Version. 2.1 – Revised as of Jan. 19, 2006
BN 301: Calendar and Syllabus
BN 301 ~ Business Communication:
A Case-Study and Organizational Storytelling Approach

   Click here to download Word version of syllabus [available on request].

Instructor: Kathy Hansen
Contact info: DeLand Campus Office: 386.822.7438
Home: 386.734.1747, 386.740.8872
Cell (I don't use it much): 386.871.9490

Instant Messaging:
AOL/AIM: QCCareerClinic (I will try to keep this one consistently activated)
Yahoo: kathy0quintcareers0com



BN 301/Business Communication/Passport Class
Celebration Campus

Class Schedule

Class Day
Topic 1
Topic 2 Assignment
Assigned Reading
Week 1/
Dec. 10

Class Overview

Denning: Introduction;
Case Studies: Student Intro, Example Case, Example Case Analysis

Week 2/
Dec. 17

Virtual Teams

Form virtual teams Denning:
Ch. 7;
Case Studies:
Ch. 12
Click for Web readings

Dec. 24 and
Dec. 31: NO CLASS
(but see assignment and reading columns)

Work on conducting organizational culture/ communication
Case Studies:
Ch. 15
Click for Web readings
Week 3/
Jan. 7

Organizational Culture,
Part 1
Communicating Through
the Noise

DUE: Organizational culture/ communication
Ch. 1;
Case Studies:
Click for Web readings
Week 4/
Jan. 14
Group Process Communication

Cull stories from 10 workplace conversations and share with classmates
Case Studies:
Ch. 19;
Click for Web readings

Week 5/
Jan. 21
Organizational Culture,
Part 2

Conduct organizational culture/ communication
audit on your own organization; share stories (based on audit) with members of your virtual team.
Case Studies:
Ch. 8

Week 6/
Jan. 28
Communicating Organizational Change, Part 1

Choose either Ch. 4 or Ch. 5 from the Case Studies book and be prepared to write about your chosen chapter in class.
Ch. 8;
Case Studies:
Choose either Ch. 4, Ch. 5

Case Studies Ch. 25 in relation to Denning
Ch. 8

Week 7/
Feb. 4
Part 2 
Develop and share story designed to spark change in an organization with which you are affiliated
Ch. 3
Case Studies:
Ch. 6

Week 8/
Feb. 11
Crisis Communication/
Case Activity for Ch. 22
(to be announced a week or so before)
Ch. 6;
Case Studies:
Ch. 22

Week 9/
Feb. 18
Communicating for Organizational Entry, Part 1

Organizational Entry Activity:
Resume Q&A and Behavioral Interviewing exercise
Case Studies:
[Ch. 35 or
Ch. 38]
Click for Web reading

Week 10/
Feb. 25
Participatory Online Communication
(click for details)
Tell Your "Who You Are" Story In Class

Ch. 4;
Click for Web readings
Week 11/
March 4
Organizational Entry
Part 2

3-Part Round-Robin
Organizational Entry Activity
Case Studies:
Ch. 33;
Ch. 20
Click for Web readings
Week 12/
March 11
Virtual Team
Book Analysis
Virtual Team



    Course objective: This case-study and organizational-storytelling-based course focuses on contemporary issues in business/organizational communication, as well as the individual communications skills that enhance a person's professional and career development. Using the case-study method, the course teaches skills that can be applied to communications typically encountered in the business world and the ways that business people can enhance the clarity and effectiveness of the messages they communicate. Students will have ample opportunity to improve their writing skills, presentation skills, their ability to access and process information, their technological skills, and their ability to work collaboratively with teammates and organizational members.

    While the instructor will make every effort not to make changes in this syllabus and the schedule of activities, they are subject to change.

    Required Texts:
    • Case Studies for Organizational Communication: Understanding Communication Processes, 2nd Edition; Joann Keyton and
      Pamela Shockley-Zalabak (editors), Roxbury Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 1-931719-61-6, 2006 (referred to in this syllabus as Case Studies).
    • Web-based cases that accompany the Case Studies book:
      • Just Part of the Crop, and others as specified on this syllabus.
      • The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative by Stephen Denning, Jossey-Bass, 2005, ISBN: 078797675X (referred to in this syllabus as Denning)
      • Web-based readings as assigned in the weekly calendar above.          

