MSEL-515: Communication in an Environment of Open Organizations

MSEL-515: Communication in an Environment of Open Organizations

Course Description and Prerequisites

Explore the formal and informal communication strategies that help leaders influence beyond their formal authority. Topics will include communication tactics for engaging stakeholders, cross cultural communications, managing conflict, building impactful narratives that engage and inspire, and the impact of technology on communication in today’s organizations.

Student-Centered Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish between a variety of formal and informal communication strategies and their potential impacts
  • Appraise the impacts of technologies on communication in organizations
  • Analyze how communication strategies impact conflict and its resolution
  • Design communications to engage a variety of stakeholders
  • Experiment with crafting narratives that inspire and impact desired outcomes


Textbook(s) and Technology Requirements

Required Texts

Jacqueline M. Stavros, Cheri Torres, and David L. Cooperrider, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement (Links to an external site.) Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018, First Edition

Jane Hyun, Audrey S. Lee, Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Difference (Links to an external site.) HarperCollings, 2014

Harvard Business Review, Robert B. Cialdini, Nick Morgan, and Deborah Tannen, HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Communication (Links to an external site.), Harvard Business Review Press, 2013


Technology Requirements

Please review the Technology Requirements (Links to an external site.) for Champlain College Online.


Topic Outline

  • Week 1: Why Leading is Communicating
  • Week 2: Why Communication is Listening & Engaging Others
  • Week 3: Conversations Worth Having – Exploring Generative Conversations
  • Week 4: Communicating for Building Psychological Safety & Trust
  • Week 5: Communicating for Resolving Conflict and Creating Solutions
  • Week 6: Communication in a Technology-Mediated World
  • Week 7: Communication across Gender and Culture
  • Week 8: Leadership as Storytelling & Collective Meaning Making


Methods of Assessment

Your final grade will be determined based on:

Graded ElementsPercentage
Weekly Assignments35%
Video Assignments10%
Group Assignments15%
Extra Credit Course Evaluation1%



Weekly discussions are an integral part of learning at Champlain College and represent a significant portion of a student’s overall grade. In order to be successful, students should:

  1. Post a thorough, well-crafted initial response that fully addresses and develops all aspects of the prompt by the due date.
  2. Engage substantively throughout the discussion period by responding to others with questions or comments that demonstrate interest, build upon the ideas of others, and encourage elaboration.
  3. Apply and integrate concepts from this course as well as from quality resources including journals, websites, readings from another class, relevant work or life experience, etc.
  4. Demonstrate attention to style, structure, grammar, etiquette, and proper citation of references to maintain academic integrity.

Discussion grades are determined using the rubric below. The descriptions show what exemplary work looks like for each aspect of an overall discussion.

Discussion Rubric
CriteriaDescriptionMax Points
ApplicationExplicitly and thoroughly explains, applies, and integrates a) concepts from this or other courses, b) outside resources or research, c) life experiences, and/or d) processes used to solve problems.30 pts
Critical ThinkingClearly articulates a desire to a) reflect, b) explore possibility, c) recognize ambiguity, d) question assumptions, and/or e) search for logical relationships among ideas. Selects, analyzes, and synthesizes relevant information to demonstrate original thinking.30 pts
CollaborationFosters collaborative learning while a) problem-solving, b) respectfully challenging others, and/or c) expanding thinking through responses and reflection with other learners throughout the week. Builds on classmate and instructor contributions to deepen the conversation.30 pts
PresentationDemonstrates attention to APA/MLA style and structure, adheres to rules of grammar and etiquette, and properly cites references to literature and course materials.10 pts
Total Points: 100



All written assignments are due no later than 11:59 pm (your time zone) on the stated due date. If you find you need to turn in your work late, communicate ahead of time with the instructor.

  • See the the CCO GradingPolicy (Links to an external site.) for complete details.
  • Given time zone differences, all submissions deadlines are for your timezone.
  • Extenuating circumstances: Sometimes significant life events happen (i.e., serious illness, family death, etc.) that interfere with our best efforts to meet expectations. if this is the case, you must communicate with your instructor for clarification on the way late submissions can be handled and how any late submissions may affect your assessment. If you know of an issue ahead of time, it is important to communicate with the instructor prior to the situation.

It is valuable to submit all individual assignments in Microsoft Word so that formatting remains in place when uploaded to Canvas. However, if you only work in Google Docs, it can be used. Please do not send any attached files in a PDF format.


Student Resources & Policies

Academic Honesty Policy

Champlain College students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the College’s policy for Academic Honesty. (Links to an external site.) Academic honesty entails creating original assignments, using your own words, and when using the words and ideas of others, documenting those sources using the method specified in this course. Please consult with your instructor if you are in doubt. Violations of the policy could result in a grade of F on the assignment or in the course as well as dismissal from the College.


Grading Policies

CCO Grading Policy (Links to an external site.)

Grading Scale (Links to an external site.)


Course summary: