Course Exam—ORGB 364 (Organizational Behavior)

According to the syllabus, ORGB 364 (Organizational Behaviour) is a three credit, first year introductory business and administrative studies course that has students developing a strong understanding of Organizational Behaviour theories and provides students with the skills to be able to apply those theories in a real life setting.  There are no prerequisites for this course.

Organizational Behaviour is comprised of twelve lessons (or units), two assignments weighing fifteen percent each, one assignment weighing twenty percent, and one final exam weighing fifty percent.  The twelve lessons discussed within this course cover several topics, which include perception, personality, values, motivation, decision making, communication, team dynamics, negotiation, conflict management, leadership, and organizational culture.

The three writing assignments within this course are each sectioned into a Part A and a Part B.  The Part A sections in the three assignments have students demonstrating their understanding of certain terms, whereas the Part B sections have students applying theories to case studies.  The assignments are in question and answer format.  Students are required to understand concepts and case studies within the textbook, paraphrase the content, and properly cite their responses in APA format.  The three assignments have target word counts (though not enforced) that should not impact the quality of the responses.  The word count is present to help students stay focused with their writing and to not go on a tangent.

Finally, the three-hour final exam is split into two parts and is very term heavy.  Part A contains thirty multiple-choice questions worth one point each and Part B contains five short-answer questions that are worth ten points each, for a total of eighty points.  Students should be aware that no choice is given on the short-answer questions, so students should be comfortable answering a wide variety of content.  Students should have a high understanding of the assigned chapters and the corresponding learning objectives that tie into the chapter summaries for the final exam.

Sue Mitchell, one of the academic experts (AE) for ORGB 364, has been coordinating and teaching at Athabasca University since 1998 and has been an academic expert for ORGB 364 for over twenty years.  She has completed a masters degree and three quarters of a PHD.  Currently, she is an academic expert for ORGB 390 (Managing Change) which is a discussion heavy course, COMM 277 (Group Communication) which is a group dynamics course, and ORGB 364 (Organizational Behaviour).

At the beginning of the telephone interview, Mitchell stresses “One of the big things that we talk about in OB (Organizational Behaviour) is that we get a mental model and once you are stuck in that mental model you cannot get out of it.  Students need to take the initiative to contact and engage with their academic experts.  Introduce yourself, ask questions, and address any of your concerns.  For ORGB 364 especially, students will be out of their comfort zone.  I am personally here to allow the opportunity for not only learning to occur but for success to occur.  Distance education is very isolating and people need to utilize the resources that Athabasca University provides and what you pay for.”

When asked about the course assignments, she states “The first assignment is the most difficult as it is asking you to apply the related theory to case studies, which is critical thinking.  Students need to make sure that they are fully analyzing and describing the content in the textbook.  Do not pick and choose what to include.  Students need to fully describe what the authors are saying and if you do not understand a concept, contact your AE.”

Moreover, she states that “This course is like an introductory sociology, psychology, humanities course, as there are a lot of terms.  There is no way that students will know all the content for the final exam.  Moreover, this course’s content is presented in the sense of how an ideal,” and she stresses the word ideal, “organization should run.  It is looking at the foundation of any OB course which is the interrelationship of stakeholders and how their behaviour drives the organization to success.”

Mitchell states “I would recommend this course to anyone in an organization, as it gives an ideal expectation of how management should do things.  Anyone in a managerial or leadership position could benefit from this course.  Also, it teaches student empowerment, motivation, how to work independently, how to have a voice, share opinions, and to be interactive.”

Lastly, she states “Prior organizational experience would help students in this course.  Also, strong writing skills are expected from students.  If students are not confident with their writing then taking a writing course prior to this course or submitting your work to the AU Write Site could be beneficial.”

From personally taking this course, ORGB 364 is very definition and writing heavy.  Students will need to read paragraphs within the textbook multiple times to understand terms to then explain those terms in their own words.  I found the assignments to be relatively easy, though reaching the target word count was not.  I now wish that I would have contacted Sue Mitchell while completing the course as she would have informed me that the word count is not mandatory if my writing remained clear.  Also, despite the assignments specifically stating what terms to write about, students will have to read most of the textbook to be successful on the final exam.  When studying for the final exam I thought I could get away with just studying the terms and case studies that were discussed within the three assignments, though that was not the case.  When I sat down to do the final exam I knew almost none of the multiple-choice questions and I could barely write anything down for the short answer questions.  Surprisingly, I just passed the exam, but I know that if it was not for my good guessing, I would not have passed.  In my opinion, the multiple choice section of the final exam reminded me a lot of the PSYC 289 and PSYC 290 final exams.

Whether this course is a required course for your program or degree or it is just a general interest of yours, it will have you learning organizational behaviour theories, how to apply them, and how organizations are ideally supposed to operate.

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