PAUS 8091

Professor Gregory Streib

Classroom South 201, Wednesday, 4:30-7:00pm

Course Number 16317

 

 

COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR

PUBLIC LEADERS

 

 

The course is focused on a variety of communication skills that are essential for public leaders.  It is designed for current and future public leaders who need to stay informed on a wide variety of topics and communicate information and ideas to others in timely and effective ways.  Students will learn to communicate information to others through professional presentations, written documents, and electronic mediums, and they will be required to develop their own policy relevant Web pages.  Active student participation is emphasized and required.  We will make extensive use of the Internet in this class, and all course materials can be accessed from a WebCT Vista home page.

 

 

 

Required Textbooks:

 

Catherine Smith, Writing Public Policy: A Practical Guide to Communicating in the Policy-Making Process, ISBN: 0195145070 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005).

 

William Eggers, Government 2.0, ISBN: 0742541754 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: Lanham, MD, 2005).

 

These books should be available in the university bookstore.  I also recommend shopping on the Web to find the best prices.  This Web site might prove helpful.  Please notify the instructor immediately, if you have problems getting this book.  Additional readings are available on the course home page.

 

 

Recommended Materials:

 

James Garnett, Communicating for Results in Government: A Strategic Approach for Public Managers,   ISBN: 0-7879-0000-1 (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 1994).

 

We will be using Microsoft FrontPage 2003 in this class.  This can be used in the GSU labs and classrooms, but you will probably also want a personal copy.  Remember that this can be purchased on campus at a discounted price.  Older versions of FrontPage are probably fine, but we will be using tutorials developed for the newest version in class. 

 

 

Office Hours:

 

Your instructor will hold formal office hours from 2pm-4pm on Wednesday in room 336 of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.  Meetings can also be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.  Your instructor will also be answering questions via telephone during office hours.  You can reach your instructor by telephone at (404) 651-4448.  Stay on the line, if I am away, and you will get my voice mail.  Electronic mail can be sent via the Internet to gstreib@gsu.edu.  You can also Email your instructor from our WebCT Vista home page.  Fax messages can be sent to (404) 651-1378.

 

 

8091 On the Web:

 

The course home page can be found at the following location: http://vista.gsu.edu.  You will have problems using Vista if you do not do a browser tune-up.  This is something that students are expected to do.  Any other problems can be addressed by contacting technical support.  Contact your instructor immediately if these resources are inadequate in any way.

 

This site contains links to class materials and a variety of communication tools.  There are required class materials in different electronic formats, and there are also some additional reading materials that should be considered optional.  Some files are quite large.  As a general rule, an effort has been made to keep the required files as small as possible.  The largest files are labeled as large.  It is a good idea to check the file labels if you have a slow Internet connection.  A recent version of the Explorer browser is required for this course.  This browser optimizes all class materials. 

 

These course facilities are not to be used for personal vendettas, personal advertising, or for political or consumer marketing of any kind.  Such postings will be removed immediately and without notice.  Continued misuse of communication tools can result in dismissal from this course.

 

 

Class Assignments:

 

All class assignments must be submitted electronically from the class home page.  Assignments will be available for at least 5 days preceding the submission deadline.  You can choose your own due date, since you can submit your work at any point during the availability period.  

 

Emailed or paper assignments will be accepted only in emergency situations.  Every document submitted should include your name, the date, and page numbers.  Also, include your name in every electronic file name.  One thing to remember is that the Vista software does not like file names that contain spaces or special characters.  You will have the opportunity to practice submitting an assignment early in this course.

 

 

Assignment 1

Case Presentation: You must present a series of recommendations for improving the communications strategies and processes used by the ATF, as described in the case that we read in class.  This presentation will be done as a part of a 3 person group.

 

Address this question: "What could ATF do to avoid a repeat of the problems encountered prior to and during the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound?"  Be prepared.  You will not receive full credit unless you show that you have applied the strategic communication model presented in the Garnett readings.

 

You will not receive full credit unless you participate in a presentation and you ask at least one question about the work done by another group.

 

 
Assignment 2

Writing Workshop Assignment: You must define a public policy problem.  Your inspiration can come from personal experience or from a modest amount of research.  You need to know enough about the problem to write an effective definition.  Follow the process outlined on pages 22 through 26 of the Writing Public Policy book. 

 

You should avoid ideological arguments.  Your paper should make a case for action that can be understood by a broad audience.  Readers of your paper should be able to fully understand that a solvable problem exists and recognize the need for action.  As a general rule, people are good at spotting problems, but presenting the problem in a way that commands action takes a bit more thought. 

