Topic outline

  • Dear student,

    you are warmly welcome to Business Communication Skills course workspace for the Open University group Jan 2021. 

    Please note that due to the corona pandemic, this course will be held in its entirety in the virtual environment, using Zoom as our meeting place. 

    This is a highly interactive course with several assignments and deadlines. Please study the course schedule and program carefully. You can find it below on this page under Course Schedule and Program.  

    You will find all the needed information and materials as well as the assignment submission boxes through the drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the workspace.

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      Course Schedule and Program Folder
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      Course Schedule and Program
      Jan-Feb 2021 Open Uni: Time and location


      Date (weekday)


      Zoom link


      12.01.2021 (Tue)

      A: 16:15-18:00

      B: 18:00-19:45


      19.01.2021 (Tue)



      26.01.2021 (Tue)



      02.02.2021 (Tue)



      09.02.2021 (Tue)

      16:15-16:40 (ALPHA)

      16:45-17:10 (BETA)

      17:15-17:40 (DELTA)

      17:45-18:10 (KAPPA)

      18:15-18:40 (SIGMA)

      18:45-19:10 (THETA)

      25-min sessions with each team

      Sign into session 5 min before your 25min slot.

      You will be placed into a waiting room.

      You will be given access to the session when the previous team has exited.


      16.02.2021 (Tue)



      Please note that depending on the final group size, the group might be divided into 2 smaller groups A and B (in alphabetical order) for some sessions. In such cases, each group meets for 1h 45 min – 16:15-18:00 and 18:00-19:45. If the entire bigger group meets together, then our sessions will be a bit shorter than the assigned total time. The course includes team assignments and you will be in the same group with your team members. You will find your teams and groups in MyCourses after the registration has ended.

      Course Standards & Requirements         

      Deadlines: To pass the course, all the required assignments must be completed by the given deadlines.

      Grading criteria: All assignments are assessed using rubrics (grading criteria) on a scale of 0-5. Final grade criteria: A total of 4.5 and above is a 5; 3.5-4.49 range is a 4; 2.5-3.49 range is a 3. Please take a look at these criteria on MyCourses before you start working on the given assignment and also before you submit your assignment.

      Extra assignments not possible: Students are not able to redo assignments or do any extra assignments to improve grades. 

      Class participation: Attendance is mandatory on this highly practical and experiential course. However, one absence during the course is possible if a student has a valid reason (to be communicated before the class!). More than one absence will result in NOT passing the course.

      Class preparation: The assigned videos and readings need to be watched/read before the indicated sessions. After every video, you need to answer questions about the content on MyCourses. Watching the videos are part of the sessions (they replace in-class lecturing and substitute for shorter sessions than the allotted 3hrs per each session) so missing a video and the assigned task on MC means the same as missing part of a session! The readings will be tested with a separate timed test, but you will need the information for your assignments already before that.

      Zoom etiquette: If you have not used Zoom before, sign in once before the course start to make sure you are able to access the platform and that your camera and mic work. Before each session, sign in early enough to get the connection. You can then close your camera and mic until the session starts. During the sessions, everybody needs to have their camera on. If you don’t want to show your surroundings, you can use a virtual background. If you need to leave the session early for some good reason, you need to inform me in advance by email and send me a chat message in Zoom when you sign out. Otherwise, you are seen as missing the session.


      Summary of Course Assignments and Deadlines



      Type of work




      Written email request



      Jan 19/Jan 24


      a.     Persuasive presentation outline 

      b.     Persuasive presentation in class



      Jan 19/Jan 26

      Jan 26


      Timed test

      a.     Quiz

      b.     Written task






      open Feb 1 - Feb 3

      Feb 02


      Team presentation



      Jan 20/Feb 8/Feb 16


      Evaluation of own presentation performances (A2+A4)



      Feb 21


      Class contribution

      (e.g. peer feedback and session activity, answers to video questions)





      Please submit all text documents (A1, A2, A3 and A5) as PDFs

      Detailed Course Program

      SESSION 1 (JAN 12)
      Before the session (preparation for session):

      Watch the videos and answer the questions:

      o   Session 1 – Motivation

      o   Session 1 – Communicator Design

      o   Session 1 – Audience Design

      Study the reading(s)

      o   Input 1: Communicating strategically

      Read the instructions

      o   Assignment 1 – Written request

      o   Assignment 2 - Individual Persuasive Speech (2b) + Strategy Outline (2a)

      o   Assignment 4 – Team Persuasive Presentation

      During the session:

      Course introduction and overview

      Participant introductions

      Exercises on session topics

      Planning A1: Select the company, do communication strategy analysis, report back to group

      Instructions for A2 (5-min individual speech) and A4 (10-min team presentation)


      SESSION 2 (JAN 19)
      Before the session (preparation for session):

      Watch the videos and answer the questions:

      o   Session 2 – Message Design

      o   Session 2 – Ethos, Pathos and Logos

      o   Session 2 – Document Design

      Study the reading(s):

      o   Input 2: Persuasive techniques

      o   Input 3: Reader-focused business writing

      o   Argumentation Structure

      Read the instructions:

      o   Assignment 5: Individual Presentation Performance Evaluation


      o   A2 speech topic and be prepared to test it on your peers during Session 2


      o   A1 version 1 to MyCourses for peer review by Jan 19, 12:00 (team submission)

      During the session:

      Exercises on session topics

      Peer feedback on A1 (written & verbal)

      Presenting A2 topics to peers


      o   A1 peer feedback to MyCourses during class (team submission)

      After the session:


      o   A4 topic and ‘draft’ title to MyCourses by Jan 20, 12:00 (team submission)

      o   A1: final version to MyCourses by Jan 24, 12:00 (team submission)

      SESSION 3 (JAN 26)
      Before the session (preparation for session):

      Watch the videos and answer the questions:

      o   Session 3 – Presentation Organization

      o   Session 3 – Slide Layout

      + a summary question (on all videos, not a separate video for this)

      Study the reading(s):

      o   Input 4: Impactful presentations

      Prepare for:

      o   A2b persuasive speech given in class


      o   A2a outline to MyCourses by Jan 26, 12:00 (individual submission)

      During the session:

      A2b: presentations in small groups

      Exercises on session topics

      After the session:

      Start writing:

      o   A5: presentation performance evaluation (Part 1: individual presentation A2)


      SESSION 4 (FEB 02)
      Before the session (preparation for session):

      Prepare for:

      • A3a timed quiz on the readings 1-4
      • A3b written task by studying the readings 1-4 AND lecture materials

      Do between Feb 01 – Feb 03 outside session time:

      • A3a: 40-min quiz on the readings 1-4

      During the session:

      Presentation Delivery

      A3b: written task (1h 40min)


      SESSION 5 (FEB 09)
      Before the session (preparation for session):


      o   A4: presentation structure & draft visuals to MyCourses by Feb 8, 12:00 (team submission)

      During the session:

      Team consultation on A4 structure and visuals


      SESSION 6 (FEB 16)

      Before the session (preparation for session):


      o   A4: final presentation visuals and video to MyCourses by Feb 16, 12:00 (team submission)

      During the session:

      A4 team presentation videos

      Peer feedback on presentations

      Wrap-up of the course

      After the session:


      o   A5 presentation performance evaluation on A2 and A4 to MyCourses by Feb 21, 12:00 (individual submission)