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BUS 850 - Business Communications C01

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Virtual Classroom
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Nerissa Knapp
Course Dates:
05/04/2021 - 07/27/2021

Required Course Materials:
Business Communication: Process and Product, 6th Brief Canadian Edition, Guffey, Loewy & Griffin. Nelson. 2019.
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:

Canada’s business environment requires that business people communicate effectively, persuasively and ethically in written, verbal and interpersonal communications. During this course, students will learn how to plan, write and review a variety of business communications vehicles from presentations to letters to informational reports and business proposals.

Using a combination of teaching methods – lectures, discussion, small group, in-class writing and editing projects, and in-class tutorials, this course will help develop participant’s critical thinking and analysis, research, writing, editing and presentation skills. Special emphasis will be placed on developing appropriate business language skills (spelling, grammar, punctuation, voice and tone).

Any business person planning to grow in their career, who wants to be perceived as a credible and effective communicator, should take this course.

Learning Outcomes:

 Upon completion of this course, learners will: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic communication theories
  • Recognize the components of a communication strategy for business
  • Critique communication strategies and techniques for business situations and contexts (group communication, listening, non-verbal communication)
  • Recognize the influence of culture & diversity on communication
  • Compose effective business writing projects in a variety of formats 
  • Identify, select and compile information using appropriate technology and information systems
  • Apply ethical standards of business communications to coursework
Course Evaluation

The final grade is calculated based on the following components:

·         Effective Presentations (20%)

·         Business Writing and Revising (10%)

·         Business Report (30%)

·         Change Management Communications Plan (30%)

·         Discussion Board Participation (10%)

Assignment 1 - Effective Business Presentations (20%)

·         Assignment 1 is a team-based assignment, working in teams, as assigned.

·         Prepare and deliver a 20-minute presentation via video conferencing tools (WebEx, Zoom).

Assignment 2 – Business Writing and Revising (10%)


·        Assignment 2 is an individual assignment.

·         Revise and rewrite a previously written document, incorporating the 3 x 3 writing process.

·         Include all editing marks and show the final revised document.

Assignment 3 – Business Report (30%)

·         Assignment 3 is an individual assignment. Write a formal analytical business report.

Assignment 4 (2 parts) - Change Management Communications Plan (30%)

·         Assignment 4 is a team-based assignment.

1.       Change Management Communications Plan (20%)

Construct a brief Change Management Communications Plan that embodies the 3 x 3 writing process and a communication planning formula. Incorporate at least 5 samples of associated business communications that represent effective use of at least 5 different communications channels (i.e. corporate intranet blog post, company e-blast, 3-minute speech to employees, newsletter article, letter to suppliers to name a few.)


2.       Change Management Communications Presentation (10%)

Deliver a 25-minute presentation (including PowerPoint) to the class via video conferencing tools (Webex, Zoom), presenting the Communications Plan and a rationale for each change management communication activity, its merits and its message.


**Online Attendance is mandatory to participate and observe classmates’ presentations**

Details of the scope of the assignments will be posted on the class portal.


It is expected that all students will contribute to the learning environment and will actively participate in class, share insights and relevant examples, and ask questions of one another.

Participation (10%)

Students are expected to articulate their thoughts by applying the course material to relevant real-life examples, references and resources for the benefit of everyone. Participation is via online discussion boards.

Course Format:
This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in business and promote the application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.). This course emphasizes active student participation in classroom discussions. Prior to each class, it is expected that students will read the assigned chapters from the text and weekly assigned readings.
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late assignments will be subject to a 2% per day late penalty (includes weekends and holidays) for up to seven (7) days. After this date, no assignments will be accepted and a grade of zero (0) will be applied.  Extensions for course work must be approved by the instructor before the due date (see Academic Regulations below), and will be granted for illness or emergencies only. Students may be asked to submit supporting documentation for an extension request.  

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):

In accordance with McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or bythe date specified.

Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy.

Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48 hourwindow will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).

Academic Integrity
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in-group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations. 
Academic Accommodations:


Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or  to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous or Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students will need to contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and other coursework. It is the student’s responsibility to contact McMaster Continuing Education to discuss accommodations related to examinations. (if applicable)

On-line Elements:

Conduct Expectations:

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the “Code”). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in-person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students’ access to these platform.

Copyright and Recording:

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students who wish to record sessions need to acquire permission from the instructor. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

In this course, we will be using a web-based service ( to reveal plagiarism. Students will be expected to submit their work electronically to and in hard copy so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty. Students who do not wish to submit their work to must still submit a copy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to McMaster Academic Integrity Policy.

Course Changes:

The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.

Extreme Circumstances:

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email. 

Course Withdrawal Policy:

Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (

Storm Closure Policy:
In the event of inclement weather, the Centre for Continuing Education will abide by the University's Storm Closure Policy:, and will only close if the University is closed. All in-class courses, exams and room bookings by internal and external clients will be cancelled if the Centre for Continuing Education is closed. On-line courses will place as scheduled. 
Grading Scale:



Equivalent Grade Point

Equivalent Percentages








































Course Schedule:



Learning Goals


Readings / Resources


Instructor Led Webinars are presented throughout the course.




Business Communications in the Digital Age


Chapter 1



McMaster's Academic Integrity Resources





Professionalism: Team, Meeting, Listening, Nonverbal, and Etiquette Skills

Online Discussion Forum


Chapter 2


Intercultural Communication and Diversity


Online Discussion Forum


Chapter 2 (continued) and

Chapter 3




Effective Business Presentations



Assignment 1

Effective Business Presentations - PPT


Chapter 14



Assigned readings posted in

A2L for related week.


Business Presentations

Assignment 1

Online Presentations

Chapter 14 (continued)



Planning Business Messages

Online Discussion Forum

Chapters 4 and 5


Revising Business Messages


Online Discussion Forum

Chapter 5 (continued) and Chapter 6



Workplace Communication – Business Writing

Short Workplace Messages and Digital Media



Assignment 2 Business Writing and Revising



Chapter 6 (continued) and Chapter 7


Business Reports - Formal

Online Discussion Forum

Chapters 13 and 11



Business Reports


Informal Business Reports

Online Discussion Forum

Assignment 3

Business Report

Chapter 13 (continued)

Chapter 12



Positive Messages


Negative Messages


Change Management Communications

Assignment 4

Change Management Communications Plan


Report and PPT


Chapters 8 and 9



Change Management Communications

Assignment 4

Online Presentations


Change Management Communication Plan