Approved by Faculty Senate.

University Studies Course Proposal

Department of Program: Business Administration
Course Number: 106
Course Title: Introduction to Business

Catalog Description: Develops broad, beginning understanding of business institutions, functions, practices and problems. Provides survey of basic national institution for non-majors. Not open to those having 15 or more credits in business.

This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: Yes

Department Contact Person: Sara Barbor E-mail: Sara.Barbor@winona.edu

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in:

  1. Unity and Diversity: 4.a. Contemporary Citizenship

 Contemporary Citizenship Outcomes and Course Requirements

As required in points 1 and 2 of the approval process, the following material addresses the six outcomes listed for Contemporary Citizenship courses and documents course content and learning activities relevant to these course outcomes.

a. use critical thinking to analyze contemporary issues

In the business world critical thinking skills are absolutely essential, and this course works constantly to develop those skills in students. Indeed, development of critical thinking skills is part of the mission statement of the course. Students are given critical thinking exercises in all functional areas of business. These include global business, ethics, entrepreneurship, teamwork and communication, human resource management, production, marketing, information technology, accounting, and finance. The current text, Business Today by Mescon, Bovee, and Thill, includes critical thinking exercises in every chapter.

b. demonstrate effective oral and/or written communication of ideas, informed opinions, and/or values

Effective oral and written communication is essential to the successful business person. Consequently this course includes many exercises that require students to develop their written and oral skills. Communication skill is another objective that is explicitly stated in the course mission statement. Examples of written exercises include posting to the class listserv, preparation and submission of group exercises via e-mail, and essay exams. Students are also required to prepare and present a segment on some aspect of marketing functions. This presentation is videotaped, and the students have the opportunity to view and critique their own performances.

c. identify, find, and use tools of information science related to contemporary issues

This objective forms the very core of this course given the extensive use of the Internet, laptops, and electronic library tools. Students begin by carrying out assigned research from specified web sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the World Factbook of the CIA, and the Census Bureau. They then progress to the use of subscription indexes such as Lexis-Nexis, and the index of company annual reports. In the marketing segments they are encouraged to locate web examples of company advertising and virtual stores by conducting their own searches on the World Wide Web. In the finance segments they discover sites that inform them about the latest offerings in financial institutions (CD rates, etc.), and give them a basic understanding of the time value of money. Familiarity with these sites provides excellent preparation for future academic work.

d. demonstrate the ability to work effectively independently and/or in collaborative problem-solving groups

Students engage in a wide variety of activities in this course, both individual and group. Group assignments are included in the segments on global business, ethics, demographics, production, human resource management, marketing, and accounting. Individual activities are included in the segments on entrepreneurship and labor statistics research. All exams are individual. There is more emphasis on group activities in this course because this most closely reflects the working circumstances most students will face in their careers.

e. identify principles and applications of personal, civic, and/or economic responsibility; understand personal responsibility for lifestyle choices

Great emphasis in this course in placed on ethics in business decision making. The current text contains ethics exercises in every chapter. In addition, the first exam deals with the ethical question of the availability of term papers for sale on the Internet. This is an excellent topic because it combines so many of the issues in this course into one event. Much course discussion centers on the choices individuals have to act ethically or unethically, and what the consequences of those choices might be. Students are expected to understand that appropriate behavior is always required, and that character is how one acts when no one is looking.

f. participate actively (e.g., class discussion, volunteerism, etc.) in issues significant to citizenship in contemporary society

The prime example of active participation in this course is the class listserv. Students are required to participate by posting considered statements to various topics of their own choosing throughout the semester. This exercise teaches them about respect for others’ opinions as well as appropriate web communication, or "netiquette." They learn how important it is to communicate professionally and civilly in the medium of e-mail.

 

Sample Syllabus

BUSA 106 Introduction to Business

Instructor Phone

Office Hours E-mail

Typical Text: Business Today by Mescon, Bovee, and Thill

Course Mission Statement

The purpose of BUSA 106 is to introduce students to the functional areas of business while emphasizing the acquisition of critical thinking, communication, and technology skills, all in the context of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.

University Studies: Contemporary Citizenship Course

This course satisfies the three semester hours requirement of the Contemporary Citizenship component in the University Studies Program. As such, it seeks to provide students taking this course the opportunity to achieve the following outcomes:

a. use critical thinking to analyze contemporary issues;
b. demonstrate effective oral and/or written communication of ideas, informed opinions, and/or values;
c. identify, find, and use tools of information science related to contemporary issues;
d. demonstrate the ability to work effectively independently and/or in collaborative problem-solving groups;
e. identify principles and applications of personal, civic, and/or economic responsibility;
understand personal responsibility for lifestyle choices; and/or
f. participate actively (e.g., class discussion, volunteerism, etc.) in issues significant to citizenship in contemporary society.

