Bus 92 Syllabus Fall 2005




Business 92


























Course Syllabus & Materials Handout




Instructor: T Watkins



Fall 2005


Bus 92,  Business Communication


Tues-Thur / 8:00 – 9:30 am / Room 603



Instructor: Professor Thom Watkins    

Voice Mail: (707)864-7000  ext 374                                 E-mail: Thom.Watkins@solano.edu

Text:  Business Communication - Process & Product, 5th Edition; Guffey


Purpose of the Course.


To study communication theory in planning and preparation of various types of letters, reports, resumes and oral presentations, along with analysis of group dynamics, symbolic communication, interview techniques and listening skills.  To stress audience analysis style, appearance and the importance of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary.  Focus on gender and cultural communication issues and strategies in the workplace.  Critical thinking is encouraged through written and oral assignments and case studies on business communication and ethical issues.  It is hoped that this improved understanding will increase your appreciation of the importance of communication and will assist you in planning both your academic program and future career.


Goals of the course.


1.                   To improve your ability to plan and write business letters, memos and short reports effectively.

2.                   To improve your ability to prepare and deliver presentations effectively.

3.                   To improve your career development skills and strategies, including personal assessment, resume preparation and interview techniques.

4.                   To improve your understanding of cultural and cross-cultural communication problems and solutions.

5.                   To improve your awareness and understanding of the numerous subtle, and often subconscious, messages and symbolic statements we communicate daily.



Method of Instruction.


1.                   I plan to use a combination of any or all of the following instructional methods: lecture, discussion student case analysis, controversial topic debates, and films.


2.                   Lectures will not merely repeat information from the text.  Some concepts in the text will be emphasized to the exclusion of others, and considerable additional material will be presented which is not in the text.


3.                   This is a CSU transfer course.  I will teach this course with the same reading and writing requirements and the same grading standards.  CSU level academic ability and performance is expected from each student in the class.


4.                   Students are responsible for the information presented and/or assigned in class.  Although listed in the Course Syllabus, the assignments and related due dates are subject to change as the course progresses.  If you miss a class, get the information from another class member.  It is your responsibility to find out what you missed.


Class Attendance and Participation.


Students must attend class in order to participate in student-involvement activities.  I expect each student to be prepared for each class lesson.  That is, be prepared to ask questions, answer questions, and otherwise participate in discussion of the topics for that class.


Consistent and timely attendance is expected.  Past experience indicates a direct relationship between regular attendance and passing grades.


Read and understand the attached page titled Student Responsibilities, Attendance and Participation extracted from the Solano Community College Catalog.


Please turn off all cell phones and pagers before entering the classroom.  Activation of these devices disrupts the class and the learning process





All written assignments, with the exception of Written Assignments #1, #2, and #7, are found in the Course Syllabus & Materials Handout.


All written assignments are due on the dates assigned and must be turned in order to receive credit for the course.  In fairness to those students who turn in the written assignments on time, students will be assessed a grade penalty for those assignments turned in late. Late assignments will lose one full grade for each class session that they are late.


Review the attached MLA Citation Format put together by Dr. Quentin Carter of the Solano College Library.  This handout is useful to show how to properly cite from books, periodicals, Internet resources and more.  The handout is in PDF format, so you need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software in order to use it.

It can be accessed from the Library’s Home Page: http://www.solano.edu/library/.




The Oral Presentation must be presented during the period assigned.  As there will be no time for a make-up period for the presentations, a student’s failure to make his or her presentation at the assigned time will result in no points earned for the presentation.





Examinations will be taken when scheduled.  There will be no make-up sessions.  For all exams, students will need a Scantron with a No.2 pencil.





Grades and Grading Criteria.


