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Course Description
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Business Communications
University of Westminster
London, England

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Business 200 English 4 50 N/A

Module Code: 4ECQ554

Communication is an important concept in business and the ability to communicate is an important skill. This class examines the various ways individuals and companies communicate through a variety of media. It imparts to students the skills necessary for effective communication. Emphasis is placed on the communication skills via: the written word, presentations, non-verbal communication, representation and visual communication. Developing relevant skills in the use of ICT is an integral part of the class.

The class aims to:
· develop the ability to communicate effectively in business
· develop the ability of students to reflect on their learning
· develop the ability to select and use the various technologies used in business communication particularly of the written word

On completion of this class, the successful student should be able to:
1. identify and use technology appropriate to business communication.
2. structure and present pieces of written work in a variety of different formats.
3. structure, present and critically evaluate an oral presentation having selected and justified the appropriate technology.
4. describe the factors which contribute to effective communications in business
5. identify gaps in their skills and knowledge, reflect on their learning and on the process of carrying out the tasks.

Methods of Communication: -e.g. letters, memos, reports, fax, email, presentations, telephone, multimedia. Achieving the Task: time management, prioritisation, listening skills, asking questions etc. note-taking, referencing, evaluating. Reflection on Learning: personal development, strengths and weaknesses, group dynamics.

The syllabus comprises a number of different elements which contribute to the overall learning on the class which are supported by web pages for each element. Sessions will use a blended learning approach to include lectures, seminars: both lab and classroom based, presentations, debate, formative task exercises, research, individual and group work to facilitate problem based learning and active learning reinforced by reflective analysis.

The approach used in the in-class assessment is to get students to work with the widest range of methods of communications as is practicable. For pragmatic reasons this concentrates on written communication. The approach used is to set a number of formative tasks followed by summative tasks which test the same skills area after the student has received feedback and had the opportunity to reflect on their original effort. The in class assessment is presented in the form of a test which assesses learning outcomes 1,2 and 5. The end of class assessment take the form of an in class presentation since it is believed this gives the opportunity for students to demonstrate in succinct form that they have established the links between the theory of the lectures and the practice of the seminars / workshops. The presentations are designed to assess learning outcomes 1, 3 and 4. The in-class assessment is an in-class test which will be completed by the end of the summer school’s three weeks.

In-class assessment: 50%
(in form of test consisting of a number of questions which will vary from year to year)
End-of-class assessment: 50%
(in form of a presentation)
The pass mark for this class is 40%. A minimum mark of 35% in each component of the assessment (in-class and end-of-class) is required.

Learning outcome 1 is assessed in both the in–class and end of class assessments. Students will be assessed on their selection and justification of the appropriateness, technology and tone of the communications they have produced. Outcome 2 will be main outcome assessed by the test where marks are awarded for the content, English, tone, presentation and effectiveness of a number of different ways of communicating. Outcome 3 will be assessed formatively during the class where the effectiveness, structure, use of the technology and awareness of good practice involved in delivering a presentation will be judged. Students will be required to justify the rationale they have adopted in structuring a presentation as part of the summative assessment of the end of class assessment. Outcome 4 will be assessed as part of the end of class examination and will test acquisition of the concepts and knowledge principally derived from the lecture content of the class. Outcome 5 will be assessed through the reflective element of the portfolio and to a small degree in examination questions which require students to comment on the relevance of skills acquired in the class.

Essential Reading
Stanton, N. (2004) Mastering Communication (4th edition) Palgrave, England

Further Reading
Blundel, R (1998) Effective Business Communication Prentice Hall
Cottrell, S. (2003) Skills for Success: The Personal Development Handbook. Palgrave England
Guirdham, M. (2005) Communicating across cultures at work (2nd edn) Palgrave England
Northedge, A (1994) The good study guide Open University.
Warner, T. (1996) Communication Skills for Information Systems. Pitman Publishing.
Williams, R. (1990) The Mac is not a typewriter Peachpit Press


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