Course Exam: AU Courses up Close – Organizational Behaviour (ORGB 364)

The world of organizational behaviour is expanding once again at AU – this time with the newly revised foundation course, Organizational Behaviour (ORGB 364) which incorporates several exciting changes, including online delivery, and material that was rewritten to include new evaluation methods.

Why was the revision needed? Course author Claude Dupuis, Academic Coordinator for AU’s Organizational Behaviour and Industrial Relations department, explains that “it was time. This is a mandatory course for most of our business students. As such, it represents the only organizational behaviour course they may take so it has to be current, focused, relevant, and interesting.” And ORGB 364 has fulfilled this mission, as confirmed by positive comments from students who have completed the revised course.

ORGB 364 is a foundation course that introduces students to the concept of organizational behaviour. It is comprised of nine lessons that extensively involve 14 chapters of the course text – a change from the original version which focused on 18 chapters. After an introduction to the general course concepts, lessons turn to individual behaviour and how this affects our learning experience. Topics like how perception influences behaviour and response and the theories of learning are discussed. Students also delve into the study of emotions and attitudes, as well as motivation and performance. Lessons five through seven look at concepts like teamwork and its influence on behaviour and performance, as well as decision-making capacities, conflict management, and similar issues. In addition, students explore leadership and negotiations, and how examples of this apply in the business world. The course concludes with an overview of organizational culture, focusing on culture in organizations and workplaces across North America. Although the subject material may sound light, Professor Dupuis warns students not to “take the subject material for granted. Many students think learning about organizational behaviour is easy, and consequently don’t put in the effort they should compared to finance or accounting courses… [but] there are many concepts, theories and models students need to learn in ORGB 364.”

One of the exciting “bonuses” of the new version of ORGB 364 is the completely online format. A tailored course website enables students to access online components – including the assignment manual and course manual, which has self-test tools, like quick quizzes, to help students assess their retention of the course material. Students also submit all assignments online, ensuring quick feedback within less than a week.

The evaluation includes two assignments, each worth 10%, consisting of case analyses and a series of questions. Students are given a “certain amount of latitude to determine the focus of their own learning” by being able to pick from several interesting case studies. Professor Dupuis feels that this is a necessary part of the assignment, since “if students want to choose a case dealing with a subject matter they are interested in, then we should allow them to do that. I think that enhances the learning experience and makes it less of a chore.” (On a personal note, I agree”?it makes assignments significantly more fun to have choices!) There are also two exams – a midterm and a final, worth 30% and 50%, respectively. The midterm is new, as Professor Dupuis feels that it gives students a “…midpoint in the course where they can receive a kind of academic ‘heads up.’ In other words, it gives students a chance to determine for themselves how they are progressing, and provides them with an opportunity to shift their learning strategies if they need to.” Professor Dupuis notes that the exam is multiple-choice, with questions that “were carefully scrutinized by me to strike the ideal balance between low, medium, and high order cognitive thinking.”

Claude Dupuis received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, and his Master of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University in Ontario. As a course professor in Organizational Behaviour at AU, he has written several courses, including ORGB 364 and ORGB 300. Additionally, due to his research in the field, he has been quoted extensively and is considered an authority by many publications dealing with the subject of organizational behaviour.

For more information, view the syllabus at: http://www.athabascau.ca/html/syllabi/orgb/orgb364.htm

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