 

Make a compelling case for the problem you have identified, using as few words as possible.  The writing quality standards are very high in this course, and sloppy work will receive a very low grade.  The preferred length for these papers is around 800 words.  The format is up to you, but a memo format seems like a good idea.  If this is your choice, then address your memo to an individual or group that could help you to get the type of action you want.

 

Please post your policy definition paper in Word format on the class bulletin board (as an attachment) for review and comment by other students in the class.  This is the only type of submission that is required for this assignment.

 

This paper may be revised, after the workshop class, and the revision must also be posted on the class bulletin board.  The revision is not required, but this is an option.  Make sure and follow the tips available for 8091 documents available on the class home page for all of your written work in this class.

 

 

Assignment 3

 

 

Case Assignment: You must develop a proposal for addressing the communication and management problems presented in one of the cases that are available in this class.  This is a group project, using your original three person group, and you can pick the case that you want to work on. The case materials are available on our class home page.  Every member of the group will submit a copy of the group product and a short description of their personal contribution to the effort.  Your finished product should be no more than 15 pages in length, including attachments.  Please use the proposal format presented in the Writing Public Policy book. 

 

Submitted documents should include your title, name, the date and page numbers.  Also, include your name in each electronic file name.

 

All assignments submitted in this class receive comments.  You can view your comments by returning to the assignment page on Vista.   Click on all the available tabs and see what it offers.  Students sometimes worry about whether their assignment was submitted correctly.  You will be contacted if there was a problem.  Vista does show you what was submitted. but there is no Email confirmation.  Grading can take from a couple of days to a week.

 

 

Assignment 4

Case Assignment Presentation:  Each three-person group will present their proposed solution to the case assignment.  There is a 10 minute time limit for these presentations.  You may use PowerPoint (or whatever tools you choose to use), but you then become responsible for being ready to do this.  We will have a computer and a projector available.  A USB memory drive is the recommended method for getting quick access to your presentation materials.

 

You will not receive full credit unless you participate in a presentation and you ask at least one question about the work done by another group.

 

 

Assignment 5

Position Paper:  The Clear Air Campaign is considering whether to revise their Web site.  Your assignment is to develop an argument explaining why this should or should not be done.  Use what you have learned about Web site qualities and expectations from the class lecture and readings in developing your argument.  You may pick a different Web site, other than the Clean Air Campaign, if you wish.

 

Of course, you should also demonstrate that you have mastered the techniques presented in the Writing Public Policy book.  Use the position paper format discussed in chapter 5.  Your finished product should be roughly 4 pages in length.  Submitted documents should include your title, name, the date and page numbers.  Also, include your name in each electronic file name.

 

You should understand that this is expected to be a very well written paper.  Several drafts will be needed to get this right.  Clear writing is expected, of course, but you must also present a convincing argument.  The first step in an assessment of this type is to establish the criteria that will be used in your assessment.  What should the Web site be expected to accomplish?  (This is your chance to show you learned something from the class materials.)  Establish what the job is and then get into how well the job is getting done.  This type of writing needs a tight focus, and you must avoid inconsistencies.  Show that you know something about the position paper format, but you are not required to apply it in a formulaic way.  The book gives you a good basic outline that you can apply in different ways.

 

 

Assignment 6

PowerPoint Slide Show: Prepare a PowerPoint presentation to sell your Web site project to decision-makers.  Make sure to emphasize why you believe that your Web site is needed.  You need to propose a unique, useful, and informative Web site.  Look for ways to contribute that involve the analysis or synthesis of any existing information.  The Web pages are not going to be judged on quantity.  Do not use terms like comprehensive, complete, or one-stop-shop.  Use your research and insights to produce a Web site that is uniquely valuable.

 

You should assume a presentation of about 15 minutes in length.  About 7-10 slides would be appropriate (not including your title slide).  Please note that you will not be expected to make a presentation to the class, due to time constraints. 

 

You slide show needs a title.  Also, please include your name in each electronic file name.

 

 

Assignment 7

Web Site Presentation:  You must make a five minute presentation of your Web site project.  Please note any communication principles that you employed, identify interesting features, and explain how you think your site will benefit users.  The Web page need not be completely done at this point, but you will need something to talk about.  There is additional time left in the class to refine your Web site before you submit it for a grade.

 

You will not receive full credit unless you participate in a presentation and you ask at least one question about the work done by another group.

 

 

Assignment 8

Web Site: For this Web site assignment, you must develop and publish a Web site based on the idea that you presented in your slide show. 

