Advanced Business Communication

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
CMNS 2115
Advanced Business Communication
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
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 a problem-solving approach. Working individually and in groups, students participate in the discussion and analysis of business communication documents and detailed case studies. Students will produce complete, credible documents (report, proposal or plan) using professional strategies, tools and techniques for document production management and presentation. Other methods of instruction include lectures, peer review, group discussion, online activities, lab exercises and possibly field trips.

Course Description
This advanced course builds on knowledge and skills acquired in CMNS 1115: Business Communication. Through genre analysis, classroom discussion and intensive practice, students develop skill in producing credible, professional business communication documents (reports, proposals, plans) and related supporting material (online and print). They gain a broad repertoire of strategies, tools and techniques for managing, writing, editing and presenting complex business documents. Working in pairs or teams, they also strengthen their skills in collaborative writing and improve their understanding of its prevalence and importance in the workplace.
Course Content

Analyzing Written Documents

  • Develop competency in genre analysis
  • Review samples of appropriate documents
  • Outline their structural elements and their purpose(s)
  • Identify characteristics of the documents (tone, voice, register, word choice)
  • Develop a critical awareness of relevant ethical and legal issues

Developing Expertise

  • Review outlining options for documents
  • Use strategies for content development, including primary research
  • Draft task analyses and schedules
  • Use traditional editing tools for managing documents (e.g., style sheets, version control, templates)
  • Practise using document production programs and tools (e.g., Acrobat, Advanced Word, InDesign)
  • Manage visual materials (photography, tables, charts) appropriately
  • As needed, secure permission to use copyrighted material
  • Follow an approvals process for documents produced in the workplace

Producing Written Documents

  • Prepare outlines for professional business communication documents
  • Recognize the purpose of scope of work statements
  • As needed, revise a task analysis and schedule
  • Develop appropriate content (e.g., narrative, objective summary, case study, storytelling)
  • Acquire permissions, if needed
  • Resolve challenges (e.g., inconsistent feedback, lack of content, uneven quality)
  • Write, revise, proofread and present a complex written document using industry-standard tools

Enhancing Documents in a Transmedia Context

  • Acquire an overview of the current media context (e.g., social media, transmedia storytelling)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how written print documents fit into this environment
  • Repurpose components of the document or develop new content for collateral materials in a variety of forms (e.g., press release, blog post, social media post, transmittal memorandum, website, briefing note, PowerPoint, video)
  • Develop a coherent plan to integrate these components to achieve stated communication goal(s) 
Learning Outcomes

Students will develop advanced skills in producing credible, professional documents and related supporting materials.

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

  1. develop an implementable plan for producing a long, complex document (e.g., report, proposal, plan)
  2. identify and develop related supporting materials (e.g., summaries, PowerPoints, video clips) to enhance the communicative effectiveness of the document
  3. specify the roles, responsibilities and tasks involved in producing a long, complex document
  4. apply this understanding to the analysis of business documents and when producing their own documents
  5. employ a range of strategies to plan, write and edit business documents
  6. use or develop tools and techniques to manage complex documents (e.g., version control, style sheets, schedules)
  7. work with a broad range of visual materials (photography, tables, charts, graphs)
  8. work collaboratively in teams with other students to produce written documents and related supporting materials
Means of Assessment

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

Major document (plan, report or proposal) of approximately 2,500 words 25-35%
Related supporting collateral material (e.g., press release, blog post, social media post, briefing notes) 25-35%
Additional writing tasks (at least three)    25-35%
Participation/professionalism 10%
Total 100%

Textbook Materials

Any current Canadian advanced business communication text chosen by the instuctor. For example,

  • Professional and Technical Writing: Problem Solving at Work (Kennedy and Montgomery) 
  • Report Writing Strategies: A Guide to Professional Communication (Gagne and others)
  • Technical Communication: A Reader-Centred Approach (Anderson)

Supplementary texts may also be required or recommended.



Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course: