Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Business Communication Course Redesigned: All Written and Oral Communication Assignments Based on Building Career Skills

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Business Communication Course Redesigned: All Written and Oral Communication Assignments Based on Building Career Skills

Article excerpt


To measure whether the proposed changes and additions to the business communications course added significant value, thirty--former business communications students (all of them graduates and employed; many serving as directors, managers and executives of companies) were emailed a survey letter asking them to compare the original course to the new course. Tables with the original course content and the new course content were included along with a side-by-side comparison table for clarifying additions and changes. In summary, the letter asked the former students to: Note the differences between Table 1 and Table 2. In Table 2, section B is significantly different. SWOT, informational interviews, and networking assignments have been added. Do you believe the additions, in Table 2, add value to the course? Why or why not? Please write your comments regarding the additions found in Table 2 (Part B) in an email reply.

Three of the emails were returned as undeliverable. Twenty-three of the twenty-seven, emailed business students responded to the survey. Twenty-two of the twenty-three respondents indicated that the new course added significant value. In addition to the overall positive responses, SWOT., mock interviews and networking were specific components of the new course that received the greater part of the positive feedback. And, while the bulk of the comments, regarding the components of the new course were positive, a few respondents noted that, in their opinion, some of the new course components could be modified; and that some components may be less important than others. Some respondents offered constructive suggestions for improving the course. Collectively, there were twenty-two pages of comments. Some of the more consistent and more salient comments are included below. In a few cases, respondents had very different views (please see, for example, 2. and .8)

1. I enjoy the changes that you are making in the program and think that they will benefit many students to come. Memos have become irrelevant, so I am glad that section is changing. I love the SWOT analysis. While many people talk about this analysis, few show how it can change a company. With the SWOT analysis, I think it would be vital to have students write a business plan using their own analysis.

2. I have to say that I would prefer the Table 1 version. As a student, I would have hated doing the interviews, searches for job announcements, mock interviews and community service. All those elements are important, but possibly for a class focused on career placement, not this class.

3. After reviewing the letter, Table 1, Table 2 and the comparison document, I feel the updated course curriculum would better prepare a business student for a future career. The updated curriculum seems less hypothetical and more focused on helping the student understand who they are. Businesses are taking a more informal approach to writing.... When I ask professional copywriters their thoughts on rules regarding grammar, their answer is always, "Grammar rules are very vague and ever changing. As long as you maintain consistency and avoid spelling errors, you will be safe." ... A good portion of these students may already have careers. To help the working student, have them write something for their company.

4. I like how you have replaced the "contrived" with real experiences, real reflections, real self-awareness, real aspirations and real steps to obtain the desired outcome. Too many students graduate and fall into jobs that they don't want, that don't fit their natural abilities and ultimately don't bring fulfillment. Also, I would encourage the instructor to consistently remind students that nearly all business leaders have an open door policy when it comes to helping students. Nothing is more American than helping a student. In contrast, once a student graduates almost no insiders will talk to them. Think about it. …

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