Syllabus for APS-302



Customer Service: A Practical Approach presents the principal concepts and current trends in the customer service industryParticular areas of concentration involve defining customer service and identifying its challenges, employing the problem-solving process, formulating a customer service strategy, coping with challenging customers, retaining customers, and measuring performance. Students will analyze the significant elements of customer service and apply effective customer service principles. 


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain and discuss customer service.
  2. Analyze common barriers to effective customer service.
  3. Apply the problem-solving process to providing customer service.
  4. Devise an effective customer service strategy, including methods for empowering customer service providers.
  5. Discuss the importance of effective communication in customer service. 
  6. Analyze methods for coping with challenging customers.
  7. Discuss the importance of motivation and leadership in customer service.
  8. Connect customer retention and the measurement of customer satisfaction.
  9. Compare and contrast ways of serving customers using traditional and technological methods.
  10. Explain the rewards of providing excellent customer service.


You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

  • Harris, E. K. (2010). Customer service: A practical approach, (5th ed.).  New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

    ISBN-13: 978-0135064337


Customer Service: A Practical Approach is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take six online quizzes and a proctored online midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in six graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded Introductions Forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics folder of  the course Web site is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussions.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the module learning objectives. In all of these assignments, you should make reference to readings and other sources of information as appropriate, and document these references in proper format.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics folder of  the course Web site is the written assignment rubric used to aid in the grading of all written activities.


You are required to complete six quizzes on course objectives and topics. These are timed and graded quizzes.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a proctored online midterm examination.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers all reading and assignments through Module 3 of the course (textbook Chapters 1 through 7). It consists of five essay questions. 

Exams are administered in the Examinations section of the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of your midterm exam week.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

Your final project involves applying the customer service concepts and practices covered in this course to a real-world organization. The Final Project section of the course site explains the project in more detail.

The firm you choose must, however, be one that is in your area of concentration. Confer with your mentor before getting started in order to check the appropriateness of your choice.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics folder of the course Web site is the final project rubric used to aid in the grading of the final project.

Turnitin Requirement for Final Project

You are required to submit the final project in this course to, an academic plagiarism prevention site, prior to submitting the project within your course space. You will receive immediate written feedback from Turnitin regarding writing style as well as a plagiarism gauge with tips for proper citations. You then have the opportunity to edit your assignment with this feedback in mind and resubmit it to Turnitin for additional checking. Once you are satisfied with the project, you are required to submit the Turnitin feedback (also known as the originality report)  for the final version along with the project itself within the course space.

Read carefully the information found at the following link, as it will provide instructions for this requirement:

Turnitin FAQ Web Page

The course ID and password that you will need in order to create an account may be found at the following link. Look within Step 1, locating your course ID and password by semester.

Course ID and Password by Semester

This information can also be found within Using Turnitin for Assignments. You can locate this document in the topic list area of your course space.

Students please note: You have the option of submitting any of your assignments to Submit any additional assignments through the slots with the optional label. However, submitting other assignments is NOT a requirement and you should not submit originality reports for these assignments to your mentor.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

Written assignments (6)—25 percent

Online discussions (6)—10 percent

Quizzes (6)—10 percent

Midterm exam (proctored online, modules 1–3)—30 percent

Final project—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tip for success:

To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.


Thomas Edison State College is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The College expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the College community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State College is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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