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Archive for the 'Resources for Instructors' Category

Mobile UsabilityJakob Nielsen has long been a respected authority on website usability, and in recent years he has turned his attention to mobile devices. A key benefit of the advice he and his colleagues dispense to clients and readers is extensive usability testing to measure what really works and what doesn't. The book Mobile Usability, which he co-authored with Raluca Budiu, offers numerous insights into the communication experience on smartphones and tablets, including an entire chapter on writing for mobile devices. It's well worth the read if you are integrating mobile in your business communication course.

For example, Nielsen and Budiu cite research conducted at the University of Alberta that demonstrated how reading comprehension can drop by half when readers switch from full-size PC screens to phones. They explain the two major reasons comprehension suffers on mobile devices:

  • With less information in view on these smaller screens, readers have to rely more on memory to keep individual points in context. Given the fallibility of human memory and the distracting environments in which mobile reading often takes place, it's easy to see how readers can lose track.
  • The smaller the screen, the more scrolling is required to consume content—and scrolling introduces multiple problems. First, it takes time away from reading, and even these fractions of seconds interrupt the process of fixing information in short-term memory. Second, after each scrolling action, readers need to relocate the transition point between read and unread material to make sure they haven't missed anything. Third, scrolling diverts attention from reading while users find and activate whatever paging controls are in place on the screen.

On this third point about mechanisms for scrolling, something we've noticed ourselves lately is that the variety of paging strategies now in place with various websites, apps, and devices adds to the navigational confusion, which must in turn be harming comprehension. If you read from a variety of sources and use multiple devices and apps, every time you switch contexts you have to engage at least a few brain cells to figure out how to navigate. Swipe vertically? Swipe horizontally? (Or in some cases, swipe horizontally to jump to a new article and swipe vertically to read within the current article.) Tap some vaguely defined and unlabeled margin area near the side of the screen? Find and tap a labeled button or arrow? These are all tiny interruptions, to be sure, but every interruption is a threat to comprehension and retention.

Given how many business professionals now rely on mobile devices for communication, these findings emphasize how critical it is to write short, focused, linear messages for today's readers.

Nielsen's consulting firm also publishes a wide range of articles on usability and communication issues that you may find interesting for classroom discussion.

YouTube-logo-full_colorBovée and Thill's Guide to Videos for Business Communication is now available free to all adopters of Bovée and Thill business communication texts. The guide, prepared by Dr. Maria Schellhase of the College of Southern Nevada, has links to nearly 50 online videos in 27 subject categories. The guide includes discussion questions for each video to help you make the best use of these programs in your classroom.

You can find the guide under the Instructor heading on your book's Real-Time Updates homepage.

Target SignBetween network security breaches and random corporate blunders, it's been a rough few months for GM, Target, Neiman Marcus, Adobe, Michaels, Lululemon, SeaWorld, US Airways, Yahoo, and about half the population of the Internet, thanks to the Heartbleed glitch.

Their grief is our good fortune, however—at least in terms of providing discussion material for business communication. offers a wide range of commentary and analysis by corporate communication professionals, and the site offers some great articles to discuss with your students.

The sections on public relations and social media also have a variety of pieces you might find useful in your classes.

GamesRadarOne of the most effective business uses of Twitter is as a "headline-announcement service," alerting readers to new blog posts, new pieces in online magazines, and other fresh content. However, writing effective Twitter teasers for any given target audience is a bit of an artform. The videogame review site does a good job of this, enticing game fans with cheeky and provocative prompts.

Here's an annotated snapshot of the company's Twitter account with several examples: Bovee and Thill blog – Hall of Fame – GamesRadar on Twitter

This post offers an overview of teasers and the other compositional modes that students should be comfortable with when writing for electronic media. The post also includes a link to a new video on the Bovée-Thill YouTube Channel that explores these modes.

The ability to explain complex topics in clear terms is one of the most important skills a business communicator can have. This example from the Creative Commons website, explaining three levels of content licensing, demonstrates the power of plain language.

Bovee and Thill blog – Hall of Fame – Creative Commons website

As the new term gets under way, we invite you to use all the free Bovée and Thill resources now available online.

Media Curation Services

Bovée & Thill’s Online Magazines for Business Communication on collect useful and interesting media items in a variety of subject areas:

Videos and Presentations

The Bovée & Thill's YouTube Channel offers videos with advice on teaching the new elements of business communication.

We also offer a variety of videos and PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare.

You'll find more than 900 infographics, videos, articles, podcasts, and PowerPoints on Pinterest.

Additional Resources

Vital Bookmarks for Teaching a Business Communication Course
The Ultimate Guide to Resources for Business Communication Instructors

See Bovee and Thill on Instagram (#boveeandthill)

Interactive Tests for Instructors

Can Your Business Communication Textbook Pass This Google Test?
Can Your Business Communicaction Textbook Pass This Simple Technology Test?