 

Grading

Primarily the number of points accumulated on exams and assignments/exercises will determine the student’s final grade in BUSA 106.  There are 3 exams worth 50 points each, and one exam worth 100 points for a subtotal of 250 points on exams.    There are 12 assignments/exercises worth 20 points each for a subtotal of 240 points on "homework."  There are several technology related small assignments worth 20 points total.  In this category it may be possible to earn some extra credit.  Finally, there is one presentation worth 40 points.  This is a total of 550 points, not counting any extra credit the student may earn.  The instructor uses a 90-80-70 grading scale which means that the grade ranges break down as follows:

 

Point Total

Grade

495-550

A

440-494

B

385-439

C

330-384

D

below 330

F

There needs to be an understanding in the class about attendance.  No mention is made of attendance in the computation of grades.  However, the student who is regularly absent will have no clue what is going on in class and will therefore probably fail.  This is a "megasection", meaning there may be as many as 180 students enrolled in the class.  Some students may be tempted to think that they have anonymity as a result of this and that the instructor will never know whether they are in class or not.  DO NOT BET ON THIS.  Even though the instructor has no plans to actually take roll, technology provides many other ways to measure who is in attendance and who is not.  The truth of this will become more apparent as students participate in the class assignments.

 

Exams

BUSA 106, Introduction to Business,  is a "fact-intensive" course.    Indeed, your text is a veritable business dictionary.  It would be easy for exams in this course to devolve into true-false, fill-in-the- blank, multiple-guess type questions.  Those kinds of questions would certainly be easier to grade.   Your instructor, however, feels that learning how to use facts is more important than the facts themselves.  For this reason, critical thinking is emphasized, as you are aware if you have read the course mission statement.  

The format of the exams will be very different.  On exam days you will not come to the classroom.  Instead you will find a quiet place where you can go on-line with your laptop (the library, perhaps?) and have a reasonable expectation of a reliable connection.  At exactly 2:00 p.m. your instructor will open access to the exam page.    You will follow the instructions, read and think about your answer, and type out your answer using your e-mail software.  You will send this message to your instructor.  The message must be received by 3:30 p.m. that same afternoon.  At exactly 3:20 p.m. the instructor will close the exam page.

The instructor will begin grading the exams as soon as they come in.    Comments will be made and a number grade assigned.  Then the exam will be returned to the student via e-mail.  It is hoped that by the next class meeting, all students will have received their graded exams.  This method of on-line testing has two purposes.  First, it better satisfies the prompt feedback principle contained in the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.  Paper shuffling slows down the grading process enormously, especially in a class of this size.   Second, it overcomes the apparent lack of student-faculty contact inherent in a large class.  Exchange of e-mail messages is the equivalent of one-on-one instruction, something that has been very rare in such a class.

      

 

Reading Assignments, Class Exercises, and Corresponding US Objectives

The current text for BUSA 106, Introduction to Business, places heavy emphasis on objectives a, c, and e of the University Studies Program. Every chapter has at least one application that requires critical thinking, more than one example of an information technology issue or tool, and at least one application of an ethics/social responsibility issue. One chapter (7) deals with the additional issue of teamwork and therefore includes other objectives as indicated. Thus, for all chapters listed below, the reading assignment covers objectives a, c, and e. The reading assignment is usually followed by a class exercise that emphasizes other objectives as indicated.

Chapter 1, Foundations and Challenges of Business, Introduction to Listservs (b, c, e, f)
Chapter 2, On Global Business, Global Business Assignment (a, b, c, d, f)
Chapter 3, Ethical and Social Responsibilities of Business, Ethics Web Assignment (b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 4, Forms of Business Ownership, Demographics Web Assignment (b, c, d, f)
Chapter 5, Small Businesses, New Ventures, and Franchises; Entrepreneur Assessment (a, e, f)
Chapter 6, Management Fundamentals, no additional assignment
Chapter 7, Organization, Teamwork, and Communication (a, b, d, e, f); Lexis-Nexis Downsizing Research (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 8, Production of Quality Goods and Services, Lexis-Nexis Quality Research (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 9, Human Relations, Motivation, and Performance; Listserv Assignment (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 10, Human Resources Management, Bureau of Labor Statistics Assignment (a, b, c, e, f)
Chapter 11, Employee-Management Relations, no additional assignment
Chapter 12, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction, Marketing Exercise (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 13, Product and Pricing Decisions, Product Life Cycle Exercise (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 14, Distribution, Virtual Store Exercise (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 15, Promotion, Promotion Exercise (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 16, Computers and Information Technology, no additional assignment
Chapter 17, Accounting, Annual Report Exercise (a, b, c, d, e, f)
Chapter 18, Banking and Financial Management, no additional assignment
Chapter 19, Securities Markets, no additional assignment