GCO1063 Professional communication - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Dr Raymond Smith


Gippsland : Meredith Downes_Smith


Information storage and retrieval. Models of human communication. Analysis models for communication. Organisational communication: structures, communication networks, purposes, formal and informal communication. Written communication: report writing, memoranda, letters, instructions, notices, computing documentation. Oral communication: listening skills, informal meetings, formal meetings, oral presentations, audiovisual communication, interviewing skills. Critical analysis of argument. All aspects of the subject are focused on the needs of IT professionals.

This unit is intended to give you a sound theoretical and practical grasp of communication as a personal and business tool. Many of the activities utilise information technology, but the unit’s theory and the practical knowledge and skills are relevant to all walks of life.

Because the unit requires you to develop formal research skills and practical personal communication skills like making presentations to groups it will make heavy demands on you.

You will need to be able to make regular use of a computer and of the Internet for class communication and assignments, to conduct research in the Monash University and other libraries, you will need to make a presentation to a live audience, you will need to prepare a long report and you will need to do a substantial amount of reading. These demands will be easier to meet if you are well organised and plan your study program thoroughly.



Professional Communication provides a theoretical framework for defining communication processes and strategies and evaluating their effectiveness. The primary focus will be on organisational communication with emphasis on the skills and applications relevant to information technology professionals.

On completion of unit students will be able to:

  • define communication as a human rather than a mechanical activity;
  • recognise the effective communication strategies and processes, both oral and written, appropriate to a number of different settings and purposes;
  • demonstrate professionally acceptable standards of oral and written communication;
  • retrieve and utilise information efficiently; and
  • demonstrate the ability to think logically, and to present, analyse and answer arguments in an objective manner.



No tertiary prerequisites are required.

Some basic familiarity with computers, software, text editors, file management in DOS and Windows 95/98/2000/XP or better will be helpful but is not essential. You will need to acquire these skills in the course of your studies if you do not already have them.

If you are new to computers you are strongly advised to complete the computer-based training package on the Windows file system on the CD-ROM included with the Computer Resources Information Booklet.

The Monash Computer Resources 2007 booklet describes a number of Monash on-line training resources you can take advantage of.



Unit relationships

GCO1063 is a core unit in the Bachelor of Information Technology with majors in System Development, Business Systems, and Network Technology. Students in the Diploma of Foundation Studies can select it as a core unit in their degree. This unit may be taken as an elective in many other degrees offered by the university.

GCO1063 Human Communication is a corequisite for GCO1813 Information Systems 1.

You may not study this unit and any of MMS1001, MGW1100, CSE1304, ELC1001, BUS2030 in your degree.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

Required Textbook

Dwyer, Judith. Communication for Business: Strategies and Skills, Third edition, Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN: 1- 74103-217-2

Textbook availability

Available from all good technical bookstores

Software requirements

  1. A web browser such as Netscape Communicator or Mozilla or Microsoft Internet Explorer. Browsers usually include a newsreader so that you can search the library, read and post to the newsgroups and access the unit web site. Netscape Communicator is recommended and is included on the supporting CD-ROM (see Section 8 of the unit guide). Internet Explorer is packaged with most Microsoft products, including Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office.
  2. A word processing package such as Microsoft Word.
  3. Access to a web page or HTML editor such as Microsoft FrontPage or Dreamweaver. Netscape Navigator comes with Netscape Composer, which is suitable for assignment 3. Do not buy expensive software: you should be able to download a superseded version from the web or borrow a computer for assignment 3.

Software is available for use in the student microlabs on any of the campuses as well as in libraries, at TMCAS, SPACE and at various community facilities such as libraries, neighbourhood houses and TAFE colleges.

If you do decide to purchase software be sure to ask for the Educational Price available on most software on presentation of your student card.

Hardware requirements

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to n hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

Anderson, J. and Poole, M. Thesis and Assignment Writing, Jacaranda Wiley, 4th ed., 2001.

Baker, E., Barrett, M., Roberts, L., Working Communication, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, 2002.

Eunson, Baden. ?Writing and Presenting Reports?, The Communication Skills Series, John Wiley and Sons, 1994.

Eunson, Baden. ?Writing Skills?, The Communication Skills Series, John Wiley and Sons, 1994..

Galvin, Prescott. Huseman, Business Communication, 4th edition, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1992.

Petelin, R., Durham. M. The Professional Writing Guide: Writing Well and Knowing Why, Longman Professional, Melbourne, 1992.

Windschuttle, K., Elliott, E. Writing, Researching, Communicating, 3rd edition, McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Mohan, T., McGregor, H., Sanders, S. and Archee, R. Communicating! Theory and Practice, 4th edition, Harcourt Brace, 1997.

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for GCO1063 are:

  • A printed Unit Guide (16 pages), containing some information from this page, information on oral presentations for off-campus students, a sample exam and the first assignment, sent from CeLTS,
  • A printed Unit Book containing 13 Study Guides (216 pages), sent from CeLTS,
  • A printed reader (140 pages) for supplementary readign and assistance with grammar and citations,
  • A GSCIT Computing Unit Support Modules CDROM with Multi-media supporting material for GCO1063,
  • The GCO1063 unit web page, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications and sample solutions will be posted, and from where newsgroups can be accessed.

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Study Guide
1 Introduction, Information research and the Internet 0 and 1
2 What is Communication? A Model. The Keys to Communication. 2 and 3
3 Organisations 4
4 Data Gathering and Analysis 5
5 Reports 10
6 Forms of communication in organisations 9
Non teaching week
7 System Documentation 11
8 Presentations 6
9 Listening Skills 7
10 Student Oral Presentations 6
11 Meetings 12
12 StudeInterviewing 8
13 Revision All


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of 3 assignments with a weighting of 50% and an examination with a weighting of 50%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

  • attempt ALL assignments and the examination
  • score at least 50% of the possible marks for the unit

For on-campus students there is the additional requirement to attend at least 80% of tutorials (excluding the first tutorial).

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

In accordance with GSIT standards, the final grade will be calculated according to the formula:

final grade = minimum(A+10, E+10, (E+A)/2)

where A = overall assignment percentage

E = examination percentage

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Ass 1 Information Retrieval and Case Study 22 March 2007 10%
Ass 2 Written Report 12 April 2007 12 %
Ass 3a Web Site (electronic documentation) & analysis. 10 May 2007 13 %
Ass 3b Oral Presentation 10 May 2007 15 %
Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 50 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the GCO1063 unit web site assignment page.

Assignment Submission

On-campus Students

Submit the assignment to the GSIT Student Services Desk (2nd floor of 4N building) by 4.00 PM on the due date, with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached. Cover sheets are available at the desk.

Off-campus students

You have received special individually barcoded assignment cover sheets with acknowledgement of enrolment. These accurately identify your assignments in our system and ensure prompt and accurate delivery within the University.

Please staple securely the correct cover sheet to the front of the assignment and submit to CELTS. Do not change the barcodes in any way.

If you lose the correct cover sheet, attach a sheet of paper containing the following details:

The Unit TITLE and CODE


Your complete POSTAL ADDRESS


Do not email submissions. Do not fax submissions. The due date is the date by which the submission is to be posted.

Singapore and Hong Kong Students

TMCAS (Singapore) - follow local arrangements, as explained by your Unit Administrator, attaching BOTH the TMC and Monash University coversheets.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Late assignments will have marks deducted at the rate of 5% per day late. No assignment will be accepted more than two weeks late without prior permission.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Newsgroups are our preferred means of communication. Please use them for questions or comments about the content, materials or assignments (other than requests for extensions).

There are students in the unit studying at Gippsland and by distance learning in Australia and around the world. The newsgroups give you the opportunity to communicate with your class and to take advantage of all the questions and ideas that such a group can generate.

Newsgroups do tend to grow in size very quickly, so make sure you keep up to date by reading them daily, and once a week minimum.

The newsgroups for GCO1063 Human Communications are:

Check this newsgroup at least once a week for messages from your unit adviser about the organisation and operation of the unit. This may include changes to the assignments or due dates or other important information. Students cannot make postings to Notices.

Post your questions about the assignments or respond to other students' questions.

Post any questions or comments about the unit's content but not specifically related to assignments here.

Here you can make constructive comments and suggestions about the unit in general and especially about its materials. I find this newsgroup particularly helpful in picking up "typos" (-;.

Newsgroup etiquette

In your postings to the newsgroup please:

1. Include a meaningful subject line.
Give your question/solution/point a meaningful title, so that others with the same issue can reference it. For example,'URGENT!-HELP ME!' is not useful as a reference and may be deleted. Much more helpful might be 'Assignment 1 question 1 part a' or 'Dwyer page 7 Communication model'.

2. Check to see if your question has already been answered
Frequently someone else has already asked the same question. Please don't waste everyone's time by asking again and diverting attention from the first response.

3. Show respect for others.
In a text-only communication form like newsgroups, misunderstandings can develop in the absence of non-verbal communication. If offence is taken from misinterpretation of your message, then be quick to apologise. At the same time do not be quick to take offence.


Use email to contact the unit advisor for personal enquiries - questions that relate to you only, such as requests for extensions or to discuss your personal progress.

The unit email gco1063@infotech.monash.edu.au ensures that Meredith or Ray can answer your query.


The Gippsland School of Information Technology:


Medical certificates and other printed documents can be faxed here [03 5122 6879, 9902 6879]. Originals of medical certificates must be provided by post.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

Monday  11am - 12 Noon

Friday  11am - 12 Noon 

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Dr Raymond Smith
Phone +61 3 990 26462

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 19, 2007