English Expeditions - Ritsumeikan University

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Business English Skills

Course Description

The aim of this course is for students to study the essential language skills necessary for scientists and engineers to succeed in the business world. Students will be provided with many opportunities to review and practice the vocabulary, grammar, and expressions used in common work-related situations they are likely to encounter after graduation.

Course Goals

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • write and/or reply to office memos, instructions, announcements, letters of complaint, and emails.
  • introduce themselves and make small talk in English.
  • follow the rules of etiquette and polite behavior expected in international work environments.
  • use English for international business travel.
  • use English in small group discussions and for negotiations.
  • use English for job interviews.

For more detailed information, check the Can-do Goals for this course.

Grading Criteria

Grades will be based on the following:

12 In-class Tasks In-class tasks are graded on a 5-4-3-2-1-0 scale. If all requirements of the task are completed at an exceptional level, you will receive 5 points; if they are fully met, you will receive 4 points; if they are adequately met, 3 points; if they are only partially met, 2-1 points; if you do not participate in the task or are absent, 0 points. 60 points
2 Role-play Examinations 15 points each 30 points
2 Quizzes 5 points each 10 points
Late to class, using your cell phone, chattering in Japanese, sleeping in class, no text, no dictionary Minus 1 point  


All materials are available for download from this syllabus. You are required to bring a copy of each meeting's materials to the classroom.

English-English Dictionary

You are required to bring an English-English dictionary to class every day. See the list of recommended dictionaries below for more information.

Course Schedule Print

Class In-class Tasks Workshop Quiz
1 Orientation & Unit 0
2 Units 1 & 2    
3 Units 3 & 4    
4 Units 5 & 6    
5 Units 7 & 8    
6 Unit 9 Review 1 Quiz 1 (Units 0-9)
7 Unit 10 Role Play Preparation 1  
8     Role Play Examination 1
9 Units 11 & 12    
10 Units 13 & 14    
11 Units 15 & 16    
12 Units 17 & 18    
13 Unit 19 Review 2 Quiz 2 (Units 11-19)
14 Unit 20 Role-play Preparation 2  
15     Role Play Examination 2

Course Can-do Goals

Course-related Business English Skills

Business Speaking Skills

  1. I can introduce myself in English within an office setting.
  2. I can introduce a coworker to someone in English.
  3. I can have a casual 5-minute conversation in English with someone I just met.
  4. I know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate topics for "small talk" in international settings.
  5. I can change a topic when having "small talk" in English.
  6. I can introduce myself over the telephone in English.
  7. I can ask people to identify themselves over the telephone in English.
  8. I can ask to speak to someone over the telephone in English.
  9. I can tell someone to wait while I forward a telephone call in English.
  10. I can tell someone that the person they want to speak to is unavailable in English.
  11. I can offer to take a message over the telephone in English.
  12. I can leave a message on an answering machine in English.
  13. I can spell difficult words using a phonetic code.
  14. I can make a request in English politely.
  15. I can ask for permission in English politely.
  16. I can make very polite requests in English.
  17. I understand basic business etiquette and manners for international settings.
  18. I can recognize and discuss stereotypes in English.
  19. I can talk about Japanese white-collar businessmen in English.
  20. I can check in at an airport in English.
  21. I can interact with a flight attendant in English.
  22. I can handle immigration procedures in English when arriving at an international airport.
  23. I can handle customs procedures in English when arriving at an international airport.
  24. I can negotiate a deal in English.
  25. I understand the importance of body language when negotiating.
  26. I can answer typical job interview questions in English.

Business Writing Skills

  1. I can read and write an office memorandum in English.
  2. I can write instructions in English.
  3. I can read, understand the purpose of, and rewrite short advertisements and notices in English.
  4. I can write an announcement letter in English.
  5. I can write a complaint letter in English.
  6. I can write an informal business email in English.
  7. I can write a formal business email in English.
  8. I can respond to a letter or email in English.

Program-wide Standards

Grading Scale

94% or more, A+; 84-93%, A; 74-83%, B; 60-73%, C; below 60%, F

NOTE: At the end of the third year, you will be taking a TOEIC-IP exam. You will then be re-streamed for your fourth-year courses based on the results of this TOEIC-IP and the numerical average of your third-year English courses. Therefore, it is important to strive for not only a high letter grade, but also for the highest numerical grade that you are capable of.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend class regularly. Failure to attend class regularly may result in a reduction of the student's overall grade. Students will be penalized 3 'demerits' for each absence and 1 'demerit' for each 30-minute period they're late. Students who accumulate more than 15 'demerits' (the equivalent of 5 absences) will receive an unsatisfactory grade ('F') for the course. As a rule, no make-up work will be given for unexcused absences.

English-English Dictionaries

You are required to bring an English-English dictionary to class every day. The following is a list of quality paper dictionaries for English language learners. You may use any other dictionary or you may elect to use an electronic dictionary.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Oxford University Press.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman Press.
Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers.

