CIS195  Information Society at Work


Syllabus  (T/Th, 11:00 a.m.)

Syllabus in PDF format
Syllabus in html format (coming soon)

Essential Links:

Selected Assignments
Web Page Assignment
Web-ready Resume
        (note PDF option and bonus point possibilities)
Graph Exercise (Excel)
PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint Guidelines
Individual Student Journals
Team Fact-Finding presentations
Individual Group Process Analysis Papers

Related popular press articles (hot links)

Other Useful Links & Resources



Web Page Assignment

1. Home page (file name = "index" -- no exceptions)

2. Page of Professional Links (related to your professional interests or intended major)

3. Resume [From MS Word: Save As, Save As Type: Web Page (*.htm, *.html)]

Best to keep Home Page to one screen

Link Home Page to Resume and to Links (and back to home page from 'Links' page)

As discussed in class...

READ the style guide. Layout your pages smoothly and professionally--as discussed in class.  Avoid poor contrast, broken links, misspelled words, excessive narrative or excessive images, anything that blinks, etc.

Sample Student Pages

Make sure you page is retrievable with standard CLAWS URL, as in:
(and as discussed extensively in class).

No exceptions.  If I can't retrieve it, you can't get credit for it.


OTHER INFORMATION REGARDING SEA MONKEY:  We will take class time to get started. Read the CLAWS policies.   AND SEE MY: Creating a Web Page on CLAWS (includes links to FTP SETTINGS)


There are a number of good web page style guides on the internet. One of many is the Web Style Guide posted by Yale University. And here’s a
nice little page on good and bad web design features.

See also,
"5 Basic Rules of Web Design and Layout"


NOTE:  We will perform the basics of this assignment in class. The competed Web page, with links (including one to your resume) is due in two phases, as stated in class and/or on the syllabus. 

Make sure you page is retrievable with standard CLAWS URL.


The homepage file name must be "index" Other pages as assigned (resume page and professional links page are required, in addition to your home page). Web page file names should have no spaces.  What must the file name of your home page be?   Arrange to have them link to one another, and upload to your folder on the CLAWS server using FTP.   For those of you who would like to work on Web pages at home, get an FTP program – See “Additional Web Page Help” below:

Go to ADDITIONAL WEB PAGE HELP (for more on Web page editors; FTP programs; and FREE DOWNLOADS)


1.  Chart exercise, spreadsheet (SAVE to your local drive to work on this file)
2.  Chart exercise (hints)  [from here, highlight all data & headings, then use the Excel Chart Wizard]

3.  Bar chart exercise, one possible (pretty good) solution (PDF) [Suggest you use this title for your bar chart]

Helpful Guidelines When Creating Graphs

Summary:  A graph (continuous variable on the X axis) or chart should be able to stand alone--to be self-explanatory. Provide a clear, descriptive title; if their meaning is not obvious, label your axes.  With a few exceptions, axes should typically represent only one metric, one unit of measure. Text should be readable, with no inappropriate overlap of visual elements. Contrast and color selection should be easy on the eyes (e.g., no red against blue). The meaning of a graph or chart should be very clear to your audience; the graphic should aid your explanation, simplify your message, not complicate it.  See Ober, Chapter 11, and below:

Graphing, Charting, and Presenting Data

Using Graphs (good basic information; note "Four Guidelines" at the bottom)

Gallery of Data Visualization (historical milestones; examples of good and bad graphs)


NOTE:  I am only asking for your graph; I don't need the Excel datasheet. Due as discussed in class (beginning of class).  You may want to emulate my solution, or devise one of your own.  If you try something along the lines of what I did, you need to make sure the "Drawing Toolbar" is visible so you can make use of the 'textbox' feature.  Otherwise, learning the graph function of Excel involves right-clicking on various graph elements (once created by the wizard) and examining your options.

Use of Graphs and Tables in Technical Writing

Web-Ready Resume (Note PDF option)

Create resume in MS Word. Align text vertically as appropriate. Use tabs to align, not spaces. 

You can cut-and-paste from MS Word to Contribute, or you can use MS Word’s File, Save As capability.  I recommend FILE,  SAVE AS,  SAVE AS TYPE: WEB PAGE, (*.HTM, *.HTML).

PDF file option:  If your resume has some elaborate formatting you would like to preserve, or even just some basic formatting you would like to preserve perfectly, consider saving your MS Word file as a PDF file.  The Adobe PDF file writer will cost you a lot of money, but there is a free version (free with advertising) that students tell me works well, PDFSuite995:
This will create a "resume.pdf" file. So you would link to resume.pdf (and upload that file) rather than a resume.htm file.

