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Course Planning by Program


Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 06-Mar-24

Fall 2024 | BUS-2440-VO04 - Introduction to Business Law

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-16-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
Open Seats: 16 (as of 07-19-24 8:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.


Anne Buttimer
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Nick Molander

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Social Sciences
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the principles and practices of law as it applies to business operations and the legal and constitutional environment of business. The course focuses on contract law, the Uniform Commercial Code, negotiable instruments, commercial transactions, debtor and creditor rights, bankruptcy, and agency relationships.

Essential Objectives

1. Describe the general organization of state and federal legal systems.
2. Explain how the civil legal system provides for the resolution of business disputes.
3. Discuss the general principles of contracts, partnerships, corporations, real and personal property, commercial transactions, and bankruptcy.
4. Define and correctly use the basic legal terminology associated with business transactions.
5. Differentiate among the various legal documents used in business transactions.
6. Examine the online digital environment as it relates to business law including cyber-crime, cyber-torts, e-contracts, and cybersecurity.
7. Apply the Uniform Commercial Code to business contracts and negotiations.
8. Describe common legal problems and issues likely to arise in a business context.
9. Discuss common ethical considerations likely to arise in a business law context.
10. Identify resources that can provide guidance in the solution of legal problems.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a no cost textbook or resource class. ***

This course only uses free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials. For details, see the Canvas Site for this class.


Learning Methods

This is a discussion focused course where students and faculty interact via written postings in Canvas several times during the week. This is essential on your part for your learning.

Evaluation Criteria

How to Answer Discussion Questions – use college level writing skills. If your week 1 essay indicates that you don’t yet have the skills to be successful, I’ll recommend that you work with the writing mentor at CCV’s Learning Center Online Live (LCOL). Contact information is at the LCOL tile in the portal. Your work each week is graded according to the grading rubric in week 1.

Do not copy/paste material from our book or any research source as your answer or part of it. That’s plagiarism and a violation of CCV’s Academic Honesty Policy, see below. Our book takes the form of a basic outline of topics, from there students further explore by working with our CCV librarians and me. The library’s link is on our course screen left and in the portal at the Library tile.


Using APA in-text citations and a References section in all work, weeks 2-10 - any sources you use, be that our book, sources you find working with a librarian, or sources you find yourself (they must be authoritative, meaning reliable; check with me first) must be cited using APA citation format. Here’s our Vermont State College’s Library’s pages about citations. We use APA because our class is a social science. https://libraries.vsc.edu/research/integrating-citing

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Class Schedule and Reading Schedule:

*Week 1 Begins Tuesday 9/3 Ends Monday 9/9 - Introductions

Syllabus Reading: Read the course syllabus. You are responsible for knowing and following all the information there.

Textbook Reading: Chapter1 American Law, Legal Reasoning, and the Legal System

Discussion: Write a 350-400 word essay in which you discuss your education and career plans and goals, to include CCV, any college you plan to attend after CCV (or that you’ve already attended) and your professional working world plans. Discuss how you see your study of the material in this course assisting in each stage of your education and work.

An answer of this length should be two to three correctly written paragraphs. This assignment serves the dual purpose of us getting to know one another and gives me a chance to assess your writing skills. Writing at a full college level is vital to your success in our class. See the grading rubric in week 1 for details.

This is due by Friday 6 pm VT time. Same due times each week. Put the assignment due times in your phone or calendar now, set alerts, and set reminders for enough time in advance to complete your work before it's due.

THEN - answer any questions I ask you by 11 pm Saturday VT time. These instructions apply for the whole semester. Be sure you have the due times in your calendar/device/phone for the whole semester and schedule time before they're due to get your work done, do this for the whole semester.

*Week 2 Begins Tuesday9/10 Ends Monday9/16 – American Law, Dispute Settlement, Business Ethics

Read: Chapter2Disputes and Dispute Settlement and Chapter3Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

Discussion: Pick one of these topics and write a 350-400 word essay using college level writing skills. You may want to work with CCV’s librarians to learn more about the topics in our book. Use APA in-text citations and a References section. Words/numbers in in-text citations and the Reference section do not count towards the word count.

