the presentation will include:

1) Structure of thinking

2) Clarity and depth of ideas

3) Professional style

4) Communication and persuasion skills

5) Demonstrated understanding of the applicable concepts

6) Teamwork

7) Personal development


All written assignments must be ready (i.e., printed and stapled) at the beginning of the class for which it is due. Unstapled papers will not be accepted. Only hardcopies will be accepted, unless otherwise directed to upload through Canvas. The overall grade for the course will be calculated as follows as shown in the table below.



Percent of Grade

1.      Assignments (5 points each)


2.      In The News (5 points each)


3.      Case Study   (30 points)


4.      Final Portfolio (20 points)


5.      Class Participation (15 points)









Class participation both individually, and as part of the support system for your classmates and instructor(s) will count for 15% of the overall grade in the course. This does not mean that each student needs to speak at length during each class, but it means that when students do participate, they must demonstrate that they have done the work, and can effectively contribute to an outstanding learning environment.


In the News Presentations. Each student has been assigned two dates when they will make an informal presentation on a current business news story.  You must gather and select your business news story from one of the online sources provided on Canvas handout entitled ‘Online Sources for In the News’ or from a source that has been approved by the instructor. . The story must be from the current week, so you cannot recycle. You will be required to identify the source and date of the news story as well as a brief organized overview of the news story that demonstrates understanding of your audience. You will need to fully understand the story and its implication for major stakeholders (e.g., customers, shareholders, employees, executives) and be prepared to answer questions. You will also be required to post a copy of your outline to Canvas. More details for the assignment will be provided.  


Case Study. In teams, you will be required to select a company and issue identified by a news story from the class presentations. The group will create an 8-10 page written case study of the issue and develop and deliver a PowerPoint presentation for the class. The report will provide details about the industry that the company competes in as well as an understanding of the identified issue.


Written Assignments. Throughout the semester you will be required to compose written communications that demonstrate your understanding of the materials. Some class time may be provided for drafting of such communications.


Final Portfolio. Understanding how to receive and incorporate feedback is important to improving your business communication skills. For your final project you will be required to write a one-page (250 word minimum) reflection on your progress throughout the class. You will also rewrite 6 assignments that were given throughout the semester based upon feedback you were provided. *Make sure you save all of the feedback documents that you receive throughout the course because you will need them for your final portfolio. The final portfolio should include the graded version with comments, final draft, rough drafts, outlines and peer reviews for the following assignments:

  1. Self-introduction email
  2. Letter of recommendation
  3. Good news memo
  4. Bad news memo
  5. Persuasive exercise
  6. Informational Brochure



ADA Policy

If you as a student qualify as a person with a disability as defined in Chapter 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), you are strongly encouraged to register with the Center for Teaching and Learning. The Center for Teaching and Learning is located in the Diane M. Halle Library room 201 and online at


As a student registered with the Center for Teaching and Learning, it is your responsibility to present your accommodation letter to your instructor at the beginning of each semester.


Academic Integrity Statement

Students are required to abide by the Academic Integrity Policy of Endicott College.






























Course Outline




Readings (to be read prior to class)

 Activities Assignments




·         Introduction Exercise

·         Course Review

·         “BUG” exercise


In Class: Syllabus review; introductory presentation


Thursday 9/10/2015

·         Communication basics: strategy and structure

T&B: Ch.  1

M&H: Ch. 1,5

Due: Bring in a news article for “In the News”

In the News: class discussion, work on the news exercise



Tuesday 9/15/2015

·         Three Step Writing Process

·         Step 1: Planning Business Messages


T&B: Ch. 4

M&H: Ch. 3&4

Due: In The News posted on Canvas by 8am and bring hard copy to class

In the News: (2-4) individual presentations

In-Class Exercise: The informational brochure - #6


Thursday 9/17/2015

·         Step 2: Writing Business Messages

·         Style and tone

·         Grammar, ethics and etiquette

·         Introduction to Professor (Due: Class 6)

T&B: Ch. 5&6

M&H: Ch. 4


In-Class Exercise: writing an informational brochure; re-writing sentences – positive/active


Tuesday 9/22/2015

·         Step 3: Completing Business Messages

·         Purpose of Communication

·         Informing messages

·         Informal/formal communication

·         Business email, IM, and texting

T&B: Ch.7


Munter, M., Rogers, P, & Rymer, J. (2003). Business Email: Guidelines for Users. Business Communications Quarterly, 66(1):26-40


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: Begin/continue draft to professor


Thursday 9/24/2015

·         Being an effective peer evaluator

·         Assignment: Letter of Recommendation  - #2 (Due class 8)


Due: Assignment #6 – final copy (Post on Canvas by 8am )


In-Class Exercise: Peer review exercise; grammar exercise


Tuesday 9/29/2015

·         Informing messages/responding to requests

·         Writing routine positive messages

T&B: Ch. 8


Due: In the News (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)

In the News:  (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: writing a positive message exercise - #3; grammar exercise


Thursday 10/1/2015

·         Informing messages- writing routine negative messages

·         Assignment #3: Good News Communication (Due: Class 10)