TOEIC-related Extra-Credit Points

The English Expeditions extra-credit system is tied into the TOEIC exercises, in order to encourage all students to practice their TOEIC test-taking skills in preparation for the TOEIC examination. For more information on the TOEIC examination, see the TOEIC Exercises section of your Online Education text. The extra-credit point system is as follows:

Semester One Semester Two Semester Three Semester Four
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): April 30
Cycle 2 (2 points): May 30
Cycle 3 (3 points): June 30
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): October 20
Cycle 2 (2 points): November 15
Cycle 3 (3 points): November 30
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): April 30
Cycle 2 (2 points): May 30
Cycle 3 (3 points): June 30
Correctly complete the following cycles of TOEIC exercises BEFORE their deadlines.

Cycle 1 (1 point): October 20
Cycle 2 (2 points): November 15
Cycle 3 (3 points): November 30

NOTE: Students who have failed to score higher than 0 on any Homework Assignments or have been found in violation of our academic honesty policy are ineligible for extra-credit points.

The Extra-Credit points available for each course are outlined in the chart below.  Blue cells  only apply to Fall classes.
Note: TOEIC Bridge-IP scores will be converted to TOEIC-IP scores for all calculations.

No Academic
TOEIC Exercises
Cycle Completed
by Deadline
Credit Points
1 2 3


The following guidelines are designed to make your English classes run a bit more smoothly. Please take the time to read each of them carefully and ask questions if any of the points are unclear.


  • No chattering when someone else (especially the teacher!!) has the floor.
  • In-class tasks must be completed in English. English classes meet only once a week for 90 minutes. If you speak Japanese while you're in English class, you're wasting possibly your only chance to practice English every week.
  • Use only a ballpoint pen for text-based exercises. It is important to learn from your mistakes and if you use a pencil, you'll probably end up erasing your mistakes. If you find that you've made a mistake, cross it out with a single line (so that you can still read it and learn from it!).
  • Students are allowed to use a dictionary for most in-class exercises. However, you must use an English-English dictionary only.
  • Attendance is taken only once per class. If you come late, be sure to write your name on the blackboard so that the teacher can mark you present after class.
  • Turn off all portable telephones during class and remove them from your desk during class.
  • Do not do homework from other classes during your English class.

The Academic Honesty Policy for S&E English Classes

The following will be considered violations of our academic honesty policy:

  1. Copying answers from another student's exercise, quiz, etc. before or during class.
  2. Showing your exercise, quiz, etc. to another student before or during class.
  3. Using any form of ‘cheat sheet’ in performing an exercise, quiz, etc.
  4. Taking copies of an exercise, quiz, etc. (including unused copies) outside of the classroom. (This includes taking pictures of the exercise, quiz, etc.)
  5. Using writing instruments or telephones during feedback of an in-class exercise, quiz, etc.
  6. Copying answers from another student's exercise, quiz, etc. while it is being administered.
  7. Copying any portion of a homework exercise from another student.
  8. Allowing any portion of your homework exercise to be copied by another student.
  9. Copying (or closely paraphrasing) portions of a homework assignment from other sources (printed matter, the Internet, etc.) and presenting it as your own, regardless of whether you acknowledge the source. This includes using translation software to translate any portion of your submission into English.
  10. Sharing Rainbow or English Expeditions User IDs or Passwords with another student.

Any of the above violations will result in a score of 0 for ALL exercises on that day, as well as forfeiting your chance for extra-credit.



  1. 他者のQuiz, Exercise(予習用課題、復習用課題を含む)の答えを勝手に盗み見たり、写させてもらったりした場合
  2. 他者にQuiz, Exercise(予習用課題、復習用課題を含む)の答えを写させた場合
  3. Quiz, Exercise等において、カンニングペーパー等を使用した場合
  4. Quiz, Exercise等の答案(未使用のものも含む)を不当に持ち帰った場合 (カメラ付き携帯等による撮影も含みます)
  5. Quiz, Exercise等のフィードバックの際、筆記用具、携帯電話等を手にした場合 (正答を盗もうとしたとみなします)
  6. その他、Quiz, Exercise等の実施を妨害する行為、他者の受験を妨害する行為、 替え玉受験等も、不正行為とみなします。
  7. Homework Assignmentにおいて、他者のAssignmentの一部または全部をコピーした場合
  8. Homework Assignmentにおいて、他者に自身のAssignmentの一部または全部を コピーさせた場合
  9. Homework Assignmentにおいて、書籍やWWWのサイトから得た情報をそのまま、 もしくは改ざんの後、断りなく(引用を明記せずに)、自身のAssignmentに盗り入れた(すなわち著作権を侵害した)場合(英語の授業で課されるassignmentの多くは、引用を明記する、しないにかかわらず、一切の引用を認めていません) 。これには翻訳ソフトの使用も含みます。一旦日本語で書いて、それを翻訳ソフトを利用して翻訳して提出することは、それがたとえ一文であっても許されません。
  10. RainbowやEnglish ExpeditionsのユーザーIDやパスワードの授受があった場合

上記、および上記に類する「不正行為」があった場合は、当該学生の当該科目における、その日の得点を0点にするとともに、Extra-credit pointsはすべて無効になります。