  • Your small business is in a contract dispute with a long time, good customer. What method will you select to resolve the dispute, and why did you choose this option? What steps will you take in the method you selected, and what specific outcome do you hope to achieve. Tell us enough about the dispute that we can understand your answer.


  • The local chamber of commerce is giving you their “emerging businessperson of the year award” later this month and you need to give a short acceptance speech about your views on business ethics and social responsibility. Write that speech. What business ethics theories are important to you and to businesspeople, their staff, customers, and the community you do business in? How will you achieve the requirements of those theories?

*Week 3 Begins Tuesday 9/17 Ends Monday9/23 – US Constitution and Business

Read: Chapter4Business and the United States Constitution

Discussion: Working with the Vermont State College’s Library’s (hereafter VSC) librarians research one of the topics below and find the case about it mentioned in our book, then write a 350-400 word essay in which you explain the case and how, and why, the court ruled as it did. What business applications can you foresee for the case holding (this is a legal term for the decision the court issued)? This means, how might the holding be applied in a business setting about the legal issue of the case?

  • First Amendment, Corporate Free Speech
  • First Amendment, Unprotected Speech
  • First Amendment, Commercial Speech
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Fifth Amendment, Takings Clause
  • Commerce Clause

*Week 4 Begins Tuesday 9/24 Ends Monday 9/30 – Criminal Law in Business

Read: Chapter5Criminal Liability

Discussion:Select one (1) of these scenarios and write a 350-400 word answer in which you explain the crime and how the law was applied by government prosecutors, and enforced by courts. How did the case impact the business and people who were victimized? You must research and write about cases in the United States. You’d be wise to work with our VSC librarians.

  • 1) Ponzi schemes and Bernie Madoff.
  • 2) Larceny and embezzlement and Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva of Koss Corporation in Wisconsin or other white collar crimes in businesses.
  • 3) Environmental crimes in businesses, any case that’s specifically about one or more of these federal laws: NOTE - if you select one of these laws be sure you find a case that's criminal and not civil. These laws have both civil and criminal provisions.

* Clean Air Act

* Clean Water Act

* Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

* Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

* Endangered Species Act

4) Bribery and specifically the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

*Week 5 Begins Tuesday 10/1 Ends Monday 10/7 – Tort Law

Read: Chapter6The Tort System

Discussion:You’ve now had some experience working with our librarians about doing basic research. You’re welcome to continue to work with them, or you can try to do this research on your own. Be sure to use the skills the librarians taught you about how to conduct basic, correct, and accurate research. Pick one of the bolded topics in chapter 6 that’s of particular interest to you and research it further. Then write a 350-400 word essay in which you explain in more detail than our book provides what the topic is about, and why it was of particular interest to you. How might this topic be applied in a business you someday hope to own or manage?

*Week 6 Begins Tuesday 10/8 Ends Monday 10/14 – Contract Law

Read: Chapter7 Contract Law and Chapter8Sales Contracts

Discussion: Write a basic, 350-400 word contract about something of interest to you. Your contract must include the basic elements explained in chapter 7. It will be easiest to write if you write about sales contracts, chapter 8, meaning a contract for goods or services. Use this template with bolded headings as shown for the four essential elements of a contract, and start with an Introduction where you state in one sentence what this is a contract for. Copy the template into your answer.





Contractual Capacity:

*Week 7 Begins Tuesday q0/q5 Ends Monday 10/21 – Employment and Labor Law

Read: Chapter9Employment and Labor Law

Discussion: Write a 350-400 word essay in which you explain the type of employment situation you have, meaning is it at-will employment, or are you part of a union’s collective bargaining agreement with your employer, or are you one of the rare people who has a formal written contract for employment; usually this means specific services for a specific period of time, or until a specific task is completed? What general legal principles is your employer bound by concerning wage and hour laws, hiring and termination of staff, and general workplace safety?

Please do not reveal your salary. Include the name of your employer. If you prefer to change the name of your employer in your answer, that’s fine. How long have you been with your employer? Are some employees at-will and others part of a collective bargaining agreement? If you’ve had experience with any of the topics in this week’s chapter at your current, or a former job be sure to include those. If you’re not working at this time, use a prior job as the basis for this assignment.