T&B: Ch. 9


Due: Assignment #2 Letter of Recommendation (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In-Class Exercise: writing a negative message exercise - #4; grammar exercise


Tuesday 10/6/2015

·         Format and layout of business documents

T&B: Ch. Appendix A


Due: In the News (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)

In the News: (2-4) individual presentations




Thursday 10/8/2015

·         Peer evaluation: informative good news/bad news memo

·         Assignment #4; Bad News Communication (Due: Class 12)


Due: Assignment #3 (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In-Class Exercise: peer evaluation of good news memos; grammar exercise


Tuesday 10/13/2015

·         Writing persuasive messages

T&B: Ch. 10


Due: In the News (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: persuasion exercise


Thursday 10/15/2015

·         Ethical frameworks

·         Assignment #5: Persuasive Messages (Due: Class 14)

T&B: Ch.

M&H: Ch.



Due: Assignment #4 , Bad News Memo (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In-Class Exercise: peer review bad news memo


Tuesday 10/20/2015

·         Peer evaluation; controversial/eth-ical recommendation report (face to face)


Due: In the News (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: ethical exercise; grammar exercise


Thursday 10/22/2015

·         Planning, writing, completing reports

·         Assignment #7: Ethical Dilemma (Due Class 16)

T&B: Ch. 11, 12 & 13


Due: Assignment #5 Persuasive Exercise (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In-Class Exercise: peer review persuasive messages; grammar exercise


Tuesday 10/27/2015

·         Presenting evidence – citing sources

·         APA format/developing a reference

T&B: Appendix B


Due: In the News(post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: APA format/article source exercise; grammar exercise


Thursday 10/29/2015

·         Reporting on companies

·         Assignment #8 – writing reports assignment (Due: Class 18)


Due: Assignment #7 Ethical Dilemma (post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: peer review of ethical dilemma exercise



Tuesday 11/3/2015

·         Communicating quantitative information – charts, figures, tables

T&B: Ch. 14

M&H: Ch. 6

Due: In the News(post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: individual presentations of assignment #5


Thursday 11/5/2015

·         Charts & Graphs

·         Assignment #9 – Charts and Graphs (Due: Class 20)


Due: Writing Reports Assignment


In-Class Exercise: Begin charts and graphs assignment


Tuesday 11/10/2015

·         Charts & Graphs

T&B: Ch.

M&H: Ch.

 Due: In the News(post on Canvas by 8am and bring card copy to class)


In the News: (2-4) individual presentations


In-Class Exercise: grammar exercise; begin work on case study


Thursday 11/12/2015

·         Citing sources


Due: Charts & Graphs assignment


In-Class Exercise: peer review of charts and graphs exercise; grammar exercise; work on case study


Tuesday 11/17/2015

·         Presentation Skills

·         Case study; final tips of successful assignments



In-Class Exercise: final drafting of  case study


Thursday 11/19/2015

·         Presentation skills

·         Peer evaluation: case study (Group written)



In the News: (2-4) individual presentations




Tuesday 11/24/2015

Thanksgiving Break




Thursday 11/26/2015

Thanksgiving Break




Tuesday 12/1/2015

·         Group Presentations


Due: Case Study Written Report (Post on Canvas by 8am)


Thursday 12/3/2015

·         Group Presentations




Tuesday 12/8/2015

·         Group Presentations




Thursday 12/10/2015

·         Review for Final





·         Final exam



Attendance Policy & General Behavior

Given the importance of class participation, students are expected to attend all classes and behave as though the class is a professional commitment. As such, students are expected to show up and be fully prepared to participate during class.


One absence may be permitted if the student receives permission, in advance from the professor. Personal circumstances will be taken into account; however, failure to attend classes will seriously jeopardize a student’s grade. Failure to attend two or more classes could result in dismissal from the course.  


Beyond attendance itself, students are expected to be on time, or early. The school provides for a “15 minute” rule where students must wait in the classroom for 15 minutes if the instructor is late. In fairness, a student may be late one (1) time, without explanation and without penalty, provided that entry to the classroom does not prove to be a significant disruption. Also, students are expected to keep all appointments that are made with faculty or administration of the College. Personal circumstances will be considered, but as with failure to attend class, failure to be punctual for classes or for appointments will lead to a reduction in a student’s grade. A pattern of such failures will lead to a warning, and may lead to a lowered grade or even dismissal from the class. Late submission of assignments may be submitted for feedback, but will not receive credit unless prior approval is received.


Portable electronic devices in the classroom

  • Laptops will be used extensively to complete the assignments for this course. Please bring your laptops to class with you. Please refrain for distracting activities while your laptops are being used in class.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices are not to be used in class with the exception of calculator or calculator/calendar features when appropriate


Required Readings



Excellence in Business Communication (10th Edition), Thill & Bovee - Prentice Hall - ISBN-10: 0-13- 610376-6, ISBN-13: 978-0-13-610376-9.


Guide to Managerial Communication: Effective Business Writing and Speaking (10th Edition), Munter & Hamilton– Pearson Prentice Hall - ISBN-10: 0-13-297133-X, ISBN-13: 978-0-13-297133-1



********** Syllabus subject to revision **********

Course Summary:

Date Details Due