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Each semester students question why they must take a business communication course. They think they already know how to communicate, so why is the college wasting their time with this required course? Therefore, I've developed an assignment to answer their question. Simultaneously, this project reinforces the course content and addresses researching, interviewing, writing, and reporting topics. I have made the project the central organizing principle for their business communication course.
Students interview someone (neither a friend nor a family member) in a management position of a career in which they are interested. The assignment is described in the course syllabus and discussed on the first day of class. I explain that the project will be ongoing throughout the semester and that the final report is due three weeks before the last day of class. I emphasize that this assignment is a major part of the course because of its scope. Individual class lectures and exercises on researching, interviewing, business correspondence, and report writing will be geared toward the interview project. In addition, I will monitor the students' progress throughout the semester through several small assignments. For example, the students will present impromptu oral reports and write memos on their progress. Also, questions on class quizzes will address different aspects of the interview project. (See Appendix A.)
To help the students get started, business research is covered early in the semester, and the business reference librarian is a guest lecturer. As part …