ENG115 Course Syllabus

Online Standardized Syllabus

ENG 115 Business Communications

3 credits



Stacy L. Cognetti


(570) 983-9577


Healey Hall




Office Hours






Alred, Brusaw & Oliu, The Business Writer's Handbook. 11Th Edition.

ISBN: 9781457675515



Business Communications EN 115 is a practical course that introduces students to various media and the standard protocols of business communications, helping them to become competent, dependable communicators. Although written communication is the primary focus of the course, students will also investigate other forms of communication, including electronic mail and networking. This course employs a process approach to message development and empowers students as informed and effective listeners, speakers and writers.



By the end of this course, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes and expectations. Students will be able to:


  • To explain the relationship between effective communication skills and the achievement of academic and professional success.
  • To apply the Communication-by-Objectives approach, appropriate strategy, and the qualities of effective messages to plan and develop messages that achieve their intended objective.
  • To collect, evaluate, and organize information to plan, develop, and prepare oral and written reports.
  • To use message formats that are appropriate for the communication situation.
  • To prepare effective messages for a culturally diverse audience.
  • To discuss and provide examples of the influence of electronic technology on the communication cycle.
  • To apply effective decision-making skills to varied communications situations as an individual or as a team member.
  • To incorporate the use of electronic resources, such as the Internet, to complete some communication activities.
  • To establish a process to assist in resolving ethical challenges.




Students are required to be prepared for class (including homework assignments), purchase a textbook and conduct themselves in a professional manner.



Rubrics provide details on the objectives of your assignments. Use these as a guide, checking off each item before turning in your assignments, and there is no reason why you cannot earn every available point! Included in this syllabus is a summary of the course projects. Detailed rubrics will be provided for each assignment as the course progresses. But the rubrics that you will need on a daily basis are included here.


Participation                  20%

Quiz                                  10%

Weekly Assignments  35%

Team Assignment        35%


Online Course Attendance Policy

Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online courses as well.


Attendance is defined by participating in an academic activity within the online classroom, which includes making posts and replies in a course-related graded discussion forum or submitting a course-related written assignment. Activities (Syllabus quiz, Course Navigation Quiz, Academic Honesty Pledge, Autobiography) not related to the aforementioned activities will not count for attendance purposes.


Students that fail to participate in an academic activity as described above in the online classroom prior to the last day to drop/add, will automatically be dropped from the course.


  • You are required to engage in discussion by making an initial post to your instructor’s prompt by the assigned day of the week, and then submitting the required number of replies by the end of the week.
  • Students who do not participate in any course-related discussions AND who do not submit any course-related assignments for ONE week will be DROPPED from the course. It is the responsibility of the student to formally withdraw from the course at the Registrar’s office.



Online Course Discussion Policy

In order to understand, remember, and benefit from what we learn in class, discussion and interaction are critical. Responses such as, “I like what you said.” “I agree.” Or “Good thinking.” are NOT acceptable. Also, you should NOT simply repeat what someone else has already said.

Good Discussions in Course Resources will help you, but you should also use this rubric to gain all possible points for your contributions and, more importantly, to get the most out of our class discussion!

Ask yourself the following questions to help guide you in having a great discussion:


Your initial response to each prompt (DQ 1 and DQ2) should be no less than 100 words. While you can exceed the word requirement, points will be deducted for not adhering to this minimum number unless otherwise noted.

You also need to make a minimum of 4 total replies to your classmates by the end of the week to receive full points for participation. These replies can be divided between DQ1 or DQ2 however you choose. 


  • Did I answer the discussion questions directly demonstrating a clear understanding of the material that promoted conversation?
  • Did I support my answers to the discussion questions with research and reading?
  • Did I make the required number of replies to my classmates?
  • Did I continue the conversation with peers that replied to my discussion?
  • Did I answer any additional questions the instructor may have asked?
  • Are all of my responses detailed and clear?
  • Did I make my initial post and replies by the assigned due dates?
  • Did I relate my responses to the course reading, notes, and/or personal life?
  • Did I provide the class with a response that is non-generic and inspiring – meaning that they learned from what I have contributed and can continue the conversation
  • Did I use proper grammar, spelling and netiquette?


Responses that do not move the conversation forward by providing information to which others can respond and build upon will negatively affect your weekly score.