 

You will develop the main text and format for the page and provide links to useful Web sites.  Additional details will be provided in class.  The grade for this assignment will be based in your Web siteís functionality, usefulness, and creativity.  You must create your own page that is uploaded from your computer.  Using on-line site creation tools is not allowed.

 

Like any research work, it is acceptable to draw ideas and concepts from others, but such sources must be acknowledged in some way on your page.  When materials are available on other Web sites, then a link to these sites is appropriate.  These same rules apply to artwork.  There are many sources of artwork on the Internet and most of the sites offering these materials specify what type of use is allowed.  Carefully follow all stated requirements.

 

In addition to submitting the URL for your site, you must also submit a one-page self evaluation via WebCT.   Both can be submitted in a single Word document.   Discuss the merits of your page in terms of the criteria listed above.   Define the audience for your page and explain how you are helping them.  Every document submitted should include your title, name, the date and page numbers.  Also, include your name in each electronic file name.

 

 

Policy on Late Assignments:

 

There is a substantial penalty for late assignments.  The grade on any assignment turned in after the deadline will be reduced one half of a letter grade (5 percent).  There will be another half letter grade reduction for each additional 12 hour period.  Assignments will not be accepted when they are more than three days late.

 

 

Plagiarism or Cheating:

 

Students plagiarizing or cheating in any form will face disciplinary action that could result in receiving an ďFĒ in this course, or suspension or expulsion from the University.  If a student is ever unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism or cheating regarding work on written or oral presentations, please consult the student handbook and/or consult your instructor.  It is the studentís responsibility to know the meaning of plagiarism and when it occurs.  The following is reprinted from the GSU Student Handbook: 

 

Plagiarism is presenting another personís work as oneís own.  Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgement, including the summarizing of another studentís work as oneís own.  Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else.  The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the faculty member.  Failure to indicate the extent and nature of oneís reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism.  It is also plagiarism to reuse material you prepared for different courses in the same program.  The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility.

 

Students are expected to do their own work in this course.  Many assignments are not group projects.  Unauthorized collaboration is a violation of university and departmental policies.  Possible violations include having other students read your paper and giving you detailed instructions on how to get a better grade, hiring a professional editor, or having a friend or colleague help you to complete your Web page assignment.  A good grade in this class indicates that you are able to do the work in this class without the assistance of others.

 

 

Grading:

 

Final course grades will be determined as follows:

 

Course Component
Task
Available Points

 

 

 

Module One

Assignment One: ATF and the Media

25

 

 

 

Module Two

Assignment Two: Writing Workshop

125

 

 

 

Module Three 

Assignment Three: Case Presentation

Assignment Four: Case Proposal

25

200

 

 

 

Module Four  

Assignment Five: Position Paper

200

 

 

 

Module Six  

Assignment Six: PowerPoint Slide Show

200

 

 

 

Module Seven

Assignment Seven: Web Site Presentation

Assignment Eight: Completed Web Site

25

200

 

                                                                                                      Total     

1000

 

Students must earn 900+ points to receive a grade of "A," 800+ points to earn a "B," and 700+ points to earn a grade of "C."  Incomplete grades will only be given for nonacademic reasons when advance arrangements have been made.  In this class, a B is the expected grade for good, competent work.  Grades in the A range are reserved for excellent work.  Excellent work goes beyond the minimum in some important way. 

 

You can expect to receive a grade and comments within 48 hours after the due date. You can view your comments by returning to the assignment page on WebCT.

 

You will be able to check your scores on the class home page.  Grades on the exam and assignments will be presented on a 100 point scale, so that you can better evaluate your performance.  A weighted point total will be provided around the middle of the course, which will allow you to see how well you are doing.

 

COURSE OUTLINE

 

 

CLASS 1: January 11

Course Introduction         

 

We will discuss the various components of this course and discuss the importance of communication skills in public administration.

 

You will also be assigned to a three person group.  You will be working with your group on a number of assignments in this class.  Take a minute after class tonight to exchange contact information and discuss different options for staying in touch.

 

 

Module 1:  Communicating for Results

 

This module focuses on the strategic communication model developed by James Garnett.  Students will learn a systematic method for improving their communications skills.

 

CLASS 2: January 18

A Strategic Model for Government Communication

 

Garnett, Chapters 1-3

 

CLASS 3: January 25

Applying the Garnett Model

Case Study, "ATF and the Media" (Report of the Department of Treasury)

 

There will also be case presentations tonight, in addition to a short lecture and discussion session.  Each of the three person groups will be required to make a 5 minute presentation.  Address this question:  "What could ATF do to avoid a repeat of the problems encountered prior to and during the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound?"  Be prepared.  You will not receive full credit unless you show that you have applied the strategic communication model presented in the Garnett readings.  Attendance is essential, of course. 