*Week 8 Begins Tuesday 10/22 Ends Monday 10/28 – Government Regulation

Read: Chapter10 Government Regulation

Discussion: We’ll learn this week about Vermont’s administrative agencies, all are part of the executive branch of government, headed by the governor. Go to https://www.vermont.gov

Links to an external site. and find the government tab at the top, click it, and then click Agency A-Z at the left side of screen. This gives you a list of all of Vermont’s administrative agencies. Select any three (3) of interest to you, read their web page(s), and write a 150 word summary about each agency. Include a link to the agency’s page in your answer. What is the department’s or agency’s function? How is that function related to running a business in Vermont? (If you realize the agency/department doesn’t have a tie-in to business, find another agency to research and write about.)

*Week 9 Begins Tuesday10/29 Ends Monday 11/4 – Anti-Trust Law & Unfair Trade Practices

Read: Chapter11Antitrust Law and Chapter12Unfair Trade Practices and the Federal Trade Commission

Discussion: Go to https://www.ftc.gov/

Links to an external site. and find any three (3) topics of interest that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates. Read the information and write a 150 word summary about each topic. Include a link to that topic’s page in your answer. How might these FTC regulations impact either a business you work for now, have worked for in the past, or hope to work for in the future?

*Week 10 Begins Tuesday 11/5 Ends Monday 11/11 – Securities Regulation

Read: Chapter14Securities Regulation Note: we are not reading or discussing chapter 13 International Law because it’s beyond the purview of our course. If this is an interest area of yours, you’re welcome to read it. Do not use chapter 13 topics as the basis of your work in weeks 11, 12, 14, 15.

Discussion: Why are securities regulation laws vital to the economic health of our nation’s stock market and economy? Why do we have these laws, and what event(s) were the genesis of them? Write a 350-400 word essay in which you explain. If you need to work with our CCV librarians you’re welcome to do so.

*Week 11 Begins Tuesday 11/12 Ends Monday 11/18 – Current Events week 1

The goals of the weeks 11 and 12 work are several-fold. First, to assess if students can use the critical thinking skill called issue spotting which means being able to understand what something is about (in our class that's current events articles) that relate directly to topics and cases we studied in weeks 4 through 10. Second, to get students to work with our librarians so each of you know how to do so if you haven’t already worked with them. Third, to get students using library databases and search terms to build that skill. Fourth, to get each of you to read quality newspapers which is something many of you have never done. This same testing of your skills continues in weeks 13, 14, 15. If you think of it as a final exam-type assessment of your learning and skills you're accurate.

When you read all postings at week's end make a list of the title, newspaper, and date of articles your classmates used and do not use one of those articles for your work in week 12. The opportunity to copy someone else's work is too great and we don't want that to happen.

Discussion: Current Events Week! It’s a good idea to work with a VSC librarian to be sure you know how to use the newspaper databases, see just below. Find an objective, current events article from a U. S. newspaper about a U. S. story (ie. no international newspapers or stories) from 2023 or 2024 concerning a business law topic from this semester's reading. Your article must relate directly to topics and cases we studied in weeks 4 through 10. Post both the full text of the article and the link. The format to use is below. You may not use an editorial, an Op-Ed (opinion/editorial) nor a commentary type article. These are articles which express someone's opinion, view, or analysis of events and don't strictly report facts. Articles that are solely fact based are objective. Articles that include someone's view, opinion, perspective are subjective. Don't use the latter.

The library's newspaper databases are listed at: https://libraries.vsc.edu/research/sources/news#s-lib-ctab-29166759-3

Links to an external site.

How to create a permalink: https://libraries.vsc.edu/research/searching/saving-linking

Links to an external site.

You must use an article from The New York Times, Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal for this assignment.

Bolded template to use: (copy this template into your posting and fill it in- bold what's bolded, do not include non-bolded instructions)

1) Title and date of article and newspaper it’s from: (italicize the article title and newspaper's name https://bit.ly/2QmvZZL

Links to an external site.Scroll to bottom for directions-use italics not underlining.)