Withdrawal Policy

A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Student Affairs Office or from your Center Director, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student stops attending a course for which he/she is registered after the published census date (end of drop/add) without having officially withdrawn from the course, the student will be assigned an AW (penalty-grade failure) for the class. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.


Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy.


Instructor Policies

  • All emails and responses posted in the General Questions section of the forum will be answered within one day.
  • All assignments will be graded within 3 days of the assignment due date


Exam Policy:

A missed exam will result in a recorded grade of 0%. A 2nd missed exam will result in Failure of the course. There are absolutely no exceptions to this policy. No exam will be given earlier than the scheduled date to any student for any reason. No individual, special assignments will be given for the purpose of raising an exam grade.

No makeup exams will be given at any time for any reason.




Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Quality Points


96 – 100



90 – 95



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66



0 – 59



Due Dates and Late Penalties

Late assignments will not be accepted.

There will be no “extra credit.”


Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well. Please see the Student Handbook for a complete explanation.


The following are among the forms of dishonesty, in a classroom of any type, for which sanctions may be applied:

  • Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted;
  • Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers;
  • Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination;
  • Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently;
  • Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment;
  • Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else;
  • Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved;
  • Stealing examinations or assignments;
  • Supplying or selling examinations or assignments;
  • Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted;
  • Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results;
  • Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.
  • Misrepresenting identity in an online course


(Please see student handbook for more information)


Disability Statement

Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution.  Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs.  Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab.  If you feel that you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Mrs. Christine Kiehart in the Disability Services office to discuss your options. Please note that disability services do not include exemption from participation requirements in courses considered part of the School of Distance Education, including online and hybrid courses.

Lackawanna College Notice of Nondiscrimination

Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices, based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership, or any other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State Law including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and with Federal Law including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Lackawanna College is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from unlawful sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender based harassment. 


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Lackawanna College will not tolerate any forms of sexual misconduct including but not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence and gender-based harassment by employees, students or third parties. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. The College also prohibits retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. This policy applies to admissions, employment, treatment and access to all programs and activities that take place either on or off the campus at Lackawanna College. 


Lackawanna College will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and will take action reasonably designed to resolve the complaint in an equitable manner, end a hostile environment if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and, when appropriate, take steps to remedy its effects on individuals and the college community.

Lackawanna College complies with Title IX and all other federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Reports or inquiries regarding nondiscrimination should be made to:

Title IX Coordinator/ Executive Director of the Student Wellness Program, Marsha Pigga, Angeli Hall, Room 102, 501 Vine Street, Scranton PA, 18509 (570) 955-1466/ (570) 677-7589, piggam@lackawanna.edu.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action inquiries: Georgia Egan, Affirmative Action Officer/Director of Continuing Education, Angeli Hall, Room 300C, Vine Street, Scranton PA (570) 961-7815, EganG@lackawanna.edu or Gopu Kiron, Affirmative Action Officer/eLearning Director, Angeli Hall, Ground Floor, Vine Street, Scranton PA, (570) 504-7929, kirong@lackawanna.edu.

Additional information regarding Title IX requirements and how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights: Office of Civil Rights at www2.ed.gov/ocr, 800-421-3481. Philadelphia Office: Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education, The Wanamaker Building,100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 Telephone: 215-656-8541, Email: OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov.   

Portfolio and Coursework

Lackawanna College will empower you to experience learning by inspiring your critical thinking, accessing your talents and skills, motivating you toward a career choice, and encouraging you to make a difference. In evidence of this learning, the College requires a graduation portfolio containing Career Documents, including a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a career exploration; Core Coursework, including a research paper from College Writing; three sample papers or projects from Major Coursework; and a Lackawanna College Reflection Paper.


Course Schedule


Course Schedule

Class Week & Topic



Week 1

What is Communication; Effective Messages

The Life of a Message


Group Project Step 1, 2 & 3

Business Contact Interview

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 284-287

Week 2

Communication and Technology

Group Project Step 4 & 5

Audience Analysis

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 48-49

Week 3

Good News, Bad News, Persuasive and Neutral News Messages

Group Project Step 6

Work Analysis

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 115-124

Week 4

Good News, Bad News, Persuasive and Neutral News Messages

Group Project Step 7

Letters, Memos, and Emails Part I Part II and III

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 115-124, 339-340

Week 5

Visuals and Presentations

Group Project Step 8

PowerPoint Presentation

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 407-414, 559-563

Week 6

Job Searches, Resumes, and Cover Letters

Application, Interviews, and Follow-Up Message

Group Project Step 9, 10 & 11

Professional Resume and Cover Letter

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 39-44, 483-489

Week 7

Reports, Proposals and Instructions for the Workplace

Group Project Step 12 – 15

Project Documentation and Communication Plan

Discussion & Participation

Book pages 207-229, 335-338

Week 8

Instructions for the Workplace Cont.