 

 

Module 2:  Writing Public Policy

 

This module will review the different types of writing skills that are required for effective communication in the policy-making process.  Students will learn how to handle a wide range of writing tasks that are commonly encountered by public leaders.

 

CLASS 4: February 1

Writing Public Policy, Part One

 

We will be discussing the Writing Public Policy Book, chapters 1-5.

"Sentence Outlines." (O'Hare)

"Clear Writing Means Clear Thinking Means..." (Swift)

 

The writing workshop assignment is due by 12 noon on Sunday, February 5.

 

You will also be able to submit a revision of this assignment, and this will be due on February 12.

 

 

CLASS 5: February  8

Writing Workshop

 

You will meet in your three person groups to review and discuss the writing workshop postings prepared by your group members.  Focus on clarity, economy of style and the extent that the assignment requirements were met.  What lessons can you apply to the future writing assignments in this class?  Each group will be asked to share their conclusions with the entire class.

 

CLASS 6: February  15

Writing Public Policy, Part Two

 

We will be discussing the Writing Public Policy Book, chapters 6 through the conclusion. 

 

 

Module 3: Case Assignment

 

The work in this module applies what you have learned in the previous two modules to a realistic public sector problem.  You will work with your three-person group.  Each group will prepare a short proposal for addressing the situation described in a case situation and make a presentation to the class.

 

CLASS 7: February 22

Case Workshop

 

We will discuss the case assignment and you will have time to meet with your group.

 

You can practice submitting an assignment on WebCT Vista after this class is over.  This practice assignment will be available until 12 noon March 4.  Practice is recommended. 

 

CLASS 8: March 1

Case Project Presentations

 

You will present your group projects.  You will have just 10 minutes, so focus on your conclusions.  Be prepared. 

 

The case assignment must be turned in by 12 noon on Sunday, March 5.

 

March 8

Spring Break

 

 

Module 4:  E-Governance: The New Face of Government

 

This module will review the changing nature of public sector communications given the changing role of technology.  Students will learn more about the usefulness of e-governance as a tool for enhancing democracy and improving communication.

 

  CLASS 9: March 15

E-Government Possibilities

 

We will be discussing Government 2.0, parts one and two.

 

CLASS 10: March 22

E-Democracy and Breaking E-Government Barriers

 

We will be discussing Government 2.0, parts three and four.

 

The position paper assignment must be turned in by 12 noon on Sunday, March 26.

 

 

Module 5:  Mastering PowerPoint

 

Students will learn how to use MS PowerPoint as an effective communication tool. 

 

CLASS 11: March 29

PowerPoint Training Session

 

We will cover some more advanced PowerPoint skills and discuss the PowerPoint and Web site assignments.

 

 

Module 6:  Internet Research Skills

 

This module will examine how to make the most of internet resources.  Topics will include search strategies, important information sources for public leaders, and Internet communication tools.

 

CLASS 12: April 5

Mastering Internet Resources

 

"Better Internet Searching" (Rubenking)

"How Google Works" (Anonymous from The Economist)

 

Your PowerPoint slide show is due by 12 noon on Wednesday, April 9.

 

 

Module 7:  Developing Web Page

 

Students will learn how to develop their own Web page.  We will cover Web page basics and a few advanced topics.

 

 

CLASS 13: April 12

Creating a Web Page, Part One

 

We will create a short Web page in class and cover all the skills needed for creating a useful page.  You will receive a handout that will guide you through this project.  It will probably help if you bring a standard computer disk to class.  A USB flash memory drive is an even better idea.  This may help you to continue your work when you get back home.

 

CLASS 14: April 19

Creating a Web Page, Part Two

 

We will work on Web pages.  Your instructor will be on hand to help you.  

 

 

CLASS 15: April 26

Web Site Presentations

 

Everyone will do a five minute presentation of their Web site.  Please note any communication principles that you employed, identify interesting features, and explain how you think your site will benefit visitors.  The Web page need not be completely done at this point, but you will need something to talk about.  You have some additional time in the class to refine your Web site.

 

FINAL PROJECT IS DUE:  May 7

 

Your Web site assignment is due by 12pm.  No assignments will be accepted after the deadline. 

 

Please note that your access to this class will end soon after the the Web page assignments have been graded.  This will be your last chance to get detailed feedback from your instructor on your final grade.

 

Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve this course.  Also, remember to take the time to complete the university course evaluation form on GoSolar. 

 

 
 

 

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