2) Link to article: (use the permalink instructions above)

3) Summary of the article: (Word limit is 200 for this section.)

4) Explain how the article relates to any topics of our class to include our book, discussions, and supplemental readings/materials: (Use detail to include chapter and page numbers, topics in detail. Word limit is 200 for this section.)

*Week 12 Begins Tuesday 11/19 Ends Monday 11/25 - Current Events week 2

Do not use an article that any classmates used in week 11. The opportunity to use someone else's work is too great so please don't use any week 11 articles. Go back to week 11 and make a list of the articles each of your classmates used and look for an article no one else used last week. Our three newspapers have many to choose from.

Discussion: Current Events Week part 2 - using the same directions from week 11 find a different topic and different article for this week.

*Week 13 Begins Tuesday11/26 Ends Monday12/2 – Writing a brief business ethics policy

This is Thanksgiving Week, plan your time accordingly.

Discussion: Re-read chapter 3 about business ethics. Then write a 350-400 word business ethics policy for a small business you create, perhaps one you’d eventually like to manage or own. Include a one sentence introduction about the company that gives the name, location, and nature of the product(s) made or services offered. Indicate if it will be an LLC.

Use the format shown below including items 1), 2), 3), 4), 5), 6). I have an optional item 7) that’s particular to my business. If your business ethics policy needs a special item such as this create and include it. Bold the headings as I’ve done below.

Write in short, clear statements, not long paragraphs. This is a document your company would use on posters, brochures, and websites so it must be easy to read and eye catching. This is not to be a long explanation of specific duties of the type found in an employee manual. You have a very limited number of words to allow you to focus on writing a simple policy and doing a professional job of it. Post your policy as this week’s Discussion topic.

To help you get started here's an outline of what my policy would look like if I was doing this assignment.

Format to follow: copy and paste starting with 1) and fill in as appropriate. Do not copy the content of my policy, write your own. That also means don't copy my material and change a few words. Write your own. The bolded words don’t count towards the word total.

1) Introduction to Ethics Policy: Sunny Rock Farm Organic Market (SRFOM) LLC, of Walpole, Vermont. We sell products raised both on our farm and sourced from local (within 100 miles) organic producers.

2) Respect and Abide By All Laws: We closely adhere to all local, state, and federal laws relevant to our business including Vermont and federal organic product standards regulations. Our mission is to exceed all legal requirements and not merely to meet them.

3) Our Customers: Our customers form the base of our business and if anything is not to your satisfaction, we'll make it right. Please always feel free to speak to the manager on duty who will do their best to turn the situation into a positive one for you.

4) Our Vendors: You are our partners in business. Your products grace our shelves making your reputation and success, and ours, inseparably linked. We seek a co-solution to any concerns raised by a customer about a product as both our names and business futures must be care-taken.

5) Our Staff: Our doors couldn't open daily without each of you. We pay highly competitive wages, offer paid sick, vacation, and personal leave for full time staff, and pledge to promote from within whenever qualified staff are interested in career advancement. Part-time staff receive pro-rated benefits. Our goal is to achieve a healthy work-life balance for all members of our team and we ask you to join us in doing your part for this to happen.

6) Giving Back to the Community That Supports Us: The community around us deserves to share in our business success. To that end we will donate all the vegetables and fruits for the monthly community dinner and will provide two, $100 each gift cards as fund raising raffle prizes every month to non-profit groups within our county on a first asked, first donated basis. Additionally, all food products not sold by the day before the "best by" date will be donated before expiration to the local food shelf and the local homeless shelter on an every-other-time basis.

7) Helping People Make Healthy Food Choices: Every Saturday and Sunday we feature easy to make, healthy recipes in our market, demo-cooked with free samples, recipes are on our website. One afternoon a month we hold a free "cooking for kids" class featuring kid-easy wholesome recipes, and one evening a month we hold the same type free class for adults.

