Friday, November 4, 2011

Business Communication

Business Communication was a great class. I enjoyed it and still use things I learned in it. One great thing about it was that it was a night class taught once a week. I like the extended time less often, because it seems that you can get into deeper conversations given the extra time. I like night classes a lot more than early a.m. classes, since I'd rather stay up late than get up early.

The content of the course was useful. We learned a ton of grammar, which I really appreciated. My spelling and grammar have always been pretty good anyway, but there were things I learned in this class that I had never grasped before. I do purposely break certain rules for various reasons, but it always is for a reason when I do. I do occasionally start a sentence with "And" but almost exclusively on my blog and only for added emphasis. The unfortunate thing about this class is that they have since removed the grammar component. Given my AP and ACT scores, I'd have qualified to skip the grammar pretest and never had to learn any of the rules that I actually appreciate having learned in this class.

A couple examples:

When using conjunctions such as and, because, but, and or, you only put a comma before the conjunction if what follows the conjunction could stand alone as a complete sentence. I raked the leaves and emptied all the garbage cans. No comma since "emptied all the garbage cans" is not a complete sentence. I had previously always used a comma before a conjunction.

You can tack two complete, related sentences together with a semicolon and no conjunction. I will pick up dinner at Pizza Pie Cafe on my way home; they are having a sweet sale right now.

Something I'll always remember about this class was the overhead slides. No, the weird part isn't that the professor used overhead slides instead of computer-based slides, although that was a little strange, too. This was and is one of my favorite professors of all time but for whatever reason had a strange method for displaying the overheads: lay slide on overhead, turn on overhead, talk about slide, turn off overhead, lay slide on overhead, turn on overhead, etc. The overhead projector was turned on and off for every single slide. I remember joking with my classmates that any electricity savings from the two seconds it was turned off while picking up the next transparency off the pile would surely be lost by having the replace the worn out power switch before its time.

I also recall that the final paper for this class had to be cancelled. It was supposed to be a research paper, which we'd write with all our new-found communication skills. The problem was that when you do research, you have to get IRB approval, even if it's a simple survey to ask people about their parking behaviors, which ours was. IRB approval usually takes months, and while there are provisions for blanket IRB approval for class-based research projects in certain situations, it was too late for that process as well. Being the go-getters that we were (and since I was writing a paper about the same topic in my English class the same semester), we already had our research collected by the time the sad news was delivered. We ended up writing and turning in our paper anyway for extra credit. The extra credit should have been reversed, since we threw a bunch of screen beans into it, and that flies in the face of any kind of professional communication which we had been learning about. It's too bad I couldn't have taken some of that extra credit and applied it to the grade in my English class, for which I was using some of the same content.

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