Issue Resolution Plan

Team assignment




Instructional Methods

Instructional methods include lecture, discussion and interaction, case studies and group work, video analysis, and shared reflection. At times, we will work on and share projects during discussions.



Rubrics provide details on the objectives of your assignments. Use these as a guide, checking off each item before turning in your assignments, and there is no reason why you cannot earn every available point! Below is a summary of the course projects. Detailed rubrics will be provided for each assignment as the course progresses. But the rubrics that you will need on a daily basis are included here.


Group Project: Business Proposal

This project consists of creating an innovative business idea, a strategic plan, a business card and brochure, a fax cover sheet and a company letter head, and a memo, letter, a PowerPoint to present it all, and a team-status report to reflect in the process. There is one step due each week.


*I will create teams for the project and list the members in a separate DQ thread titleTeam Rosters.  I will also open a thread for each team to discuss their project with their respective team members.


Business Contact Interview
In this project, you will interview (by phone, email, or in person) an individual who is presently employed in business with at least five years of experience in his or her current organization.  The person can be a friend, relative, or a current coworker or supervisor. The ideal person should work in a career area in which you are interested. The focus of the interview is communication.


Audience Analysis

This assignment use case studies to analyze background, needs, interests, and expectations of a real audience, considering cultural needs and differences, decision making capacity, credibility, and preferences. You will create an outline to demonstrate how you would use these components to craft a business message.


Work Analysis

Locate an example of communication breakdown. Identify what information was conveyed; what data should have been gathered for the task identified; the type of communication that was used to convey the information; your opinion of that choice; your evaluation of where the communication went wrong and why; and your solution for what should have been done differently, why, and how.


Letters, Memos, and Emails
In this multi-part assignment, you will review several important and common types of business communications including good news, bad news, and persuasive messages.  After reviewing the three types of business communications you are to choose ONE of the following to complete:

  • You should locate an article in a publication related to your preferred business or industry and then compose a persuasive letter to your immediate supervisor. The letter should describe the content of an article, persuading your supervisor to adapt some of the ideas you read about in your workplace.
  • You should create a good news memo that presents all five steps of the analytical process: specify the question, select and describe the analytical framework, evaluate the data, reach a conclusion, recommend a course of action.
  • You should create a bad news email with an attached report that supports the bad news.

Point Presentation

This informative presentation will consists of a how-to on the business related topic of your choice. For example, reducing stress, emotional intelligence, working in teams.


Professional Resume and Cover Letter

Locate a part-time job, internship, or career position for which you would like to apply and design a resume and cover letter specifically designed to earn you that position. You will also create a job application task list, engage in a mock interview with a classmate, and create a thank you letter based on your experience.

Issue Resolution Plan
You will identify a current workplace or social issue in today's media and prepare an outline of the issue resolution process, including a planned expected versus actual conversation starter, and the anticipated outcome at each choice point in a collaborative, problem-solving conversation.

Documentation and Communication Plan
In this project you will create personalized documentation (to do list, table, mind map, calendar, etc.) for an imagined upcoming community event. Documentation will include a strategic implementation and communication plan and a meeting agenda. You will then collaborate with classmates to hold a meeting, recording minutes and producing an analysis of the meeting's results.


Submission Rubric for ALL Assignments (Unless otherwise noted by individual rubrics)

Unless otherwise noted by the rubric, neglecting the following will result in an automatic deduction of up to 10 points. All assignments must be submitted to me through file exchange on the Portal without exception. All assignments must be saved as either .doc or .rtf. All assignments must follow APA style. This includes:

  • Separate title page consisting of your name, the paper title, and the college name
  • Headers and page numbers (anchored within the actual document header)
  • Double spacing
  • Times New Roman or Courier New 12 point font
  • 1 inch margins all around
  • Indented paragraphs (Do not skip lines between paragraphs)
  • Parenthetical citations with a corresponding and separate reference page
  • Proper spelling and grammar
  • Detail, Detail, Detail, Support, Explanation, Detail!!!