      In addition, choose ONE of these texts to read for Book Analysis assignment
      (Click here for assignment details):
    • Apollo, Challenger, and Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program (A Study in Organizational Communication) by Phillip K. Tompkins, Emily V. Tompkins, Roxbury Publishing Company, 2004, ISBN: 1931719322
    • Communicating Change: Winning Employee Support for New Business Goals by T. J. Larkin, Sandar Larkin, McGraw-Hill, 1994, ISBN: 0070364524
    • The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling, by Annette Simmons, Perseus Books Group; 1st edition, 2002, ISBN: 0738206717

      Organizational Culture/Communication Interview
      Organizational Change Story
      Case Activity for Ch. 22 100
      "Who You Are" Story
      Resume 100
      Cover Letter
      Mock Interview
      Virtual Team Presentation 150
      Book Analysis
      Class attendance/participation/preparation 250, including in-class activities, and participation on Blackboard
      Total possible points from regular assignments 1,100 
      Plus/Minus grading applies: 98-100=A+; 93-97=A; 90-92=A-; 87-89=B+; 83-86=B; 80-82=B-; 77-79=C+; 73-76=C; 70-72=C-; 67-69=D+; 63-66=D; 60-62=D-; under 60 = F.

      Class Policies
      Class attendance/participation/preparation policy: Participation is critical to the quality of this class. Regular attendance is expected, especially since the class meets only once a week. Preparation is also essential. Much of the substance of the course will take the form of in-class discussion and case analysis. Please note that 150 points are allotted for attendance/participation/ preparation. The participation grade includes participation on Blackboard

      Late assignment policies: Assignments are expected on the due dates. Most assignments will be shared with classmates in class, so they need to be completed when due.

      E-mailing assignments or uploading to Blackboard's Digital Dropbox:  Electronic submission of assignments is acceptable in certain situations. Consult with instructor. 

      Policy/procedure for "firing" a virtual-team member: A virtual team that is having a problem with a team member who is not pulling his or her weight in the development of the group project or otherwise impeding the progress of the group project should follow the following procedure:

        1. As a group, the complaining group members should confront the problem group member to ensure that he/she knows he/she is causing a problem.
        2. If no improvement occurs, the complaining group members should alert instructor.
        3. Instructor will talk to all parties separately and then attempt to arbitrate the problem with all parties present
        4. If improvement still does not occur, complaining group members will inform instructor, and then group members will "fire" the problem group member. The fired group member will have to do an individual project, which will be worth only 75 percent of the available points for the team project.

    Academic Honesty policies: The Connections Handbook and the University’s Honor System detail numerous guidelines regarding ethical behavior in our academic environment. Any student found in violation of these guidelines will fail this course. You can review information on the Honor System at:

      Writing Expectations: Since this is a communications class, competent writing is expected.

      Discussion on Blackboard: Blackboard will be used for class announcements, reminders, syllabus changes, postings of helpful information, extra-credit assignments, and interactive discussion.

    Overview of assignments and requirements

    Virtual-Team Project
      You and 3-5 other BN301 students will form virtual teams that will work primarily without meeting face-to-face. Click here for more information. 150 total points.

    Individual Assignments

      Organizational Culture/Communication Interview: Conduct an interview with someone in an organization unfamiliar to you to develop a sense of the organization's culture and how the organization communicates its culture. Write a 3-5 page, double-spaced paper on what you learned from this interview. Click for more detailed explanation. 100 points.

      Organizational Change Story: Develop a story designed to motivate action and spark change in an organization with which you are affiliated. Click for more detailed explanation. 50 points.

      Case Activity for Case Studies Ch. 22: Specific instructions for this assignment will be posted on Blackboard a few weeks before the assignment is due. 100 points.

      "Who You Are" Story: Develop a story based on Denning's Chapter 4. Click for more detailed explanation. 50 points.

      Four Levels of Performance in BN 301 As with any class, you will get out of this class what you put into it. The more you put into the class, the better grade you will get, but more importantly, the greater understanding you will gain of business/organizational communication in your professional life. Only you can decide which of the following levels of performance you will strive for:

      Passive: This level represents doing the bare minimum to pass the class – doing all or most of the assignments passably, attending class with some regularity. Students achieving this level will attain a D or C in the class.

      Active: This level represents a higher degree of responsibility. Students at this level do all assignments – on time – attend class regularly, do at least some of the reading and participate moderately in class. Students achieving this level will attain a C or B in the class but may not possess quite the competitive edge of their counterparts in the business world.

      Evaluative: Students achieving this level can measure their performance and its consequences – not only with the A grade they are likely to receive but with the sharpened job-hunting skills they've developed by involving themselves in the career-development curriculum this class offers. Students at this level of performance do all the assigned reading, attend class faithfully, participate actively in class, perform all assignments well and on time, and may establish a connection with instructor outside class. Students at this level will be well equipped to communication in organizational contexts.

      TransformativeStudents achieving at this level often find the class to be a life-changing experience. Students at this level do all the assigned reading, attend class faithfully, participate actively in class, perform all assignments exceptionally well and on time, and establish a connection with instructor outside class. They go above and beyond what is expected of them and what their classmates do. Further, they take advantage of every opportunity the class offers, thus honing the highest level of communication skills and attaining an A or A+.