Instructor Communities

Connect with academic and industry peers from around the world in these Bovée & Thill online communities:

Custom Web Search Tool

Web Search, a search tool, developed by Bovée and Thill, preformats more than 325 types of searches using the web’s most powerful search engines, making it easy to find teaching resources in specific media formats.

The links along the left side of the screen provide direct access to many of these resources as well, along with other items of potential interest to instructors. If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to leave a note in the comments.

Bovee & Thill Resources for Adopters Only

Daily business communication news

Our daily news service, Business Communication Headline News, provides carefully selected items of interest for instructors. 

Content updating service

The unique Real-Time Updates content-updating service offers a wealth of material we have personally selected for instructors and students, sorted by media type and textbook chapter.



Image credit: sholeh!!


Identifying the key words and hot-button issues in a profession or an industry can be a challenge for students working on employment-related communication, particularly for younger students with limited work experience.

Glassdoor is a free community-participation website that encourages employees and job seekers to post salary information, reviews of their jobs and employers, and information about their interviewing experiences, including the specific questions they were asked. The interview information a valuable resource on its own, of course, but it also gives students an inside view of the language used in a particular company, profession, or industry. Students can search through this information for key words to use in their résumés, application letters, and other employment communications. Plus, these reports can reveal the issues that are on the minds of company recruiters—insights that students can use to make their communication efforts more audience focused.

Newsfeeds from blogs and other online publishers can be a great way to stay on top of developments in any field. However, anyone who has signed up for more than a few RSS feeds has probably experienced the "firehose effect" of getting so many feeds so quickly that it becomes impossible to stay on top of them. Moreover, when a highly active publisher feeds every new article, from the essential to the trivial, the reader is left to sort it all out every day.

An intriguing alternative to newsfeeds is media curation, in which someone with expertise or interest in a particular field collects and republishes material on a particular topic. Business Communication Headline News, for instance, was one of the earliest examples of media curation in the field of business communication.

The latest curation tools, such as, make it easy to assemble attractive online magazines or portfolios on specific topics. To see these tools in action, check out Bovee & Thill's Online Magazines for Business Communication:

  • Business Communication 2.0: Social Media and Electronic Communication
  • Teaching Visual Communication
  • Teaching a Modern Business Communication Course
  • Teaching Business Communication and Employment
  • Teaching Business Communication and Workplace Issues
  • Teaching Business Communication and Interpersonal Communication

And on the right side of our home page, you can see the many curated magazines that we follow as well.

Curation promises to bring the power of community and shared expertise to a lot of different fields, and we're excited to see how it will shape business communication.

See media curation video.

These PowerPoint slides offer annotated examples from three companies making effective use of social media tools to develop customer relationships:

  • Biznik
  • Segway
  • Lie-Nielsen Toolworks


You can download the PowerPoint file from the link below.

Hard to believe fall is upon us! We hope you had a relaxing and productive summer. We'd like to start off the new season with a brief reminder of the free online resources we have available to help business communication instructors and students, including the many resources available exclusively for adopters of Bovée & Thill texts.

Business Communication Headline News

Business Communication Headline News delivers late-breaking news stories, interesting blog posts from a variety of communication professionals, and other information you can use to enhance lectures and class discussions. You can also follow BCHN on Twitter (@buscommnews) and Facebook.

Real-Time Updates

Bovée & Thill’s Real-Time Updates service offers a wealth of material we have personally selected for instructors and students, sorted by media type and textbook chapter.

Business Communication Communities on Facebook and LinkedIn

Connect with business communication instructors and professionals from around the world in the Bovée & Thill online communities on Facebook and LinkedIn:

Bovée & Thill YouTube channel

The new Bovée & Thill channel on YouTube offers videos with advice on teaching the new elements of business communication.

Bovée & Thill's Web Search

This powerful metasearch system developed by Bovée and Thill lets you quickly access more than 325 search engines. The tool uses a simple and intuitive interface engineered to help business communication instructors and students find precisely what they want, whether it’s PowerPoint files, PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Excel files, videos, or podcasts.

Website Registration

You'll notice that instructors and students are now asked to register for Real-Time Updates and Business Communication Headline News. We implemented this change to preserve the integrity of these resources as unique benefits for adopters of Bovée & Thill textbooks. Registering gives you full access to the entire Business Communication Network, including the Learn More media items highlighted in the texts, downloadable student assignments, and more. During registration, instructors are asked to enter a special one-time password that you can retrieve from the publisher's website (instructions for doing so are provided on the registration screen). After registration, you and your students can log in simply by entering the email address and personal password you provided at registration. Note that registration is not required for this blog or for Bovée & Thill's Web Search.

If you experience any challenges in registering, contact us at

Again, we wish you and your students a successful fall term. If we can answer any questions or entertain any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Court Bovée and John Thill

p.s. You may encounter temporary availability issues with some of the Real-Time Updates media items. We're "recovering" from a system upgrade and are working hard to restore all of these.