SAVING IN THIS FORMAT CAN ALSO PRESERVE FORMATTING OF WORK CREATED IN OTHER SOFTWARE PACKAGES, INCLUDING MS POWERPOINT (Useful if you are going to post, and link to, additional Web pages for bonus points.)

Examples of brief, straightforward student resumes can be found at the following student web pages:

PowerPoint Presentation

Record details of your preparation in your blue book. Topic examples include, but are not limited to: Flextime, telecommuting, virtual teams, project management, knowledge & information management, and virtual (online) communities. (Find articles, not somebody’s personal Web page; you may use one company web page, if you like, for informational or illustrative purposes). OR, you may choose one substantive feature of GOOGLE to describe (see GOOGLE, drop down box, "Even More" for a list of all features.) Some features are obvious and straightforward and would not make a good choice. Do not choose Google News, Images, Blog Search, Maps, Video, You Tube, or Gmail--these features function in obvious ways and do not need a 4-5 minute explanation. However, most of the rest of the Google features would lend themselves well to such a presentation. Remember, whatever feature you choose, if you take this option, you will also need to find a couple of articles about it and incorporate reference to those articles into your presentation. Prepare 4-5-minute PowerPoint presentation. Follow basic PowerPoint guidelines.

(Note: -1 point for every 30 seconds off; practice first.) SIGN UP ON WEBCAT FOR YOUR CHOICE. PLEASE PUT YOUR CHOSEN TOPIC AND YOUR NAME IN THE TITLE BOX. FURTHER DESCRIBE YOUR TOPIC, IF NECESSARY, IN THE DESCRIPTION BOX. THEN CLICK THE 'POST' BUTTON. (Check to make sure your submission was indeed posted.)

Simply put, to earn the grade you deserve for your effort on this assignment you must adhere to these guidelines

TOPIC SELECTION:   As described above. Additional resources that might be of some use:
And, perhaps, for the more technically minded, here:

CITE your references during your presentation ("According to an article in the spring '07 issue of Business Communication Quarterly by Stanford University marketing professor Jane Smith...").  It may be that only a small portion of a journal or magazine article you find is relevant to your topic -- that's okay, cite the article and reference only that portion.  But SOME portion of the articles you cite must be relevant to your topic.

ORGANIZATION:   Please refer to your class notes, and the one-page resource at this link (PDF)In terms of organizational scheme, there are several.  An example of “Advantages/Disadvantage” is offered below.  One could also organize information chronologically, spatially or geographically, from least important to most important, or topically (three or four main features).  But do not offer your audience some disjointed laundry list of points – points should have coherence and be related to your overall theme or purpose.  Please avoid giving a sales pitch on some product or service.  Be sure and preview your main points -- as well as follow other the other primary guidelines outlined on the presentation handout and described by the professor in class.

POWERPOINT slides supporting your presentation are required.  For a five-minute presentation four or five slides would be the minimum, about 10 slides the maximum.  Review PowerPoint GUIDELINES in your class notes and at the link below:

EVALUATIONPlease click here for an example of the kind of evaluation rubric that will be used to grade your presentation.

Remember, you are not obligated to use in your presentation all the information you find in your articles.  To the contrary.  With the exception of a primary article that you might lean on most heavily you would want to extract just the bits of other articles that fit into your organizational scheme and contribute to your main points.  Remember also that scholarly sources are welcome but not required for this presentation.  Popular sources are fine as long as they come from a credible and reasonably unbiased source.

When using quotes or statistics from these articles in your presentation remember to cite the article as your source ("...according to John Smith of Harvard Medical school in the March issue of New England Journal of Medicine..."  or  "... according to an article in the Sept. 11, 2006 edition of Newsweek...")

So you have the elements of your presentation.  If you choose a topic area other than a Google feature you will need to NARROW its focus. Whatever you choose, organization is critical.  Be sure take another look at the handout that describes basic organization. 

PowerPoint Guidelines:

Read through the information provided on these Websites.

Avoid violation of basic guidelines in your own presentation.


PowerPoint Assignment READ the instructions and directions for this assignment
Grading Template STUDY the template by which you will be graded
"Death by PowerPoint" READ this short article by communication consultant Anne Miller (no excessive text!)
PowerPoint Guidelines READ these two screens on (very) basic PPt tips
Ten Tips for Using PowerPoint  READ these ten tips
Using PowerPoint Tips & Tutorials (and good resources), provided by Harvard University
PowerPoint Tutorial  A few directions on PowerPoint basics
Gettysburg Address Gettysburg Address on PowerPoint


Individual Student Journals (due at the end of the semester)

Over the course of the semester, please make the following entries into your journals:

a.  All individual student presentations (head with date and name of presenter; 5-line max, each)
        Make specific, constructive comments regarding content, organization, presentation, and/or PowerPoint slides; see Presentation Handout.

