BBUS 3631
Open Communication: Effective Communication Skills

3.0 Credits


This course provides students with the knowledge and skills to communicate professionally on many levels including writing; speaking; conducting meetings; giving presentations and interpersonal dialogues; and using electronic media.

Delivery Method

Online Paced.


Third-year standing is recommended. Strong working knowledge of computers or an introductory computer course is recommended.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Increase your ability to communicate with intention,
  • Develop effective listening skills,
  • Practice your conversation skills to foster interactive dialogue.
  • Develop facilitation strategies for getting results and building trust, plus giving and receiving support.
  • Choose optimal communication channels and strategies.
  • Improve your group communication skills to make effective presentations, facilitate useful meetings, and write clear communications.

Course Outline

Module 1: Opening Moves

  • Distinguish and practise different intentions for communicating.
  • Identify optimal ways to communicate in your workplace.
  • Be open to new perspectives and perceptions.
  • Ask for feedback on your communication skills, be open to learning from it, and incorporate this feedback to focus yourself in the course.
  • Set criteria and make choices about which communication skills you want to improve.
  • Plan and prepare formal communication.

Module 2: Listen Up!

  • Identify genuine listening skills with curiosity, willingness, and the capacity to change or be surprised.
  • Uncover hidden messages in your face-to-face conversations through learning to read body language, voice tones, and facial expressions.
  • Solicit information and feedback to help to learn about and understand your audience.
  • Demonstrate active listening.

Module 3: Genuine Conversation

  • Develop and demonstrate ways to improve your conversations.
  • Analyze where conversations can and do go wrong.
  • Use the principles of dialogue to facilitate genuine conversation.
  • Learn when and how to speak up appropriately.

Module 4: Mediums for Your Messages

  • Learn to choose the optimal communication channels and strategies for the task at hand.
  • Develop communication strategies for obtaining results, building trust, and receiving support.
  • Analyze three arenas for communicating in groups: effective presentations, effective meetings, and effective writing.

Final Project: Bringing It All Together

  • Demonstrate your learning, understanding, and competence in regard to the learning outcomes described in this course.
  • Reflect on your actions, learning, and experiences.
  • Plan for your future learning about, and continuing improvement of, your communication skills.
  • Complete your Final Project.

Maximum Completion

14 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

  1. Alder, R B., J M. Elmhorst, and K Lucas. Communicating at Work: Strategies for Success in Business and the Professions w/ CONNECT online access code. 11th ed. McGraw Hill Companies Inc., 2013.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-1-259-67797-7 or 978-0-07-779742-3
  1. Kahane, A. Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening and Creating New Realities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2007.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9781576754641

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet access required

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.


Formal assessment includes discussion group participation, the formal module assignments, and the mandatory Final Project.

Module 1 10%
Module 2 12%
Module 3 13%
Module 4 15%
Final Project 50%
Total 100%

You will submit two formal assignments in each of Modules 1, 2, and 3 and three formal assignments in Module 4. The formal assignments will be linked to the learning outcomes for each module and each assignment, plus your discussion participation, contributes to your final grade.

To demonstrate competency, students must obtain 50% or higher on the mandatory final major project and overall in the course.