Grades will be based on your performance on the following:


1.                   Written Assignments -------------------- 52%

                        #1 –   2%

                        #2 –   8%

                        #3 –   8%

                        #4 –   8%

                        #5 –   8%

                        #6 – 10%

                        #7 --  8%


2.         Introductory Speech----------------------  4%


3.         Oral Presentation ------------------------ 14%


4.         Mid-Term Examination------------------- 15%


5.                   Final Examination ----- ------------------ 15%



The following grading criteria will be in effect for this class:


            A = 90 - 100


            B = 80 - 89


            C = 70 - 79


            D = 60 - 69


            F = 59 and below


Extra Credit.



There are plenty of opportunities during the semester for you to achieve the grade that you desire providing that you are willing to put in the effort.  So please do not ask.



Student Responsibilities


Attendance and Participation


Students must attend the first meeting of their classes each semester in order to verify their class enrollments. Students failing to appear are withdrawn from class rolls.


Regular attendance and participation is required of all students enrolled in courses and laboratories at Solano College. This includes regular attendance, completion of examinations, assignments, participation in class activities and discussions. Instructors shall provide students with written statements describing course requirements, grading standards and course prerequisites.


Regular attendance is an obligation assumed by every student at the time of registration. Absences per semester should not exceed the number of hours or the number of days, as determined by the instructor, that a class meets per week. Absences in excess of the maximum may result in students being dropped from classes or having their grades lowered. Students who fail to attend their classes may be dropped by their instructors no later than the end of 62.5 percent of the full-term class, short- term class, or summer session.


Students have the responsibility for verifying their enrollment status. If students withdraw from classes, it is their responsibility to make sure that drop cards have been submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records or that they have completed the withdrawal via RSVP telephone or online services.


It is the responsibility of students to know the status of their attendance records and to complete all academic work missed due to absences.


Compliance with the above regulations may be waived in the presence of verifiable extenuating circumstances including accidents, illnesses, shift changes and temporary changes in military assignments. Students who are dropped from classes because of unsatisfactory attendance and/or participation may petition their instructors for class reinstatement. Instructors may reinstate a student by signing an add card and writing “Reinstate” on the card. The add card must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records.




Withdrawal from Classes


Students are responsible for officially dropping from classes and verifying that drop cards are submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records or complete the drop process by using the RSVP telephone system or web online services.


A student may withdraw from a class during the fast four weeks of instruction by filing a drop card with the Office of Admissions and Records or complete the drop process by using the RSVP Telephone system or web online services. Courses dropped by the end of the first four weeks of instruction will not appear on the student's record.


Courses dropped after 30% of instruction through the end Of 62.5% of the term/session will be recorded as a “W” on the student's record. A student must petition the Academic Council for a “W” after the last day to drop if extenuating circumstances apply. Documentation shall be required.


Short-term or summer session courses, which are less a full semester in length, dropped during the first 30% of the class will not appear on the students record Courses dropped 31% to 62.5% of the term/session will be recorded as a “W” on the student's record. Courses dropped after 62.5% of the term/session maybe recorded as a “W” if extenuating circumstances apply. The student must petition the Academic Council and provide documentation to verify cases of accidents, illnesses, or other circumstances beyond the control of the student.




Withdrawal from College


Students who find it necessary to drop all courses during the semester are required to fill out a Withdrawal Card at the Office of Admissions and Records or the withdrawal using the RSVP telephone system or web online services Seeing a counselor is advised before deciding to withdraw. It is important to clear any debts owed to the College before leaving the College. Failure to withdraw properly could result in a failing grade.



SCC Catalog 2005-2006.


Bus 92 Course Schedule – Fall 2005






Tuesday                                             Thursday


                             23rd                                                                  24th

                        Intro to Course                                                      Chaps 1



               Chap 2

          Intro Speeches

            Written Assgt #1 due






Tuesday                                             Thursday



                                                                                                Chap 2


                           6th                                                                     8th

                        Chap 2                                                                Chap 3


                           13th                                                                  15th

                        Chaps 3 & 4                                                       Chap 4


                            20th                                                                 22nd

                        Exam #1                                                           Chap 5

                        Chaps 1 thru 4                                   


                            27th                                                                  29th

                        Chap 6                                                                 Chap 7






Tuesday                                             Thursday


                            4th                                                                     6th

                        Exam #2                                                              Chap 8

Chaps 5 thru 7                                   


                           11th                                                                   13th

                        Chap 9                                                                Chap 9

                        Chaps 1 thru 9


Bus 92 Course Schedule – Fall 2005, cont.



