Outline: OAD402



OLS101 or 3-5yrs work experience in a office environment.
It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and subject prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Subject content and your professor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advance standing for the prerequisite subject) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate subject with the risk of academic/financial penalty.  It is your responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on BlackBoard or in class. Students will not be able to access BlackBoard as of the last day of the student's class.

Topic Outline

The order of the topics is at the discretion of the professor.  The content of one module does not have to be completed before another module is started, nor do the modules have to be taught in the order listed.  Rather by the end of the subject all the topics will have been covered.

Week Topic
  • Virtual Assistant (VA) defined
  • VA versus a temp or an employee
  • Benefits of VAs to an organization, VA as a partner to the organization
  • History of outsourcing to a VA in the U.S. and Canada
  • Virtual teams or organizations
  • What makes a skill marketable?
  • Listing, editing and prioritizing skill statements
  • Exploring the competition
  • The advantages of "one-stop shopping"
  • Identifying related services
  • The purpose of a mission statement
  • Sample mission statements
  • Writing and editing a mission statement
  • Sample narratives
  • Writing and editing a narrative that describes skills and services
  • Working without supervision
  • Creating a business environment
  • Daily operations
  • The role and importance of project bench marks
  • Knowing when to get help
  • Contingency planning for illness, unexpected emergencies
  • Defining access (how and when) for clients
  • The rhythm of fulltime versus project-based employment
  • Time management
  • When is face-to-face interaction recommended?
  • Impact on potential audience and how to source them
  • Choosing the appropriate means of communication with clients
  • Professional communications and interactions
  • The importance of proofreading and editing written materials
  • Problem management
  • Client follow-up
  • Customer service
Assignment 1 due
  • Typical users of VA services:  small business, real estate agents/brokers, entrepeneurs, authors
  • Typical requirements of clients: special project work, confidential projects, sick/holiday coverage, flexible coverage
  • Potential users of your personal skills and services
  • Request for quotation:  how and when it's used
  • Distributing your RFQ
  • Creating a personal request for quotation form
  • Technology for office use
  • Deciding on what technology will be used
  • Issues of software compatiblility
  • Ways to obtain needed equipment (small business loans, lease)
  • Office virus protection and policies related to virus protection for clients
Assignment 2 due
  • The value of a marketing plan
  • Honesty in advertising
  • Creating a powerful image
  • Creating a logo; when and how to use a logo
  • Business card creation and printing; when and how to use a business card
  • Brochure content; when and how to use a brochure
  • PowerPoint sales and service presentation content; when and how to use PP
  • Establishing a web presence:  opportunities, resources available to help
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing plan
  • Basic contracts, their formation and termination
  • The legal nature of a contract
  • Contract breaches, negligence, liability
  • Contract remedies
  • The importance of business policies
  • Estimate versus actual costs
  • Retainer fees and deposits, minimum fees
  • Setting prices for services including hourly rates, billing increments
  • Billable expenses (e.g., photocopies, faxes, postage, stationary)
  • Submitting an invoice, invoice due dates, late fees
  • Means of accepting payment and their implications (e.g., accepting cheques, service charges on NSF cheques, bank holds on cheques, cost to vendor of accepting credit card/Interac payments)
  • Delivery terms:  products delivered by email, fax, diskette, other means
  • Privacy legislation and impact on business transactions
  • Guarding the integrity of clients' materials
  • Guarding against conflict of interest between clients
  • Feedback on your personal website and brochure
Assignment 3 due
  • Legal forms of business ownership
  • Registering a business
  • Tax requirements:  federal and provincial
  • The importance and benefits of networking with other VAs
  • Finding organizations with which to network
  • Associations and what they can offer a VA

Modes of Instruction

Lectures, labs and homework
Blended models of delivery may also be available.

Prescribed Texts and Tutorials

The 2-Second Commute, by Christine Durst and Michael Haaren, Career Press, ISBN#1-56414-792-4 

Modes of Evaluation

Since this is a professional credit subject, marking standards reinforce professional practice by demanding legible, tidy work. Written materials should be well organized, correctly formatted and grammatically correct, with proper spelling and punctuation.

Please Note

  • Assignments, tests and the final examination are evaluated on subject knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject. 
  • In recognition of the significance of proper language skills in the workplace, marks are deducted, in accordance with departmental policy, for language errors on all tests, assignments and exams. (i.e. spelling, grammar, word usage, sentence, and paragraph structure, etc.) 


  • The student must retain a copy of all assignments.
  • If assignments are handed in late without sufficient medical or other reason, which must be documented and approved, two marks per day will be deducted for each day the assignment is late up to a maximum of 10 marks in total. 
  • Assignments will not be accepted after the return of graded assignments to the class and/or the provision to the class of the answers to the assignment.
  • Written assignments must be word processed. At the professor’s discretion, assignments that are not word processed, may be subject to mark deduction or not accepted. 
  • For particulars, please obtain standards, dates, etc. from your instructor

Absenteeism and Tests

  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor within one week.  If your reason is accepted, the weighting of that test will be added to that of the final exam.  Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test.  You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence,  or other appropriate documentation.
  • Progress tests and quizzes may not be announced in advance and details of the assignment requirements may be explained in class.

Final Exam/ Final Assignment

  • Students must attain a combined grade of at least 55% on term work and the final exam. Student must pass the final exam in order to pass the subject.
  • For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy if the Academic Policy available at Seneca Registration offices.

Field Placement Requirements

Students who do not successfully complete all professional subjects may not be eligible for placement. 

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours.  When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three semesters.

For further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website: http://library.senecacollege.ca/Academic_Honesty/.

Grading Policy

A+ 90% - 100% 4.0
A 80% - 89% 4.0
B+ 75% - 79% 3.5
B 70% - 74% 3.0
C+ 65% - 69% 2.5
C 60% - 64% 2.0
D 55% - 59% 1.0
F 0% - 54% 0

Grading is based on the following marking scheme: 

    Assignment 1 20%
    Assignment 2 25%
    Final Project
    Team Project

Approved by: _________________________________________
    Al Woodward, Chair, Office Administration

Last Updated: Summer 2012