Topic outline

  • Dear student,

    you are warmly welcome to Business Communication Skills course workspace for the Open University group August-September 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 in the section named 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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    Preliminary Course Schedule and Program

    Aug-Sep 2021 Open Uni: Time and location 


    Date (weekday)


    Zoom link


    17.08.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-18:00 Group A

    18:00-19:45 Group B


    24.08.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-18:00 Group B

    18:00-19:45 Group A


    31.08.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-18:15 Group A

    17:45-19:45 Group B


    14.09.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-19:45 ALL


    21.09.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-16:40 KAPPA

    16:45-17:10 OMEGA

    17:15-17:40 SIGMA

    17:45-18:10 DELTA

    18:15-18:40 BETA

    18:45-19:10 ALPHA

    Sign into session 5 min before your slot.

    You will be placed into a waiting room.

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


    28.09.2021 (Tue)

    16:15-19:45 ALL

    Please note that we have sessions with varying length within the 16:15-19:45 time frame. For some sessions, the group might be divided into 2 smaller groups A and B (in alphabetical order). However, you need to keep the entire class time free since there might be changes in schedule and tasks for the non-session time as well. The course includes team assignments, and you will be in the same group with your team members. You will be informed about the teams and groups at the course start.

    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 1-4 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


    Peer feedback on 1st version



    Aug 23: draft

    Aug 29: final version

    Aug 24


    a.   Persuasive speech outline 15%

    b.   Persuasive speech in class



    Aug 31

    Aug 31


    Timed test

    a.   Quiz

    b.   Written task






    Sep 7

    Sep 14


    Team presentation



    Aug 26: topic

    Sep 20: draft slides

    Sep 28: final slides and video


    Evaluation of own presentation performances (A2+A4)



    Oct 3



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





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

    Detailed Course Program

    SESSION 1 (AUG 17)
    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


    SESSION 2 (AUG 24)
    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   A1 version 1 to MyCourses for peer review by Aug 23, 12:00 (team submission)

    During the session:

    Exercises on session topics

    Peer feedback on A1

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

    After the session:


    o   A1 peer feedback to MyCourses by Aug 24, 21:00 (individual submission)

    o   A4 topic and ‘draft’ title to MyCourses by Aug 26, 21:00 (team submission)

    o   A1: final version to MyCourses by Aug 29, 21:00 (team submission)

    SESSION 3 (AUG 31)
    Before the session (preparation for session):

    Watch the videos and answer the questions:

    o   Session 3 – Presentation Organization

    o   Session 3 – Slide Layout

    o   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 Aug 31, 12:00 (individual submission)

    During the session:

    A2b: speeches in small groups

    Exercises on session topics

    After the session:

    Start writing:

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


    SESSION 4 (SEP 14)
    Before the session (preparation for session):

    Prepare for:

    o   A3a timed quiz on the readings 1-4

    o   A3b written task by studying the lecture materials and the readings 1-4

    Do Sep 7 between 09:00 and 21:00:

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

    During the session:

    Presentation Delivery

    A3b: written task (1h 40min)


    SESSION 5 (SEP 21)
    Before the session (preparation for session):


    o   A4: presentation structure & draft visuals to MyCourses by Sep 20, 21:00 (team submission)

    During the session:

    Team consultation on A4 structure and visuals


    SESSION 6 (SEP 28)

    Before the session (preparation for session):


    o   A4: final presentation visuals and video to MyCourses by Sep 28, 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 Oct 3, 21:00 (individual submission)



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  • Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

    Summary of the required assignments to be submitted during the course

    Below is a short overview of all the course assignments (and their different submissions). You can find more information and the detailed instructions in the submission boxes under this summary.

    You need to submit all the assignments to pass the course. If you miss the deadline, you cannot directly submit your work to MyCourses. In such a case, you need to contact the instructor and negotiate about the late submission.

    Each assignment will be evaluated based on the rubric that you can find in the submission box. Study the rubric before you start working on the assignment.

    Please note that some boxes just outline the overall instructions for a multi-phase assignment whereas other boxes contain the actual submission mechanism (submission box icon contains a download arrow; the instruction section icon is a sheet of paper)

    Assignment 1: Written request (team work) – 10%

    In this assignment, you will learn to analyze your communication goals and your audience and to write a persuasive short message.

    This assignment consists of three phases:

    1. writing a draft version (submit to: A1 - Written request - DRAFT version)
    2. giving feedback to another team’s draft (submit to: A1 - Written Request PEER FEEDBACK for DRAFT version)
    3. writing the final version, considering the received peer feedback (submit to: A1 - Written request - FINAL version)

    You will find the case description under the FINAL version -submission box.

    Assignment 2: Persuasive speech (individual) – 20%

    In this assignment, you will learn to strategically plan a persuasive speech and then execute it in front of the audience.

    This assignment consists of two parts:

    1. writing a strategic outline for your speech (submit to: A2a - Individual persuasive speech- Strategy OUTLINE)
    2. giving your speech in front of the audience in class

    You will find the detailed instructions for both parts under the Strategy OUTLINE -submission box.

    Assignment 3: Timed tests about the course content (individual) – 30%

    In this assignment, you can demonstrate the knowledge you have acquired about the course topics.

    This assignment consists of two parts:

    1. taking a 45-min timed quiz on the official course readings 1-4 (not located in this Assignment section but accessed directly from the main page in its own section A3a quiz)
    2. doing a 1h 40 min timed written task on all the course materials. This task will be released only at the start of the test (submit to: A3b - Written Task)

    Assignment 4: Persuasive Team presentation (team) – 15%

    In this assignment, you learn to plan, build and give a persuasive team presentation.

    This assignment consists of four phases:

    1. deciding on a topic that suits your persuasive goal and your audience (submit to: A4 - Team presentation: TOPIC & PRELIMINARY TITLE)
    2. designing your strategy and draft slides (submit to: A4 - Team presentation - DRAFT VERSION)
    3. finalizing your presentation and its slides (submit to: A4 - Team presentation - FINAL SLIDES) (and a video in online courses - submit to: A4 - Team presentation -VIDEO)
    4. giving your presentation in front of the audience (or presenting the video in online courses)

    You will find the instructions and deadlines for the entire process under the non-submission box: A4 - Persuasive Team presentation - Instructions and deadlines

    Assignment 5: Individual evaluation of presentation performance (individual) – 20%

    In this assignment, you get to critically evaluate your individual and your team’s performance in the presentation assignments of the course.

    This assignment consist of one written work (submit to: A5 - Individual evaluation of presentation performance)




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    Here you will find separate questionnaires to each video you are assigned to watch BEFORE each session. 

    Watch the video first and then answer the questions here. Remember to submit your answer. The question section will close at 16:00 before the session start so be sure to do this in advance.

    Please note that unwatched videos and unanswered questions mean the same as missing part of the session as these tasks are part of the work load assigned to sessions.

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    Here you will find your smaller session group (A or B) if we will have those in some sessions and (later) your team for the team assignments. Please note your small group meeting times and also remember your team name (e.g. ALPHA; assigned during the 1st meeting) as I will operate using them during the course.

    Group A: Aaltonen-Matioukhov
    Group B: Mölsä-Uosukainen

  • Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

    You will best reach me by emailing me at:

    You can also send me a MyCourse message (there is a speech bubble for that function at the upper right hand corner of MC pages)

    You can also call me or whatsapp me in urgent cases on 040 5128255.

    Please do not send me a message through the MyCourses General Discussion forum.