Business Communication

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
CMNS 1115
Business Communication
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture 2 hours/week; Seminar 2 hours/week


Hybrid: 2 hours/week in class; 2 hours/week online


Fully online

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

This course emphasizes learning through doing. Working individually and in groups, students will participate in discussion and analysis of various business communication documents, activities and case studies. Under the instructor's guidance, students integrate the results of basic primary and/or secondary research with plain language principles in a variety of business communication forms (email, summaries, memoranda, letters, resumes and reports). Other methods of instruction include lectures, group discussions, peer review, library research orientations, online activities and possibly field trips.

Course Description
This course helps to prepare students for written business communication tasks required in the workplace. Through analysis, discussion and practice, students learn the purposes of business communication and how to recognize and use informational, persuasive, analytical and researched writing. They develop skills in using audience-based strategies to produce clear and concise business communication in a variety of forms. They also acquire and practise the research skills of identifying, summarizing and citing sources.
Course Content

Business Communication Framework

  • purpose
  • audience
  • context
  • message

Writing Skills

  • employ effective organizational strategies (e.g., direct or indirect approaches)
  • craft coherent, unified paragraphs and longer passages
  • write clear, correct sentences
  • demonstrate clarity, concision and readability
  • use word choice and tone appropriate to the situation
  • use appropriate formats (e.g., headings, bullet lists, layout)
  • ensure correct and/or conventional spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • present visual material (e.g., graphics, tables) effectively
  • summarize primary and/or secondary research

Writing Tasks

Instructors select from a variety of writing tasks such as

  • email (internal and external)
  • summaries
  • memoranda
  • business letters
  • informal reports
  • formal reports (approximately 1,500 words and requiring basic research and analysis)
  • job application package (e.g., cover letter, resume and writing samples)
  • social media posts


Learning Outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of the value of clear and concise writing as an indispensable tool in business communication.

By the end of the course, successful students will be able to

  1. articulate the key concepts of business communication: purpose, audience, context and message
  2. apply these concepts in the analysis of business documents and in the production of their own documents
  3. use plain language principles and correct fundamentals in written assignments
  4. use appropriate word choice and tone in written assignments to ensure readability and accessibility
  5. interpret and summarize assigned readings
  6. prepare short business documents (e.g., email, memoranda, letters and resumes) consistent with professional standards, practices and conventions
  7. prepare a formal report on a business or business-related issue using basic primary and/or secondary research
  8. use appropriate procedures to conduct basic primary and/or secondary research and analyze it
  9. use a documentation method and style (e.g., APA) for primary and/or secondary sources
  10. accept, provide and learn from courteous and objective criticism, including peer editing
Means of Assessment

Evaluation is in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy and will be based on this general outline:

Formal research report 20-30%
Job application materials  10-20%
Additional writing tasks (at least 4 evaluations)  40-60%
Participation/professionalism 10%
Textbook Materials

A required, current Canadian business communication text chosen by the instructor. For example, a current edition of 

  • Business Communication Essentials (Bovée and others)
  • Communicating for Results (Meyer)

Supplementary texts may also be required or recommended. 


Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement with the exceptions of the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU and the assessments listed below. These require the specified higher standard for entry into CMNS, CRWR and ENGL courses.
• a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
• a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490, OR
• Mastery in ELLA 0330 and any two of ELLA 0310, 0320, or 0340, OR
• TOEFL overall score of 83 with a minimum of 21 in Writing, OR
• IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0; for individual bands below 6.0:
       • if in Speaking, ELLA 0210 required
       • if in Reading or Listening, ELLA 0220 required
       • if in Writing, ELLA 0230 and ELLA 0240 required
• CLB score of 8, OR
• CEFR level B2+, OR
• CAEL minimum overall and essay score of 70 (computer or paper based), OR
• recognized equivalent or exemption.