        ("Good organization" is NOT a specific, constructive comment; "Poor delivery" is NOT either.  See the Presentation Handout for examples of
        specific points about which you could offer specific, constructive comments (for example: "Sources were not cited during presentation")
b.  Each fact-finding team presentation (topic, date, names of group members, 10-line max, each group)
        Make specific, constructive comments regarding content, organization, presentation, and/or PowerPoint slides; see Presentation Handout.

        ("Good organization" is NOT a specific, constructive comment; "Poor delivery" is NOT either.  See the Presentation Handout for examples of
        specific points about which you could offer specific, constructive comments (for example: "Sources were not cited during presentation")

c.  Observations on Fact-finding team formation (date, topic(s), attendance -- appropriate length)

d.  Cogent, informed, analytical observations Fact-finding team meetings (date, topic(s), attendance -- appropriate length)
       (see resources listed here:   Four Resources for your Journal entries and Group Process Paper

e.  Your individual research efforts (interviews you conducted, with date, name, and title of interviewee
f.   Your Web and Hunter database search efforts (date, database, keywords used)

      Note reminders in syllabus schedule (blue text in online syllabus)

(TRACK:  group interaction issues [process] such as conflict management, feedback styles, leadership, listening, conducting meetings [scheduling/punctuality/attendance], gender communication issues (if any); and group contribution issues [content], that is, did team members share equally in the work load, did each member do the work assigned, was the final product well integrated? Address 3 or 4 of these aspects, NOT all of them.  For more, please see information under the heading "Group Process Analysis Papers."

Team Fact-Finding Presentations


We have discussed this final team project in class and it is here described on my website. The Discussion Board (post) assignment is for one person in the group--using input from the other members--to post a brief proposal (a) identifying the organization to be examined; (b) listing two potential interviewees (names and titles) with the organization; non-students); and (c) describing one (or two) organizational channels of communication to be examined for effectiveness, along the lines discussed in class. [quote from Discussion Board]

. Topic selection is fairly wide open. As mentioned above, the topic should have a clear connection to some aspect of business or organizational communication, concerning internal or external audiences.  Your purpose is to identify a particular aspect (channel) of internal or external communication, analyze its process and effectiveness, and recommend specific, achievable ways to improve it.  If you choose some aspect of communication with an external audience
(rather than internal), your purpose may well fall into the realm of better 'marketing and promotion', which is fine.  Choose a local organization to which you have some access--in Jackson county, a local city, or the WCU campus.  You will be expected to gather related information on the Web, through Hunter Library, and from the organization itself utilizing both interviews and hardcopy material. NARROW YOUR FOCUS.  Do not provide an overview of communication within an organization; rather, pick one aspect of organizational communication and provide an in-depth analysis of that issue.  "Recommendations" will likely occupy the last 2-4 minutes of your presentation. 


PRESENTATION AND STYLE.   Your presentation should be well-researched, appropriately documented and referenced, and smoothly integrated. This takes work on the part of all group members.  You must meet and work as a group to craft how your different contributions integrate as part of the whole.   (These are 14-15 minute presentations, -1 for every 30 seconds off. Ideally, teams of four.

Please see the following link (*required reading*) for resources on making a good business presentation, and the proper use of PowerPoint:

ORGANIZATION.  Introduce group members; state the organization you analyzed.  Describe the organization, state its purpose, and offer a very brief history.  Briefly describe the nature of the communication problem you have identified (state your purpose; in almost every case you will want to provide a top-level organization chart).  Preview your main points.  Transition to your background research (here is where you will cite most of your references).  Note examples of research below [relevant professional associations; library database search for journal articles; relevant books (start now!); Google search;  interviews with organization managers]. Integrate relevant aspects of your research into your presentation to shed light on the problem at hand. Transition to "Methodology" (or "Primary Research" or "Interviews" -- whatever you choose to call your primary fact-gathering method).  Then describe, briefly, how you gathered your specific information (your interviews).  Conduct a thoughtful, probing, structured interviews of at least two managers/supervisors (non-students). Then describe what you found out.  Then describe conclusions and recommendations.  Those of you who have done some undergraduate research will recognize this organizational format.  In fact, if you were going to submit a write-up of your project to a conference or a journal, it would follow this organizational scheme. Summary provided below.