OCTOBER, cont’d.



Tuesday                                             Thursday


                            18th                                                                  20th

                        Chaps 10                                                           Chap 11

Written Assgt #2 due                                     Written Assgt #3 due


                            25th                                                                  27th

                        Exam #3                                                           Chap 12

                        Chaps 8 thru 11                                  Written Assgt #4 due





Tuesday                                             Thursday


                           1st                                                                      3rd

                        Chap 13                                                               Chap 14

                             8th                                                                    10th

                        Exam #4                                                           Chap 15

                        Chaps 8 thru 11

                        Written Assgt #5 due


                            15th                                                                   17th

===============Individual Oral Presentations==============


                           22nd                                                                   24th

                        Chap 16                                                            <Thanksgiving>




               Chap 16

                        Written Assgt #6 due






Tuesday                                             Thursday



                                                                                                Chaps 16



                        Chap 16           

            Written Assgt #7 due


Note:  Final Exam is Thursday, Dec 15th, 8:00 – 10: a.m., in Room 603





Written Assignment #1: Writing An Introductory Assignment

v       Write an essay on “Where Do I Want to Be in Five Years.”


Written Assignment #2: Writing A Direct Request - (Chapter 9)

v       Requesting a Letter of Reference


Written Assignment #3: Writing a Good-News Message – (Chapter 9)

v       Revising A Positive Letter


Written Assignment #4: Writing a Persuasive Message – (Chapter 10)

v       “The Nirvana Alarm Clock”


Written Assignment #5: Writing a Bad-News Message – (Chapter 11)

v       “Notifying A Program Director That A Film Is Not Available”


Written Assignment #6: Writing a Formal Business Report – (Chapters 12. 13, & 14)

v       “The Telephone Answering Machine”


Written Assignment #7: Writing a Cover Letter – (Chapter 16)

v       Write a Cover Letter for A Resume


Written Assignment #3


Editing & Revising A Positive Message


One of your jobs as director of purchasing for City College is to maintain a list of approved vendors.  To be on the list, vendors must comply with all local, state, and federal laws.  You buy only from approved vendors.

You are now responding to a request from Amelia Kemp that her printing company be reinstated on the list.  The company was suspended a month ago for paying less than minimum wage, but she didn’t own the business then.  A subordinate has prepared this draft for your signature.


Dear Ms. Kemp:

This is in response to your letter of last week appealing your suspension as a printing vendor for City College because of non-compliance with the prevailing wage requirement.


I have had both our administrative and legal staff review the circumstances surrounding the suspension, and they have recommended that it be reduced to 30 days.  Their recommendations based strongly on the fact that you were not the owner of the business when the violation occurred which resulting in your suspension.  In addition, your letter of last week promised that you will be in compliance for all future jobs printed for City College.


Since the letter informing you of the suspension was dated 33 days ago, this means that you are immediately reinstated as an approved vendor.  My office, however, reserves the right to review future jobs performed by your company to assure that you comply with the wage requirements and other requirements.


If you have any questions or concerns about this action, please feel free to contact me.



You know that this is a terrible letter.  Both organization and style can be much better.

Assignment: Edit and Revise the letter.


Written Assignment #4


The Nirvana Alarm Clock

Robert Underwood, Ball State University


At your new job with a local advertising agency, you have been given the assignment of writing a persuasive letter to market the Nirvana Alarm Clock.


