Welcome to Week One

Getting Started (BUS100)

Getting Oriented

This class is an introductory course that follows the pattern of what's called a "survey course". That means it covers a wide variety of topics, none of them in great depth. As you get further into your program, later classes will cover many of the topics we discuss in this class in much greater detail. The purpose of this class is to give you a solid foundation that other classes will build on.

The online environment with all of its buttons and links can be a little overwhelming, so let me point you in some important directions. First, take a look at the navigation buttons on the left. It has links to the "Student Center" section that has my contact information links to important documents including the Course Guide which summarizes all of the assignments and the late policy. Please be sure to read these sections carefully since all students will be held to the policies and schedule described in them.

As the class goes on, the "Week" sections will become very important. Each section starts with a list of objectives and an online lecture. The lectures include audio as well as video so they're an especially important tool for auditory and visual learners. If you have any questions concerning the week's material, you can post them in the "Discussion Questions" forum in the individual weeks.

This class moves rather quickly so I strongly suggest that you get started on assignments as quickly as possible. You don't necessarily have to complete them early but you should at last read through them, looking for areas that seem confusing or unclear. This will give you plenty of time to post questions in the weekly discussion forum or to reach out to me by email or on Skype. I check in pretty regularly, but if you wait until the last minute it's possible that I won't see your question until after an assignment is due.

Class Theme - Thinking Like a Professional

As you start out on your college career, I encourage you to start thinking about school like you would a job. When you're writing a paper, think of it as a business document that you're preparing for your employer. When you're responding to the weekly discussion question, treat it like a coworker had stopped you in the hallway and asked you a question.
When you're posting in the discussion board, think of it as a continuation of that hallway conversation or like a discussion in a staff meeting. Getting a business degree is as much about learning to think like a manager as it is about learning specific ideas or concepts. It's never too early to start moving your thinking and your way of approaching questions in that direction.

Some Specific Expectations

Throughout the class, we'll be discussing a variety of topics about which many of you will feel strongly. There are a few things you should keep in mind when making posts in the discussion.

  1. You're welcome to disagree with your fellow students - a variety of viewpoints is what makes the discussion interesting. However, it's imperative that you do so in an appropriately professional tone throughout the discussion. You should always take the time to review a post before you click the submit button. Ask yourself how the post is likely to be received? Did you take the post to which you're responding personally? A post rarely suffers from being gone over one more time or from having you take a break before you submit it.
  2. When posting, you should focus on making a "business case" type of argument. There will be times in your career when you have to make an argument to decision makers about a course of action about which you feel strongly. You should resist the urge to engage in flowery or emotional language. Managers are looking for logical, analytical arguments. Appearing to be emotionally involved with a situation or decision will only weaken your argument.
  3. On a more practical level, when you respond to the initial questions you should be sure that you're responding explicitly to all parts of the question. You won't get full credit if you leave out parts and filling in something that you missed in a follow up post won't count toward the required two additional posts that you have to make in each discussion board. You should also be sure to review the week's announcements before starting on your responses. I'll occasionally post additional information or clarification there.

There are a couple of things that I often see students say in the discussion board and in their assignments that you should avoid at all costs:

  1. Accusing business or people of being "greedy". 99% of the time this is purely a statement of personal opinion with no factual basis. If you post anything like this, you can count on my challenging you to provide proof of your assertion.
  2. Accusing businesses or people of "only being interested in profit". This assertion may or may not be true in specific cases but I don't see how it can be the accusation that the people who post it obviously intend. Businesses should be interested in profit. If they aren't then they won't be around very long.
  3. Describing a behavior as illegal. If you think someone's behavior is illegal be prepared to cite a specific law that you think was broken. Accusing a business of illegal behavior in a classroom will get you called out by your professor. Doing it in a professional environment will get you sued.

Additional Resources

Each week has a section called Instructor Insights. That's an area where I'll post supplemental resources each week. That's going to include additional written materials, links to external videos and videos that I've created and additional information related to the assignments and discussions. Checking that area should be one of the first things that you do when a new week starts.


Plagiarism, in simple terms, consists of presenting someone else's work as your own without giving the original author appropriate credit. It's considered a serious academic offense - the kind that can get you expelled from a school or fired from a job. In my day job, I'm the Chief Instructional Designer for a web based education company and I can tell you that if one of my designers plagiarized content in one of our materials, I would fire them, no questions asked. In the business world, this could expose us to substantial civil and potentially criminal liability.

There are three fundamental points that you should keep in mind when you're writing to avoid this:

  1. Work that is directly copied from another source must be in quotation marks.
  2. Work that is copied or paraphrased must have an appropriate inline citation and a corresponding reference at the end of the assignment.
  3. Copied/paraphrased work should make up not more than 10% of anything that you submit.

These rules apply to everything that you post in the classroom including written assignments and discussion board posts. If I determine that something submitted has been plagiarized, I'll assign a 0 for that assignment and report the incident to the University. Repeat offenses can result in receiving an F for the class and being expelled from the University.