Introduction   [~2-3 minutes]  (and see immediately above)
          Introduce team members
          Preview main points        
          Statement of the problem
          Purpose of your presentation        
Background   [~3-4 minutes]
     Literature review (again, see research examples below).  Useful information from your general background research on the subject goes
     here (but not excessively general).  See Research examples below (on university tram system and restaurant management) for illustrations;
     Definition of terms (if any are necessary). You might also include some generally-known aspects of your research on the specific
     organization. In most cases you will state the declared mission of the organization here.
Interviews (methodology)  [~1 minute] (describe the individuals you interviewed; title; date of interview; why selected). Some interview questions
      should be specific to the channel of communication you are examining.
Results           [~2-3 minutes]  (Your 'Findings').  Keep this part objective; here is where you report the results of your interviews. Do not
     organize this portion of the presentation by person interviewed:  Organize by main point (and support your main points, as appropriate, by
     information gleaned from your interviews and your research of your specific organization).  Offer specific facts relevant to your investigation here.
     If you are examining a newsletter, for example: How often is it published? Who is the intended audience? How many copies are printed/distributed?
     Does the organization use the newsletter to further its mission?  How? And how is the effectiveness of the newsletter assessed?  If you are
     examining a website, similar questions could and should be asked--and for any other channel of communication you choose.
     Do not include opinions or recommendations here. 
Discussion/Conclusions [~2-4 minutes]
     Summary (of what you found)
     Discussion (explanation/elaboration of findings)
     (Effective communication? Ineffective? Somewhere in between?  Does the commununication further the mission of the organization?)
Recommendations         [~2-3 minutes]
     Recommendations (based on your findings)

REFERENCES.   Your team presentation will be based upon at least two quality interviews and at least two other quality references related to your stated purpose). You must integrate these references into your presentation in a meaningful way, and cite them appropriately.  Again, cite these references during your presentation; enter details of your individual search process in your journal (blue book; see Student Journals description for more details). Of course, you may not find many references on your specific organization--there wouldn't be much in the literature on the WCU LMP, for example.  So you would cast a wider net and search university concert management generally; some of what you find would be relevant to WCU. Two examples of this kind of fact-finding research are offered below:

RESEARCH -- (Two examples)   You may want to interview a few students--but you must interview at least two non-student managers in any case. 

Search Example One -- RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT (emphasis on employee communication, kitchen/server)

Search Example Two -- UNIVERSITY TRAM SYSTEM  (emphasis on scheduling and routing management)

OBJECTIVITY.  Material included in the paper should fall within the defined scope and relate to the stated purpose primarily fact-finding about a specific organizational communication issue or issues). Content should be well-researched, from quality sources, and should reflect the 4-to-5 weeks of intermittent but persistent work that you have put into this effort. Note that your personal opinions are irrelevant, except in the Recommendations section of your presentation. Think of this presentation as a general briefing paper you are providing to the Chief Executive Officer of a company. The CEO is interested in an objective, factual, thoughtful presentation. Avoid filling time with information the CEO could have found by herself in a 60-second search of the Web; your information should go deeper than that. 


Interviewing (*REQUIRED READING*)

Regarding interviews, note that "they didn't call me back" is not an acceptable excuse. 

Individual Group Process Analysis Papers


Group Process Analysis:  Use selected concepts and terminology from the RESOURCES LINKED BELOW.   Turn in typed individual papers (4-5 pages, double-spaced) on the group process involved with putting together your team’s final presentation (e.g., group interaction issues [process] such as conflict management, feedback styles, leadership, & listening; conducting meetings [scheduling/punctuality/attendance], gender communication issues (if any); and group contribution issues [content], that is, did team members share equally in the work load, did each member do the work assigned, was the final product well integrated?  Some description is necessary and is part of this assignment, obviously--but be sure and provide substantial amount of thoughtful analysis in this paper.  In terms of the concepts listed above (and some considerations from the links below), what went well, and why?  What did not go well, and why?   Again, you are not asked to address every issue.  Select three or four or, perhaps, five.  Use headings to help organize your paper.  (Perhaps patterned after the headings above, perhaps patterned after the phases of the group process described in the links below ("Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing"). 


All Together Now:  Team Presentations (Maher/O'Brien manuscript; PDF)

2.  Team Process (two screens on Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing)

3.  A slightly more in-depth look at Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
Note affective, behavioral, and functional considerations under each stage.

4.  Being a Valuable Team Member
Note especially the "team facilitation roles" described here (please include discussion of some of these roles in your paper, offering a few specific examples to illustrate)



Other Useful Links & Resources
Writing Resources
Business News
Business Careers/Resumes
Professional Associations
Web Page Construction and Design

Grading Criteria and Standards for Written Work (PDF file)
Mutual Expectations/Responsibilities (PDF file)

Graphing, Charting, and Presenting Data

Using Graphs (good basic information; note "Four Guidelines" at the bottom)

Gallery of Data Visualization (historical milestones; examples of good and bad graphs)

Use of Graphs and Tables in Technical Writing


Values and Lifestyles (VALS)

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (survey)
Myers-Briggs Types explained