According to the list provided to you, these are the features of the clock:

1.     Automatically resets the alarm for the next day.

2.     Has a sturdy, nontip base.

3.     Has a 5-decibel buzzer.

4.     Has a snooze alarm.

5.     Is available in the following seven colors: red, pink, blue, black, purple, green, and orange.

6.     Is constructed of durable polystyrene.

7.     Has a luminous face and projects the correct day and time on the ceiling.

8.     Measures 6 inches by 6 inches by 2 inches.

9.     Costs $21.95, plus $3.00 for shipping and handling.

10. Comes with an unconditional 2-year guarantee.


·        Thousands of these clocks have been sold nationally, but your target market will be college students.  Write a sales letter built around a central theme.  You might not want to include all of the features listed.




Written Assignment #5


Notifying A Program Director That A Film Is Not Available


You’re the Energy “Information Specialist” for the local gas and electric company.  As a public relations strategy, you offer ?films and speakers free to any organization.  These films and talks present you in a good light to the public and help you get your points across.  Many people do not feel very positively about their utility companies, and you want all the goodwill you can get.

Today you’ve received a letter from Carolyn Minocha, Vice-President of the Central High School Parent-Teacher Association, asking to reserve the film The Energy-Efficient Home for the PTA’s meeting on the sixth of next month.  Unfortunately, The Energy-Efficient Home is your most popular film, and all three copies are booked for the first two weeks of next month.  Indeed, it is so popular that people who need a specific date would do well to request it six to eight weeks in advance.  Already, one copy has been reserved for the first week of the month following next month.

You do have two films on somewhat related topics which are still available for the sixth of next month: Landscaping for Energy Savings (two copies) and The Heat Pump: Is It for You? (one copy).  However, you allocate films on a first-come, first-served basis, and you don’t know how long they’ll be available.


Assignment: Write a letter to Ms. Minocha.



·                 Should you recommend an alternative film to Ms. Minocha when you cannot guarantee that it will still be available when she gets back to you?

·        Are you justified in holding one or both films for her?  For how long?

·        How long is it until the PTA’s meeting?

·        What implications does that length of time have in terms of finding a program?

·        What can you do in your letter to build goodwill?

Written Assignment #6


The Telephone Answering Machine

Marcia Mascolini, Western Michigan University


Andy smith runs Andy’s Plumbing Service out of his home.  His business is small, and he does not have a secretary.  Instead, he uses an answering machine on the family telephone to accept messages from customers when he is out on a call and his wife is at work.  Andy believes that the answering machine is a necessity for anyone who runs a one-person operation like his; however, he is not happy with the recorded customer calls that he has been receiving.

This is the greeting, recorded by Andy’s wife, that customers hear when they call Andy’s number: “Hello.  You’ve reached the Smiths’.  When you hear the tone, please leave your message.  We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.”


These are 10 typical calls recorded on the answering machine:

1.     Hi, Andy.  This is Dave.  Call me back when you get a chance.

2.     (No message)

3.     Hello…. Um…I’m having trouble…. You know that new pipe you put in the basement last week?  The cold water pipe?  Well, something’s wrong with it.  It looks sort of funny.  I’m really worried.  Should I shut off the water?  I can’t shut off the water because I just put a load of clothes in, and the kids are all home from school sick.  I don’t know what to do.  It’s getting wet, sort of dripping.  I’m over on Main Street, the white house on the corner.  Please come over as soon as you can.

4.     (No message)

5.     (No message)

6.     (No message)

7.     Hello?  Andy’s Plumbing?  Please call me at 555-1212.  Thanks.

8.     –2325.  Please call this evening after 6 p.m.

9.     (No message)


Written Assignment #6, cont’d.


10. Hi. Andy.  You were right about the faucet that you said that was going to go out on me.  It went.  Give me a call when you get a chance.  It’s Charlie Ensminger.  Call me at work if it’s before five.





1.     Analyze the greeting on Andy’s phone.  What specific suggestions could you give for improving it?

2.     What do you think accounts for the large number of calls that people place without leaving messages?

3.     Analyze the messages that people have left on Andy’s answering machine.  Why would each one cause Andy additional work?

4.     If you had a plumbing problem that you wanted Andy to fix, what specific message would you leave to ensure his speedy response?