*Week 14 Begins Tuesday 12/3 Ends Monday 12/9– TED Talks week 1

The goals of the weeks 14 and 15 work are similar to those of weeks 11 and 12, except that we're now using TED Talks instead of newspapers. The primary goal is to assess if students can use the critical thinking skill called issue spotting which means being able to understand what something is about (TED Talks) that relate directly to topics we studied over the semester. If you think of this as a final exam-type assessment of your learning and skills you're accurate.

Discussion: TED Talks Week – go to: https://www.ted.com/ Near the top of the screen look for the Topics drop down menu. Click and select business. From all the Talks at these many Topics select any two (2) Talks (only two) and watch each one, then complete the format below for each Talk and post in class. Be sure the Talks you select are related to our class learning. This includes topics from our book, from the current events articles in weeks 11 and 12, and from week 13's ethics policy. If you watch a Talk and realize you can't relate it to our class learning per the directions in the template below, do not use the Talk. There are dozens of Talks related to our class learning, find any two (2) of those. If a Talk doesn't have a clear relation to what we studied do not rely on the catch-all of "it's about ethics." Please find another Talk. Avoid using Talks about international topics because our introductory level class doesn't study international law. For our purposes this means don't use Talks about events in other countries.

The thesis of a Talk is one-to-two sentence(s) that concisely state what the author seeks to prove in giving the Talk. The summary of Talk is 200-250 words that state what the Talk is about. The two are different. Be sure you understand what a thesis statement is and then craft your thesis statement for each Talk.

Copy the bolded headings into your posting and put both Talks in one posting box. Do not copy the un-bolded words into your answers.

My TED Talks

Full Title of Talk:

Author’s Name:

Thesis of Talk: Not sure how to do this? http://guidetogrammar.org/grammar/composition/thesis.htm

Links to an external site. Read all of it and focus on the short paragraph just above the yellow box, and the contents of the yellow box. One to two sentence limit for this section.

Summary of Talk: 200-250 word limit for this section. That means a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 250 words.

How Does This Talk Relate to our Class Readings, Discussion, and Learning? This should include a focused explanation of the week, topic, chapter, section number, case(s), website(s) from our class that relate to your Talk. 200-250 word limit for this section. That means a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 250 words.

Link to Talk: give the URL for the Talk.

Use same format in one posting for Talk 2.

*Week 15 Begins Tuesday 12/10 Ends Monday12/16 TED Talks week 2

Do not use a Talk that any classmates used in week 14. The opportunity to use someone else's work is too great so please don't use any week 14 Talks. Go back to week 14 and make a list of the Talks each of your classmates used, and look for two Talks for this week that no one used last week. There are many business focused Talks to choose from.

Discussion: TED Talks Week Again! Using the same directions from week 14 find two (2) Talks you didn't use last week and complete the assignment.

END of course


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Here's the schedule by day for each week all semester.

Tuesday: per CCV’s schedule the new week starts.

Friday: post your Discussion answer by 6 pm VT time. Use college level writing skills (see Grading & Writing Rubric in week 1 in Canvas). I will grade your work for the whole week when you post your discussion answer. You still need to answer any follow-up questions I ask you (see Saturday just below). Your grade is awarded based on my good faith belief that you'll answer anything I ask you no later than 11 pm Saturday. Be sure to read my reply to you in class and my Canvas grade book comments to you as soon as I make them. Canvas is set to send your CCV email a message that there are comments there for you to read, this should also remind you to read my posting to you in class. Even if you don’t get the email notice, go to class to read my comments and go to the grade book comments. If you omit answering my questions by 11 pm Saturday, I deduct 25 points from your discussion grade because your discussion work for the week is incomplete.

Saturday: Answer any follow-up questions I ask you no later than 11 pm Saturday VT time. Please do not post anything after 11 pm Saturday because everyone deserves to know that the week is complete so they can read all posts and know they’ve read them all.

Sunday and Monday:By mid-morning Sunday I’ll have made my final posts in class, then use either day to finish reading all postings in class.

Missing & Late Work Policy

*Work posted past the due time of 6 pm VT time Friday incurs a 10 point per hour or any segment thereof points deduction.

* Not answering my follow up questions to you is a 25 point deduction because your discussion work is incomplete.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.